Create a Linux Mint 15 LiveUSB with UNetbootin

unet1A LiveUSB allows you to use or install Linux from a bootable USB provided that the computer will boot from a USB device.

A special program, such as Startup Disk Creator, is used to easily create a LiveUSB, but newer distributions often do not install properly, resulting in an unusable USB.

During my usage, Linux Mint 15 and Xubuntu 13.04 would display notifications such as “No disk space remaining,” boot to an empty desktop, crash during LiveUSB creation, or crash halfway through the Linux installation process when booted from a LiveUSB made by Startup Disk Creator. Even MD5 hash checks on the USB would fail. It turns out that the problem was with the Startup Disk Creator program. The USB was not being created properly–for whatever reason–despite trying several different USB devices.

UNetbootin (Universal Netboot Installer) is a better program that installs a Linux distribution to a USB device or partition properly, and it works much, much better than Startup Disk Creator. The results are reliable, and the created LiveUSB functions as it should by booting Linux without errors and completing the Linux installation without crashing.

In this example, we are going to create a LiveUSB from a Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon ISO. While not every Linux distribution has been tested, those that were used booted and installed Linux without any problems. Therefore, any Linux ISO should work, so download the ISO of your choice before beginning.

Step 1

UNetbootin is not installed by default, but it is available in the repository. So, the first step is to install it from the Software Manager, Synaptic, or from the command line.

Command line:

sudo apt-get install unetbootin

UNetbootin can be installed using the Software Manager.

Step 2

Once installed, you can run it from Menu > System Tools > UNetbootin to launch the GUI.


UNetbootin GUI

In my tests, the Distribution radio button had no effect. A properly working LiveUSB was created whether or not a distribution or version was selected above, so I left them alone. If those options have an effect, I have yet to see it.

Step 3

Select the Diskimage radio button, make sure ISO is selected, and click the “…” button to choose an ISO image.


Click, click, click away to the land of ISO images.

A non-standard file chooser dialog appears, but it is functional. Navigate to the directory containing the ISO you wish to put on the USB, and select the specific ISO file.

Step 4

For Type, select USB Drive, and select the USB partition you wish to install Linux Mint to.

Step 5

Click OK to begin the installation.


It’s installation time!

When done, UNetbootin will prompt for a reboot. Rebooting is not necessary unless you wish to install Linux onto the same machine that created the LiveUSB.


No need to reboot if creating a LiveUSB to install Linux on a different computer.

The LiveUSB is ready to use. Eject it from the computer, insert it into the computer you wish to run or install Linux, and boot that computer. Make sure the BIOS options allow booting from a USB device. The UNetbootin boot loader screen appears with a list of options.


UNetbootin boot menu that appears when booting the LiveUSB.

Enjoy Linux from here.

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