How to create live USB of an elementary operating system

elementary OS is a beginner-friendly Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. People often feel that the appearance is similar to macOS.

I don’t know, but if you want to try, the first step would be to create a live USB.

In this tutorial, I will show how to create a live USB stick with elementary operating system on both Linux and Windows.

Before you follow anything, please download the ISO file of the latest elementary operating system. This is the file that we will use to install the basic operating system.

Download elementary operating system

Go to the home page of the elementary OS website. You will see a “Pay what you can” payment option. You can choose any amount to support the project. If you’re just trying and can’t or don’t want to spend any money, you can even enter 0 and download it for free.

Download the Elementaryos Linux distribution
Download Elementary OS Linux distribution

Create Live USB from elementary OS in Windows

If you are using Windows, you can follow the steps below to create the elementary operating system live USB.

Step 1

Plug in your USB. Download and run Rufus. Your USB device will be recognized automatically.

step 2

Select the downloaded Elementary OS image file and click the Start button.

Set up rufus elementaryos
Select the downloaded ISO in Rufus

It starts the writing process and completes in a few minutes. Press the close button when done.

rufus elementaryos flashes completely
Rufus ElementaryOS flashing completed

The Elementary OS Live USB is now ready to use.

Creating Live USB of the elementary operating system with Etcher [Windows, macOS and Linux]

There is no Rufus for Linux. However, other tools are available to create live USB on Linux.

Etcher is one such tool and it is quite easy to use. Best of all, it’s available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Step 1

Download Etcher from its website. There you will find the installer for all platforms.

step 2

Plug in the USB and run Etcher.

You should see the application window as in the screenshot below. Select the “Flash from file” button and select the downloaded ISO file of the elementary operating system.

Etcher home view
Etcher home view

step 3

Select the hard drive to create Live USB from Choose a destination button and press flash button to blink. At this point you must enter your password.

flash elementaryos with etcher
Flash Elementary OS with Etcher

After flashing and verifying, your Elementary OS Jolnir Live USB is ready to use.

Etcher Flash Completed Screen
Etcher Flash completed screen

By the way, after using Etcher, you may need to repair USB flash drive if it shows only 4MB free space left.

Create Live USB from Elementary OS in Ubuntu

If you’re using Ubuntu, you don’t need to install a third-party application to create a live USB. Ubuntu comes preinstalled with a tool called Startup Disk Creator.

Step 1

Insert a USB drive or DVD.

Go to the overview and search for Startup Disk Creator:

Startup Disk Creator at a glance
Startup Disk Creator at a glance

step 2

When you start it, it intelligently detects the presence of a “disk image” file on your system. And if there is only one, it will be added automatically to create a live disc from it. It also recognizes the inserted USB or disk.

If not, just navigate to the disk image location in the CD/Drive Image section. When you have done this, just click Create boot disk:

Create boot disk of elementary operating system
Create an Elementary OS startup disk

And that’s all. It takes some time (about 3-4 minutes) to create the live USB. Upon successful completion of the process, the following message is displayed:

Flash terminated by the creator of the boot volume
Flash of Startup Disk Creator completed


Once the elementary OS live USB is ready, reboot the system where you want to test it. In the BIOS boot settings, choose to boot from USB.

You can now experience this great distro. If you like it enough, you can install elementary operating system on your system from the same USB.


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