Create a bootable Ubuntu Live USB from Windows

Date: 2020-11-23 | ubuntu | usb | windows


I've recently completed my latest dual boot of Ubuntu with Windows 10 and wanted to document my process. In this post I'll walk through the steps I recommend for creating a bootable Ubuntu Live USB from Windows.

Create a bootable Ubuntu Live USB

There are a few steps for creating a bootable Live USB:

  1. Download an Ubuntu ISO
  2. Create a bootable Ubuntu USB

1. Download an Ubuntu ISO

The first thing we need to do is download a version of Ubuntu that we want to use. This will be the version of Ubuntu that you're loading from your USB so be sure you pick accordingly.

I recommend choosing an LTS (Long Term Support) version as it's guaranteed to have recent updates and long term maintenance. You can find available Ubuntu ISOs on Ubuntu's website.

Go download the one you want and come back here.

2. Create a bootable Ubuntu USB

Now that we have the Ubuntu version we want to use, we need to create a bootable USB from it. I suggest using a USB that is either empty or that you don't mind losing data on.

For this step we'll use Rufus - a lightweight tool built just for creating bootable USBs.

  • Download Rufus
  • Run Rufus
  • Click the 'SELECT' button under Boot selection and then point it to the Ubuntu ISO you downloaded earlier
  • Click 'START'
  • Wait for the USB to be written to (this may take a few minutes)
  • Eject the USB

There are a few options in Rufus that you may want to modify like the Partition scheme, Target system, and File system. In most cases the defaults will work fine and are what you want but if you have a non-standard use case this is where you'll make those configuration changes.


That's it, you should have a bootable Ubuntu usb now. You can run Ubuntu directly from the USB and even use it to install Ubuntu directly on your machine.

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