Monday, April 26, 2010

A great way to install Ubuntu (and other distros)

For those that have been burning CD's for years to install linux, here's an alternative that will save time and money. Pendrives/thumbdrives/jumpdrives/flashdrives, or whatever you want to call them are an ideal way to install and run linux. They are now very cheap and plentiful everywhere you look. Plus, pendrives (as I will call them) can be reused 1000's of times before they wear out, making them a very green way to go about things.

Since they are very inexpensive, I highly recommend getting at least a 2gb drive so you can store stuff and make changes to your linux pendrive.

Let's start with Ubuntu. Installing Ubuntu to a pendrive is about as straight forward as it can get. You simply plug in your drive and go to: System-->Administration-->Startup Disk Creator.

Simply navigate to the .iso image you need for this, set how much space you want for personal stuff, then Make Startup Disk. I would not use all of the extra space for personal stuff if you plan on installing apps and such, if you decide to use this drive as a portable OS. But if this drive is to be used just for installing ubuntu, accepting the defaults is just fine.

Just make sure that the computer you are going to install on can boot from USB devices.

My last install of Ubuntu took all of 4 minutes using a pendrive, and I didn't need to burn a CD. I use Patriot flash drives because they are very fast and are reasonably priced.

Don't use Ubuntu? That's OK, because there an app for that too. (sound familiar?)

It's called Unetbootin.

Chances are you won't need to download it from the link above, since it is probably already in your distro's repos. Check your package manager for it. It is basically the same as the Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator, but has a few more things you can tweak if you are an advanced user. It can even download the .iso for you if you didn't already get it.

Head on over to for all things pendrive related.

I highly recommend using either of these 2 applications to install linux, or to have a portable OS in your pocket. Plus it's a few less CD's in our landfills, which is always a good thing.


  1. Unetbootin also has a windows version for our those who have not made the leap yet.

  2. I usually download the LiveCD to install on one of my 'scratch' partitions on the hdd. Can I make the pendrive a liveCD/installable disk?

  3. It IS an installable disk by nature. If it's bootable, chances are it's installable.