Thursday, October 16, 2008

Make a LiveUSB

From Wikipedia:
A live USB or USB live distro is a USB flash drive or an external hard disk drive containing a full operating system which can be booted. Live USBs are closely related to live CDs, and are sometimes used interchangeably. Like live CDs, live USBs can be used in embedded systems system administration, data recovery, or the testing of operating system distributions without committing to a permanent installation on the local hard disk drive.

Due to the lack of the Dell's Mini 9 optical drive a LiveUSB is the cheapest and easiest way to install Ubuntu. Before Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex creating a LiveUSB was a real pain. Now thanks to usb-creator, making a LiveUSB is a three click process.

To install usb-creator in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex
In a termianl type:
sudo apt-get install usb-creator

To install usb-creator in Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron
Download the .deb

You can find usb-creator under Applications>System Tools
Screenshot-Make USB Startup Disk

1. First you will need to a copy of Ubuntu. Be aware that there are issues with Ubuntu 8.04 on a LiveUSB, so you might be better off using 8.10 or newer.

2. Start usb-creator

3. Select you disc or iso image.

4. Select your usb based disk. Format if necessary.

5. Select how much storage you would like for your operating system.

6. Make your startup disk.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.


Jon said...

before i read this post, i used this utility under windows which worked well with the ubuntu 8.04.1 iso:

it also has the ability to download the files needed as it creates the desired liveusb without having to download the iso beforehand.

Anonymous said...

I used this method to reinstall Ubuntu 8.04 using the restore disk, provided with the dell mini. While I could easily install 8.10 this way, booting the restore disk via USB hangs. Any suggestions?

Matt said...

I'm waiting for my dell to come in the mail, but want to get my liveUSB ready. I downloaded ubuntu 8.10 onto my computer at school and want to mount it to a usb. I have two questions... one, is a 1GB usb drive large enough? and two, my machine at school runs fedora, is there a usb creator i can use in fedora to mount the ubuntu 8.10 to?

redDEAD said...


Fedora does have a live USB creator, the rpm shouldnt be hard to find. Remember I don't run Fedora so maybe the fedora forums would be the right place to ask.

1GB should be enough.

Dan said...

I've tried this several times and I keep coming up with the error message:

"The installation failed. Please see ~/.usb-creator.log for more details."

I do not know how to locate the .usb-creator.log.

I've tried several different USB's with no success. Any ideas?

redDEAD said...


The files is hidden in your home partition, you have hit Ctrl H to show hidden files.

Peter said...

I ordered my mini and want to prepare my ubuntu 8.10 live USB drive. I don't have access to a machine running ubuntu 8.10 and it says that there are bugs if you use 8.04 to make your 8.10 run disk. I also don't have an optical drive to use with my mini. What is the best way to get a working 8.10 liveUSB stick?

redDEAD said...


Create the LiveUSB stick in Windows

UNetbootin is a cross-platform utility that can create Live USB systems and can load a variety of system utilities or install various Linux distributions and other operating systems without a CD.

Peter said...

Thanks for the advice!

So i used UNetBootin to make my live usb and i got it to boot off the usb but when i go to install 8.10 and i get to the partition step.... it doesnt list any partitions or let me configure my own... it also wont let me move forward or back so it is basically stuck in the installation step and im forced to close. is this a problem caused by UNetBootin in windows or something im doing wrong

Kennie said...

Along the same lines as Peter, I'd like to get a Live USB of 8.10 ready as well for when my mini arrives (this week hopefully). I'm currently running 8.10 under VirtualBox on my iMAc - can I create the LiveUSB from there? or does anyone know if there is an application to create one on a Mac running 10.5.3? Thanks.

Feng Shui 5 said...

I used LiveUSB to install Ubuntu 8.10 on Dell 12. But only DOS-like console appears instead of the graphical one. What should I do to switch/use the graphical screen? Thanks.

redDEAD said...

Feng Shui 5,

Sorry buddy this blog is about the mini 9. I'm not being a jerk but I've never used/seen your hardware, how am I supposed to help you. startx is used to boot a graphical environment but I'm beting thats not your problem.

Dougle said...

Oh my god i wish i had read about unetbootin before getting a numpty at the local internet cafe to make me a live CD, serves me right!

A must have tool for eePC and Aspire One owners, one to keep for emergencies too, cheers Jon.

Grant Wythoff said...

Because I have the 4GB Mini9 and it's a headache to clear up enough room for the Ubuntu .iso, I'm trying to create the LiveUSB from an Ubuntu .iso stored on an external hard drive, through my Mini9, and out to a USB stick. But every time I try this, I never get past the "starting up" window and everything freezes. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

James said...

To Grant and anyone having issues with the usb-creator, try this:

usb-creator expects various dependencies like syslinux and parted. These in turn want mtools. Try installing these packages (sudo apt-get install syslinux parted mtools). If this still complains about dependencies with usb-creator, libparted, etc. Try 'sudo apt-get -f install', which should force install all the pending dependencies. Launch usb-creator and try again with those dependencies successfully installed.

This worked for me. Also the folks in #ubuntu-mobile on IRC are very helpful and often have advice about Ubuntu on netbooks, including the Dell Mini.


Bob said...

Hi All,

The link to the USB Creator deb file for 8.04 appears to be down. Does anyone know of an alternative?


Patrick said...

Hey Everyone,
I just recently upgraded my mini 9 to a 32gb SSD. I was not able to reboot Ubuntu till I stumbled on to your page here. I created a Live USB and also upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10. I was able to get it up and running. Upon restarting the mini without the USB drive, I'm back to getting this error
NTLDR is missing
Press Ctrl+ALt+Del to restart
What do I need to do next? Thanks.

Patrick said...

Well, I just discovered the Intall Ubuntu 9.10 on the desktop and am running it. I'm just being hasty, I guess.