Make an ubuntu live usb flash disk

To begin the process make sure you have these following items:

  1. a usb flashdisk with at least capacity of 750 MB, i recommend 1 GB of capacity
  2. a cd of Ubuntu (i recommended you to use version 7.04 or upper) or its iso files
  3. syslinux
    is a boot loader that operates off a Microsoft FAT filesystem (because most but not all usb flashdisk come with FAT filesystem). I recommended to use the later version (3.35 upper), because that will make our works more simple. You can grabbed it from here . Extract the archive (whatever kind of archive file that you choose to download). The executable will be in \win32\syslinux.exe.
    If you use Ubuntu Linux, you can install it with
    sudo apt-get install syslinux mtools

If you already have above items, then let's the thing get started

  1. attach your usb flashdisk to your computer and mount it.
    if you are using Linux this may happen automatically, if it doesn't then you can mount it by using a command, for example
    mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt

    (this is just example, please change the device name /dev/sda1 with your corresponding device name, and mountpoint /mnt with your own desired mountpoint that you already created)
    if you are using Windows, it should mounted automatically, if not, then your windows is pretty old one, you have to install a driver for your usb flashdisk first, check your flashdisk vendor's homepage.
  2. make the usb flashdisk bootable
    if you are using Linux and your flashdisk is mounted as in the above example, in terminal console type command
    syslinux -s /dev/sda1

    if you are using Windows from your command prompt, go to the directory where you extract syslinux previously, then go to win32 subfolder, so if you extracted it to C:\syslinux, you have to go to directory C:\sysylinux\win32 . After you already in that directory in command prompt, for example your flashdisk drive letter is F:, the type this command
    syslinux -s -m F:
  3. check file idlinux.sys in your flashdisk
    after you succesfully execute previous step, check if there is a new file called idlinux.sys in your flashdisk root directory. It is a hidden file if you are using Windows if won't appear in windows explorer unless your setting is different. Try dir /a F: from command prompt

  4. Copy the Ubuntu Cd to your USB Flashdisk
    Copy the contents of the Ubuntu installation CD to your USB stick (i.e. all files and directories that are on the installation CD). Please do not copy an ISO image of the installation CD.

    You don't have to burn iso to copy its content, from Linux you can mount it with this command:
    mount -o loop /path/to/ubuntu.iso /path/to/mount/point

    if you are using Windows you can use any of Virtual drive for windows.

    Make sure you copy all the files and directories, including the hidden ones. If you are using Linux with Gnome desktop manager, press ctrl+H to see hidden files. In Windows, assuming that your CD-ROM drive is D: and your flashdisk drive is F:, you can use following command
    xcopy /e /h /k D:\*.* F:

  5. adjusts syslinux.cfg
    if you follow my advise to use syslinux version 3.35 or upper, you just need to rename the isolinux directory to syslinux and rename the file isolinux.cfg inside this directory to syslinux.cfg.

    if you're not, For older versions: Copy (or rename) the file isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg. Then edit the file and remove the /casper/ or /install/ reference in all paths. For example you would change the line containing DEFAULT /casper/vmlinuz to DEFAULT vmlinuz. Save the file, and make sure it is called syslinux.cfg. It does not matter whether the line breaks are in DOS or Linux format.

  6. Boot from usb flashdisk
    Now if you already followed above steps, your flashdisk is bootable now and can act as a ubuntu live usb flashdisk. Boot the computer from the USB stick. You have to configure it from you computer's BIOS. The configuration is vary depend on your BIOS. The installation can now be done as if you would be booting from the installation CD.

Have a nice day, it should work also for other distros, but i never try it, i just try to make it for ubuntu.


randu™ said...


anjar widianto said...

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Anonymous said...

like it..

good reference.. :D

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