How To Create An Elementary OS USB Drive


In this guide I will show you how to create a bootable Elementary OS USB drive.

Elementary OS is currently the 3rd most popular Linux distribution according to the Distrowatch rankings.

Sporting a stylish and straight forward desktop environment, Elementary OS is aimed at the mass market and is designed to be easy to use.

You will need

  1. A blank USB drive
  2. An internet connection
  3. Etcher (downloaded as part of this guide)


  1. Download Elementary OS
  2. Download Etcher
  3. Run Etcher
  4. Create bootable USB drive using Etcher

Get Elementary

The first thing you need to do is download Elementary.

Visit the Elementary Website at

Scroll down the page until you see the “Pay what you want” option. You can choose to pay at this stage or if you want to download Elementary for free enter 0 into the “Custom” box. This will change the “Purchase Elementary OS” button to a “Download Elementary OS” button.

Click on the “Download Elementary OS” button and the Elementary ISO will be downloaded to your downloads folder.


You might have been given the impression that Etcher is a fairly important part of this tutorial and you would be right.

Etcher is a great tool for creating bootable USB drives and it is cross platform meaning it will work on Windows or Linux and the interface is the same regardless.

To download Etcher visit

The download link provided on the Etcher website will depend on your current operating system.

Click on the link and wait for the file to download.

If you are using Windows you can simply double click on the downloaded file. If you are using Linux you will need to extract the zip file and then double click on the Etcher.AppImage file.

The Etcher interface is about as easy to use as it possible can be.

Insert a blank USB drive into one of the ports on your computer and then click on the “Select Image” button.

Browse to the downloads folder where the Elementary ISO image was downloaded and click on the file.

Click on the “Select Drive” option and choose the USB drive you wish to install Elementary to.

Click “Flash”.

Booting Into A Live Version Of Elementary OS


Manufacturer Boot Keys

Make sure the Elementary USB drive is inserted into the computer.

Reboot your computer and press the relevant boot key for you make and model of computer. (The above image gives the function key to use for a number of the most popular makes). If you make and model isn’t listed do a search in Google or try every function key when booting.

Choose the USB drive as the drive to boot from.

Your computer should now boot into Elementary OS.