How to Create Live USB of elementary OS

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

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

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create an elementary OS live USB in both Linux and Windows.

Before following anything, download the ISO file of the latest elementary operating system. This is the file we will use to install Elementary OS.

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 also enter 0 and download it for free.

Download the linux distribution of Elementareos
Elementary OS Linux Distribution Download

Creating elementary OS live USB in Windows

If you are using Windows, here are the steps you can follow to create Elementary OS Live USB.

Step 1

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

step 2

Select the downloaded elementary OS image file and press the Start button.

elementary rufus installation
Select the downloaded ISO in Rufus

It will start the writing process and will be completed in a few minutes. Press the close button when finished.

rufus elementary flashing full
Flashing Rufus ElementaryOS completed

The Live USB Elementary OS is now ready to use.

Creating Elementary OS Live USBs with Etcher [Windows, macOS and Linux]

There is no Rufus for Linux. However, there are other tools available for creating live USBs in Linux.

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

Step 1

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

step 2

Insert the USB and run Etcher.

You should see the application window like the one in the screenshot below. Select the “Flash from File” button and choose the downloaded Elementary OS ISO file.

home view engraver
Initial view of Etcher

Step 3

Select the disk to create the Live USB from Select Destination button and press Rapid button to start flashing. At this point you need to enter your password.

elementary flash using engraver
Flash ElementaryOS using Etcher

After flashing and testing, your Jolnir Elementary OS Live USB will be ready to use.

engraver flash completion screen
Etcher Flash Screenshot completed

By the way, you may need to fix the USB after using Etcher if it only shows 4MB of space left.

Building elementary OS live USB in Ubuntu

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

Step 1

Insert a USB drive or DVD.

Go to Overview and search Boot 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 automatically add it to create a live disc from it. It also recognizes the inserted USB or disk.

If not, browse it to the location of the disc image in the CD Image/Drives section. Once this is done, just click on Create boot disk:

Create elementary OS boot disk
Create elementary OS boot disk

And that would be all. It will take some time (about 3-4 minutes) to create the live USB. You will see the following message when the process finishes successfully:

flash terminated by the creator of the startup disk
Flash terminated by Startup Disk Creator


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

Now you can experience this great distribution. If you like it enough, you can install elementary OS from the same USB on your system.

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