How to create a Linux bootable USB

Nithil Krishnaraj
4 min readJul 29, 2022

A simple and fast way to get up and running with Linux

A USB (Picture Credit: USB Memory Direct)

If you own and use a computer, there’s a big chance it’s running Windows. However, there’s a better alternative to Windows. It’s called Linux. Unlike Windows, where there’s only one type, there are more than 600 Linux distributions or distro for short. You can think of these as different flavors and each flavor targets a certain audience. For example, Edubuntu, a Linux distro, is targeted toward students and educators. Since there are so many different ones, there’s probably a distro that’s probably tailored for your needs. Also, due to its small user base, it’s less targeted by hackers, making it more secure and better in performance. You can install a distro onto a USB and try it out without replacing your current operating system. In this article, you’ll learn how to create a USB that can be used to install Linux onto any computer. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll be installing the Pop!_OS distribution.

What you’ll need:

  • A computer with at least one USB port
  • An external storage device, like a USB, that you’re comfortable with completely erasing
  • A strong internet connection

Words to know:

  • Distro — A variant of the Linux operating system, different distros serve different purposes
  • Tux — The mascot of Linux, it’s a penguin!
A ranking of Linux distros (Picture Credit: Reddit)

Choosing a Distro

Well, what’s a distro? A Linux distro are variants of Linux and serve their own purpose. For example, Pop!_OS, a popular distro, is geared towards new (and old) Linux users and features a user-friendly interface. This is the distro we will be installing, but as always, you always have the option of picking another one. For a list of Linux distributions, check out this website:

Pro Tip: Pick a distribution in the beginner’s category to ensure an enjoyable and painless experience

A screenshot of Pop!_OS (Picture Credit: OMG! Ubuntu!)

Downloading Pop!_OS

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

Here, all you have to do is press the button that says “Download 22.04 LTS.” The LTS stands for Long Term Support. This will download the latest copy of the operating system onto your computer and we’ll use this file to create the bootable USB.

Pro Tip: Make sure you have a fast Internet connection to ensure fast and efficient downloads.

Downloading Etcher

So, now that we’ve downloaded the file for our operating system, it’s time to install Etcher, a software that will help us make a bootable USB drive. Start by heading to, the website to download the software. Balena is the tech company that developed Etcher. Once you’re on the website, click on the button that says “Download for Windows (x86|x64).” After downloading, open the file and follow the instructions. It should be fairly easy to follow. If you followed the instructions properly, you should end up with this screen:

Pro Tip: Using a 3.0 USB will drastically reduce the time to create the bootable USB.

Creating the bootable USB

Finally, if you did all the steps correctly, you should see the screen above. Now, plug in your external storage device, like a USB drive into your computer. First, click on Flash from File and select the file you downloaded earlier.

Then Press “Select target” and select your USB drive. After that, press “Flash” and the software should Congratulations! Pat yourself on the back, you just successfully created a bootable USB stick.

A screenshot of Ubuntu (Picture Credit: Wikipedia)

Step Further

For whatever reason, if you don’t like using Pop!_OS, you can always pick a different distro. This is what makes Linux versatile and flexible. A popular alternative to Pop!_OS is Ubuntu, another distro developed by the tech company Canonical. This distro is mainly targeted at all audiences and it’s also user-friendly to beginners. To download Ubuntu, head to and download the file. All you need to do after that is follow the instructions for Etcher above and use the Ubuntu file instead of the Pop!_OS.



Nithil Krishnaraj

Co-founder and Writer of TechTalkers. Learning about technology and photography are my passions!