How to create a bootable Linux USB stick | by Nithil Krishnaraj | July 2022

A USB (Image credit: USB Memory Direct)

What you will need:

  • A computer with at least one USB port
  • An external storage device such as a USB device that you can easily erase completely
  • A strong internet connection

Words to know:

  • distribution — A variant of the Linux operating system, different distributions serve different purposes
  • tuxedo — Linux’s mascot, it’s a penguin!
A ranking of Linux distributions (Image credit: Reddit)

Well what is a distro? A Linux distribution are variants of Linux and serve their own purpose. For example, Pop!_OS, a popular distro, caters to new (and old) Linux users and has a user-friendly interface. This is the distro we are going to install, but as always, you always have the option to choose a different one. For a list of Linux distributions, see this website:

A screenshot of Pop!_OS (Image credit: OMG! Ubuntu!)

Downloading Pop!_OS is very easy and probably the easiest step in the process. Go to, this is their website. System76 is a company that makes Linux laptops and desktop computers and is also the same company that developed Pop!_OS. Press the blue “Download” button.

Now that we’ve downloaded the file for our operating system, it’s time to install Etcher, software that will allow us to create a bootable USB drive. First, go to, the software download site. Balena is the technology company that created Etcher. Once on the website, click the “Download for Windows (x86|x64)” button. Once downloaded, open the file and follow the instructions. It should be pretty easy to follow. If you followed the instructions correctly, you should end up with this screen:

Finally, if you have followed all the steps correctly, you should see the above screen. Now connect your external storage device, e.g. a USB drive, to your computer. First, click Flash from File and select the file you downloaded earlier.

A screenshot of Ubuntu (Image credit: Wikipedia)

If for some reason you don’t like Pop!_OS, you can always choose a different distro. This makes Linux versatile and flexible. A popular alternative to Pop!_OS is Ubuntu, another distro developed by technology company Canonical. Mainly aimed at all audiences, this distro is user-friendly even for beginners. To download Ubuntu, go to and download the file. All you have to do after that is follow the instructions for Etcher above and use the Ubuntu file instead of Pop!_OS.

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