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Bootable Live Linux distribution on Thumb drive

Many of my friends wanted to try Linux, but they were afraid about messing up the existing partitions on their hard drives. If you have a flash drive with atleast 1GB free space, here is a no risk program !

In my previous post about installing Linux on flash drive we discussed only about Ubuntu Linux. What if we want to try other flavors of Linux? Here comes UNetbootin. It’s a free software which could make your favorite Linux distribution to boot from a thumb drive.

You can either select an ISO image already downloaded or if you are having internet connection then can download Linux distro of your choice from the list of  distributions.


No need to format your thumb drive in ext2/ext3. It’s a great advantage, that you could still use files in thumb drive on Windows. UNetbootin copies all the necessary files and makes it bootable.


We need to change boot order in BIOS : First boot device –> USB HardDisk

UNetbootin is an open source project hosted at sourceforge.net



  • Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista, or Linux. If you are having trouble with the Linux version, try the Windows version, it usually works better.
  • A broadband internet connection to download the distribution’s .iso file (unless you’re using pre-downloaded files)

Download UNetbootin for Linux

Download UNetbootin for Windows.

More Information here

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  1. August 18th, 2009 at 14:46 | #1

    nice post. I have done a post on the same topic.


    happy hacking.

  2. vipin
    August 18th, 2009 at 19:58 | #2

    your post on triple booting Linux distributions from pen drive is more enlightening.
    keep up the good work.

  3. shobz
    September 13th, 2009 at 00:08 | #3

    hello vipin i failed to make the thumb drive bootable.
    should v mak any changes in partition or some thing like dat ?

    i heard dat v hav to make partion fat16 to make it bootable…

  4. vipin
    September 17th, 2009 at 19:33 | #4

    hi shobz, no need to make any changes in file system. UNetbootin will take care of all those things including the installation of Grub4Dos. btw, it is not necessary for a partition to be in fat16, to boot.

  5. October 15th, 2009 at 19:56 | #5

    i use liveusb-creator
    su -c yum install liveusb-creator

    Its working fine for my fedora live on my Portable harddisk.

  6. anish r menon
    October 31st, 2009 at 12:18 | #6

    Thanx vipin.Please post more links for me to use internet from linux.

  7. vipin
    November 1st, 2009 at 12:57 | #7

    Thanks for the info. will give it a try.

  8. vipin
    November 1st, 2009 at 13:14 | #8

    Try Damn Small Linux (DSL) (~95MB)
    It could run fully in 128MB RAM with FireFox, Games, XMMS MP3 and MPEG player, USB support and lot more.
    more info.

  9. July 5th, 2010 at 11:52 | #9

    the smallest boot i know http://jeanmichel.gens.free.fr/controle.php sorry it is in french but you have translators 🙂 16mo only you can use on all size disk and keys and SD ram

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