Booting from a USB memory stick

Neil hok.krat at
Wed Oct 8 08:56:23 UTC 2008

On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 11:33 PM, John <John at> wrote:
> Is there a way of configuring a USB memory stick so that it can boot the
> computer into Ubuntu? Is it as simple as just loading the iso file onto
> the stick or is there more to it? (I realise that the bios has to look
> to the stick as its first boot device!)
> Thanks in advance
> J
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Yes it is possible.
What would you like to do? Boot from an USB stick and run a fully
installed version of Ubuntu (with write rights: the changes can be
saved to disk and will be available next boot) ?
In that case you can simply install to the USB key and place it into
the target PC (as long as the CPU family is the same. Do not mix 32 an
64 bit CPU's).

Would you like to make an USB key that can be used to run as the Live
cd and to install?
You can use different programs to do so. mkbootdisk (I belive) is able
to create a bootable USB disk of up to 2 GB. The ISO should not be
copied to the USB stick as an ISO file but all the files in it should
be copied. You can mount the ISO with "mount cd.iso /mnt/cd -o loop"
and then you should have the files available. "cp -R /mnt/cd/*
/path/to/USB/" should copy all the files.

In each case the Bios has to boot from the USB key. Most older mobo's
will not do this, and even with a new one it would be wise to check
wether it can:
stick some USB key into the system
enter the BIOS. (usually "del" or one of the F keys)
Go to the boot device settings
try to set the USB key as first boot device (you can be happy if it is

Per request I can give more detailed instructions (it's always a bit
of a guess how much someone already knows of Linux)


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