How to Install and Use Etcher on Linux for Making Live Linux USB?

Still can’t decide which OS is the best one for your PC? Well, you probably have landed here because of one of the following reasons. 

  1. You want to try out Linux OS without actually installing it.
  2. You want to store some confidential information/data on your OS that will always be with you on the go.
  3. You want to complete some temporary task/project on Linux.

The solution? Etcher! It is quite famous in the world of image writing softwares. With a user-friendly interface and fast flash speed, the application is used to burn OS images on USB drives and SD cards. Etcher is available for all major operating systems and if you want to make a live linux USB on your Linux OS using Etcher, it is simple and straightforward. Let’s first check out what actually live USB means.

What is Live USB?

A live USB is basically an operating system installed on your pendrive which you can insert in your PC and can boot it to run the operating system. Thinking about the use? Let’s say that I don’t have much RAM or storage on my computer to run another operating system side by side. 

In such a scenario, a live USB of my preferred operating system can be created and the OS will boot when I plugin the USB and start my computer.

Points to note:

  1. Make sure to download the Linux OS from the official website.
  2. If a Live image file of your particular Linux OS is available, download that file.
  3. It is recommended to use a 16 GB USB drive for smooth installation.

Without any further ado, let’s get started with the installation process!

  1. Download Etcher for Linux from the official website (32 bit and 64 bit according to your OS version).

Tip: You can check your Ubuntu’s version by entering the following command in Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) -> lscpu

  1. Go to the Downloads folder. Unzip the .zip file to extract .appimage file by entering the following command in Terminal. Enter the name of your .zip file instead of the one shown below.
    unzip ~/Downloads/
  2. Right click on the .appimage file and click on Properties. Go to the Permissions tab and checkmark “Allow executing file as program”.
  3. In the Terminal window, enter the following
  4. You will see the Etcher window.
  5. Click “Select Image” and go to the folder where you downloaded the OS image file.
  6. Click “Select Target” and choose your USB drive from the list.
  7. Click on Flash! Wait for that green progress bar to complete to 100% and you will see “Flash Complete” message.
  8. Open Files. You will see the USB drive in the left side panel. Click on the Eject icon next to it. Remove USB drive.
  9. Insert it again and restart your computer. When the system restarts and is on the black screen, press F12 or F9 or the key to open BIOS boot menu (it varies from laptop to laptop, Google yours!)
  10. Choose your USB drive from the boot option and select Live USB or Try OS option.
  11. The installation will finish and you will see the OS running on the USB drive without any installation on your hard drive.

That’s it. Run various softwares, connect to the Internet, and do a lot more!

You can store or save your data to the live USB and can later access the same on any computer. If you are just trying out a new OS and want to shift to it permanently, then choose to install OS while booting the USB drive next time. Have doubts? Check out the FAQs below!


  1. I want to install live Ubuntu but there is no live image file available for the same. What to do?
    You can download the official Ubuntu image file and can burn it by following the steps mentioned above. While booting the USB, click on “Try Ubuntu” in the first window. This will run Ubuntu live on your computer.
  2. How to solve the “boot error” message while running live linux USB?
    It is mostly because of the less available space on your USB drive. Use a 16 GB or more space USB to burn the OS files. 
  3. How to solve the “Image not bootable” error?
    Some ISO files require particular softwares for writing them to USB drives. You can try out Rufus to solve this problem.
  4. Can I boot Kali Linux live image to my USB using Etcher?
    Yes, you can do it. Choose the downloaded Kali Linux live ISO file when you click on “Select Image” and flash it.
  5. I can’t change the Etcher file permissions from the Properties in my Linux. Is there any other way to do it?
    Yes, open the terminal window (Ctrl+Alt+T) and enter the following commands (Insert the name of the Etcher .appimage file in place of filename.appimage)
    cd Downloads
    chmod +x filename.appimage
  6. How to solve the “Something went wrong” error in Etcher?
    It is a software bug and you need to download the latest stable version of Etcher to remove this error. If it still persists, try using another software like Rufus or UNetbootin.
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