Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Install Ubuntu on a USB Key Without Startup Disk Creator

Ubuntu 17

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of installing Ubuntu on a USB key without using the Startup Disk Creator. This method can be particularly useful if you want to create a bootable USB drive with Ubuntu, but do not have access to the Startup Disk Creator tool.

Pre-requisites

Before we begin, you will need the following:

  • A USB key with at least 4GB of storage.
  • The latest Ubuntu ISO file, which can be downloaded from the official Ubuntu website.
  • A computer with a virtualization solution like QEMU installed.

Step 1: Format the USB Key

The first step is to format your USB key. This can be done using the Disk Utility tool, which comes pre-installed on most Linux distributions. Open Disk Utility, select your USB key from the list of devices, unmount all partitions, and then select “Format Drive”.

Ensure that you do not partition the drive during this process. This is because we will be installing Ubuntu directly onto the USB key, rather than onto a partition on the key.

Step 2: Start a Virtual Machine on the USB Key

The next step is to start a virtual machine (VM) on the USB key. This can be done using a virtualization solution like QEMU. The command to do this is as follows:

qemu-system-x86_64 -hda /dev/sdX -cdrom /path/to/ubuntu.iso -boot d

In this command:

  • -hda /dev/sdX specifies the device file of your USB key. Replace X with the appropriate letter for your USB key.
  • -cdrom /path/to/ubuntu.iso specifies the path to the Ubuntu ISO file.
  • -boot d tells QEMU to boot from the ISO file.

Step 3: Install Ubuntu

Once the VM has started, you can install Ubuntu as you normally would. However, when it comes to partitioning the drive, make sure to allocate a single partition for “/”, and avoid using the automatic partitioning system. This is because we want to install Ubuntu directly onto the USB key, rather than onto a partition on the key.

Step 4: Reboot

After the installation process is complete, reboot your computer and boot into your copy of Ubuntu on the USB key. You should now be able to use Ubuntu directly from the USB key.

Conclusion

That’s it! You have now successfully installed Ubuntu on a USB key without using the Startup Disk Creator. This method can be particularly useful if you want to create a bootable USB drive with Ubuntu, but do not have access to the Startup Disk Creator tool.

Remember, if you encounter any issues during the installation process, you can always refer to the official Ubuntu documentation or seek help from the Ubuntu community.

Can I use a USB key with less than 4GB of storage for this installation?

No, you will need a USB key with at least 4GB of storage for this installation.

Can I use a different virtualization solution instead of QEMU?

Yes, you can use a different virtualization solution like VirtualBox or VMware. Just make sure to adjust the command accordingly.

Can I use a different Linux distribution to format the USB key?

Yes, you can use a different Linux distribution’s Disk Utility tool to format the USB key. The process should be similar.

Can I install Ubuntu alongside another operating system on the USB key?

Yes, you can choose to install Ubuntu alongside another operating system on the USB key during the installation process. Just make sure to allocate enough space for both operating systems.

Can I use this method to install Ubuntu on a USB key with an existing partition?

No, this method is specifically for installing Ubuntu directly onto a USB key without any existing partitions. If your USB key already has a partition, you will need to remove it or use a different method.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *