It was for a while I had to search the web for a software that can easily write OS image files to Pen Drives and SD Cards, and eventually after trying many I came across Etcher. Wondering what’s so amazing about this application? When it comes to using, it is as easy as typing 1 2 3. A super fast flash speed, easy to use interface, and cross platform functionality! What else does one want? Let’s get right into the installation process and how to use the software to write or burn OS images!
The installation process is a bit different for different operating systems, however the usage is the same on all OS, makes it my favourite cross platform ISO application.
Back in the time when this whole process was started, it was surely tedious, time-consuming and loaded with a lot of errors, but surely as advancements in this field started to begin, it turned out to be smooth, error-free and now can be achieved in a few minutes time.
Etcher being a light and very quick application for creating a bootable media device, it performs its primary purpose of copying .iso and .img files of an Operating System to an SD card/ Hard drive flashing them or to a USB flash drive within few seconds in 2 clicks in total.
System Requirements to Download Etcher on PC
Etcher works well with all the three major Operating Systems available in the market, i.e Windows, MAC and Linux but also runs as good on raspberry pi! and ubuntu. You need these minimum specs to run it on your PC.
- Windows 7 and above– Etcher supports the Windows version not less than Windows 7. Considering all the system requirements, it comes in two variants for Windows, which are a 64 bit Installer version and a portable version.
- For Mac, the minimum distribution must not be beyond mac Yosemite.
- Bit space– Linux distros can be a little tricky since the Electron technology that Etcher is based on is not supported by a number of recently launched Linux versions. But it will work with some command line installation process. The USB booting tool comes in an AppImage form for Linux, which simply means no installation and admin rights are needed to run it on your Linux System. Just like Windows, 32 bit AppImage and 64 bit AppImage is available.
- Storage capacity– It is also something that needs to be checked beforehand, so for Etcher, an approx. of 112 MB free space is required to install it.
How to Download Etcher?
Etcher is a very simple and self-explanatory tool which offers a pretty easy and quick installation. It’s free and open-source and can be accessed on any OS.
Points to note:
- Firstly, note down the OS you are running your computer on.
- You must have a web browser installed on your system, be it Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge or majority’s favourite Google Chrome.
- If you’re running short on memory, just free up a space of nearly 120 MB(just to be on the safer side, though the requirement is only 112 MB, as already mentioned) in your system.
- Then proceed with the installation, although it is self-guiding, I will still tell an overview, in case you might need it.
It is a simple and quick job, click on the download button below and find the version that suits your system configuration-
How to install ETCHER on any OS?
How to Install Etcher on Windows?
- Installation of this tool is easy, but it’s easiest for Windows. Open your Web browser and make a google search for BalenaEtcher.
- Click on the official site link, and follow along by downloading either the portable version or the installer version for yourself. (Just click on the green download button)
- Once it is done, it will be located in your downloads folder, like any other app, just run the installation process and you will have it running in absolutely no time.
How to Install Etcher on MAC?
- Open your web browser and search for “BalenaEtcher” and click the green download button on its official site.
- Since it’s only a one version available for mac, you won’t face any problem in locating that.
- Once it is completed, just move it to the downloads folder and you can run the application from there.
How to Install Etcher on Linux?
- Etcher can be installed on Linux by either visiting the official site and downloading the AppImage version or you can use the command line method if you are more comfortable with it.
- For the direct method, just visit BalenaEtcher site using your web browser and hit the download button, you can go for either the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version, based on your system configuration.
- For the traditional method of downloading an application from the command line, follow these steps:
- Simply start this method by executing “Software and Updates” in your system.
- Then Add the repository field in the next screen that pops up followed by the authentication process.
- Now add up the repository key to the “Terminal” Window.
- Finally, update your packages list and continue the installation process of the application.
- And it’s done, you can launch the ‘Etcher’ application installed on your Linux system by searching for it.
How to Install Etcher on Raspberry Pi?
For Raspberry PI, there exists a Raspberry Pi version also which can be installed within a few minutes using the command line method as was used for Linux too. There are many tools available for the creation of bootable media, but there exists no-one that offers a dedicated version for Raspberry as well.
Follow this simple use of commands and you’ll be running Etcher on your Pi!-
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get upgrade
- sudo unzip /path/to/Etcher.zip
- sudo apt-get install libgconfmm-2.6
Why should you choose etcher?
By now if you are following the whole article, you must be having a solid answer to this one. But just to compile all the features and benefits of using the tool under one single heading, I’ll be writing the most unique ones here:
I’ll start with my favourite one first since it’s one of the primary reason many people have switched entirely to Etcher:
- Interface: There’s no arguing that many like applications are also offering a simple interface. But Etcher definitely provides an edge to the definition of “Simple”. Experience it yourself and you will realise how important it is to have a good User Interface and Experience, it makes people simply do the task and not roam around the application with x number of complicated options to choose from.
- Validation: It calculates the hash function of the image file that was uploaded with the image file that has been created, thereby making sure that both are identical to each other and there runs no discrepancy in both.
- Cross-Platform Compatible: Though the market is flooded with such applications, there’s one common feature that they lack, which is Cross-platform functionality. Rufus, which is the most-popular competitor to Etcher also lags behind here. It runs on Windows, Linux and Mac which is truly a feature that makes the user loyal to this.
- Open-Source: It is a free to use and an open source application. The benefit of being an open source application is that the source code is freely available on the net and one can make their versions by modifying the code and can contribute to the Etcher community.
- Hard-Drive Friendly: One really good feature is that it auto-detects for the drive/SD card/USB on your system and shows up the error of “Not found” if you have not plugged it in yet, thereby making you understand how the process works.
Still, list me the Top 3 Alternatives for Etcher?
Bootable USB fulfils all the necessities ranging from storing an image of the OS to use it as a “Portable OS” on a computer, along with:
- To install the missing or broken parts when an OS becomes compromised
- Upgrade an old OS to its latest version
Here are the best etcher alternatives in my understanding we are going to talk about:
- Universal USB installer
Rufus is by far the most popular one in the league. It is loved by the community of active users and thus is a very popular choice among them. It supports numerous image formats like Windows ISO files and Linux distros. It supports more than 35 languages and the storage space consumed by Rufus goes only up to an MB. It also offers some advanced options to correctly build your bootable USB drive. This is the fastest tool available for serving the purpose.
Universal USB Installer(UUI)
Universal USB installer aka UUI is comparable to Rufus in respect to performance and compatibility. UUI is a tool designed by Lance specifically for Linux based distributions, although it also works greatly in flashing Windows ISO images too. The flashing speed is also quick and it can easily create bootable USB drives within a few minutes. It also offers an in-built USB formatting tool which lets you free up the storage on USB drive after installation. It is compatible to run with any distribution of Linux like Fedora, Linux Mint, Puppy Linux, Clonezilla etc.
UNetbootin (Universal Netboot Installer)
UNetbootin (Universal Netboot Installer) is another super-handy cross-platform utility which is used to create live USB systems. It is used to install various Linux distros and more Operating Systems without using a CD and can load a variety of system utilities. It is an incredibly lightweight tool which is compatible on MAC, Windows as well as on MAC. It offers two types of modes:
- USB install
- Hard Drive install
How to write an image file (across any OS)
Quite honestly, they made it so simple, won’t take you even a minute to get the hang of it-
It breaks the entire complicated process of flashing an OS image file into three straight-forward steps:
- Click on Flash from file.
- Navigate to the OS image file and select it.
- Click on “Select target” to choose your Pen Drive/SD Card. Click on Select.
- Click on Flash.
- Wait for the software to format and write the OS files.
- Once successful, you will see Flash Complete message.
This is the complete process to use Etcher for creating bootable OS drives or to boot any other image file on your external drive. This is not at all time consuming and is much more efficient than any other software. With the same user interface for all the platforms, users won’t face any trouble while copying/writing the image files on SD card or USB drives.
FAQs for writing an image file on Etcher
- How to solve the “something went wrong” error while uploading the image file?
It is generally because of the corrupted image file or an unsupported file type. You can firstly update the application and then try downloading the OS image again.
- How to solve the “1 Failed Device” error along with some other info about checksums not matching?
This is because the integrity of the image file is not verified by Etcher. Download the official OS image or any other image file you want to write.
- Is Etcher safe to use for writing Windows OS image files?
Yes, the tool is totally safe to write Windows OS image files or any other OS image files.
- What is the best alternative to Etcher?
Rufus is the best alternative as it is as fast and efficient.
- Can I use Etcher on Linux to create live USB?
Yes, you can do it. Download the live image file of the operating system you want to burn and follow the same steps mentioned above.
For any further doubt, you can go through this video which will take you through the same process but virtually:
EtcherPro will be an impeccable innovation in the field of creating Bootable USB devices, as it offers tremendous updates from the already existing one. Some advanced features and rapid speed will surely make it stand out.
- It is all set to take pre-orders from January 2021, is a hardware device which allows you to write multiple cards or USB drives simultaneously and the number can go up to 16 at a time.
- It will offer a better speed for less price, and moreover, it will have some very useful advanced features like Cluster Size, File system selection etc which the community version lacks.
- The burning of all the images will be done at the same speed- up to 52MB/s across all the ports, which is the fastest writing speed till now.
- Simply connecting two EtcherPro devices together, will act as one device with 32 destination slots, which can expand up to a huge number of 160 ports.
Common FAQs About Etcher
1. Is etcher safe?
Ans: Yes, It is absolutely safe. But make sure to download it from the official website only.
2. Can etcher make bootable USB?
Ans: Yes, it is capable of making Bootable USB as well as SD cards. It is its primary work as it has been created to serve this purpose only.
3. Can etcher create an image?
Ans: No, creating an image is not in its functionality yet. You simply have to download the .iso or .img image file of the OS desired, and then writing an image to a bootable drive can be accomplished using this tool.
4. How do you install etcher on windows?
Ans: Go to the official website of BalenaEtcher and click on the green download button that says “Download for Windows (x86|x64)”.
On completion, Run the installer once it has finished downloading.
5.– Does etcher work with Windows ISO?
Ans: Yes, it can burn Windows ISO to both SD cards and USB flash drives. Just upload your Windows ISO, select the drive and hit flash.
6. Which runs faster among SSD or SD cards?
Ans: SD cards serve the purpose of storing files while SSD cards are used for optimizing OS partition. SD cards are faster than SSD. It could be 200 times faster than an SSD.
7. How to use Etcher?
Ans: This is just a 3 step process: Select image by browsing your computer, Select the drive(It will automatically be detected if plugged in) and then click flash to start the process.
8. Etcher is based on what technology?