Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Creating a LiveUSB Drive: Installing Ubuntu Without a CD/DVD Drive

To install Ubuntu without a CD/DVD drive you will need to create LiveUSB drive. A LiveUSB drive is a USB flash drive containing the Ubuntu install .iso.

Like the Ubuntu install discs, a LiveUSB drive allows you to try Ubuntu in a "Live" environment before permanently installing it onto your hard drive.

To Create a LiveUSB drive you will need:
1. A compatible usb flash drive, over 2GB is recommenced but 1GB sticks do work. A list of compatible drives (This is not a compete compatibility list).
2. An Ubuntu .iso. An .iso is just a image of a DVD/CD. You can download the latest version of Ubuntu from www.ubuntu.com.
3. A PC running Windows or Ubuntu.

On Windows:
Use unetbootin to make your LiveUSB disk. You can can download the .exe from sourceforge.net here. Unetbootin supports all major Ubuntu releases and can download the correct Ubuntu .iso for you.

On Ubuntu:
Use Ubuntu's USB Startup Disk Creator to make your LiveUSB disk.
To install it, in a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install usb-creator-gtk
usb creator
- Once installed you can find it under System>Administration>USB Startup Disk Creator
- USB Startup Disk Creator in Ubuntu 8.04 does not work reliably. Using 8.04 to create your LiveUSB drive is not recommended.

Once you have installed unetbooitn or USB Startup Disk Creator.
- Plug the flash USB disk into your computer.
- Select you Ubuntu iso image.
- Select your usb disk, formatting if necessary (disk should be formatted to fat32).
- Make your startup disk.

The biggest issue readers encounter in creating a LiveUSB disk come from the drives themselves. Not all drives are compatible and drives with bad sectors often lead to install errors.

If you need help, refer to the Ubuntu Community Documentation on Installation from a USB disk or the Ubuntu Mini Google Group

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


Jason.Cook599 said...

How can I make a "LiveCD" for Ubuntu Studio. I know there is now way to run it with out installation BUT I want to be able to install it. If you try to install it without a CD Drive it will continually scan for a CD Drive.

redDEAD said...

I don't know if that is really possible. You might have to buy a CD drive. They're $25 dollars and seeing how you aren't paying for Ubuntu Studio, you're still coming out ahead.

Sometime it's just free as in freedom.

Jason.Cook599 said...


Where did you find CD Drives for $25? Most of the ones that I have found have been around $100.

redDEAD said...


$100? Seriously? You need to stop shopping at those stores.

You can try ebay, I just searched for "external CD drives" and found one for the buy it now price of $13.99 with free shipping. Many were in the $20 range.

I personally bought a Lite-On Slim External DVD/CD Burner with LightScribe for 59.99 at Newegg.com. Many times you can find the burner for about $50. It comes with Nero for Linux and openly advertises it's Linux support on the box.