Unlike Windows, Linux distributions such as Ubuntu don’t ship on CD or DVD discs. They’re all available for free on the Internet to anyone who wants to download them. Thus creating a bootable USB drive is the best way to install Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution on your machine. These distributions are available for download as an ISO disc image through from their respective websites. You can easily unpack the contents of the ISO image file onto a bootable USB stick to install Ubuntu. But what if you don’t have a bootable USB stick? Well, you can create your own bootable Ubuntu USB drive on Windows pretty easily.
First, you need an ISO file though and since Ubuntu seems to be the most popular Linux distribution, it’s a good place to start. Therefore, we’ll use the Ubuntu disk image as an example but the process is very much the same for any other Linux distribution as well. You can find an Ubuntu disk image on Ubuntu’s download page. We’ll be using Ubuntu 17.10 which is currently the latest version. You’ll find the latest version, which is Ubuntu 17.10 and an LTS (Long Term Support) version on the page. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest, get the latest and greatest. If you’re someone who prefers stability and doesn’t like major changes in the system, get the LTS version. It will still receive security updates, of course.
Create bootable Ubuntu USB Drive
Now that you have an ISO, you will need a third-party software called Rufus. I’ve been using Rufus for years now and it works the most consistently across any OS images I’ve used. It is also faster which is never a bad thing. It does not need any installation either. Simply download the .exe file and double-click on it to run it. You can download Rufus from the link below.
Now connect a USB drive to your PC with at least 2GB of space. Anything on this USB Drive will be deleted since the drive will be formatted, so back up any important files.
- Launch Rufus and there’s a good chance your USB Drive will already be pre-selected.
- If not, you can use the first drop-down menu to select your USB Drive.
- On the drop-down menu under File system, select FAT32 if not already selected.
- Now check the box next to Create a bootable disk using and select ISO image from the drop-down menu to its right.
- Click on the button right next to it with a disk icon and select your downloaded ISO file then click on the Start button at the bottom.
- You may see a pop-up window asking you to download new SysLinux files. Just click Yes.
- Next, you will be asked how to write the image. By default, Write in ISO Image Mode (Recommended) is selected so just click OK.
- You’ll now be warned that the data on your USB drive will be erased, click OK and the process will start.
- Wait a few minutes for the process to complete and then click Close.
Keep in mind that although you can use Ubuntu from a USB drive before even installing it, none of the changes you make will be saved. Meaning you cannot use this USB Drive as your portable computer, but you can boot up an Ubuntu session on any PC with it.