How to Create Ubuntu Live USB in Windows

The tutorial shows how to create a bootable Ubuntu USB in Windows. Instructions are valid for all versions of Ubuntu Linux and Windows.
Warp Terminal

One of the first few steps for installing Ubuntu is to create a bootable USB of Ubuntu.

There are several free live USB creation tools available in Windows. You may use any of these free applications.

In this tutorial, I’ll show two methods using two different applications for creating live Ubuntu USB in Windows:

  • Rufus (recommended)
  • Universal USB Installer

You can try Ubuntu without installing it with a live USB on your computer. You can, of course, use the same live USB to install Ubuntu on a computer as well.

Let me highlight some of the easiest methods. Before you start creating the bootable USB, get the essentials first.

Getting Things Ready

Make sure that you have the following:

Download Ubuntu ISO

ISO is an image file. You download this single file of around 4.9 GB, consisting of an “image” of Ubuntu Linux. You then use a tool to extract the content of the ISO file in such a manner that you can boot the Ubuntu operating system from the USB itself.

Go to the official website and choose the Ubuntu version of your choice. You may choose Ubuntu LTS if you do not want to upgrade your system every six to nine months.

download ubuntu

You can also download Ubuntu via torrents from the alternative downloads link on the same page.

Suggested Read 📖

Explained: Which Ubuntu Version Should I Use?
Confused about Ubuntu vs Xubuntu vs Lubuntu vs Kubuntu?? Want to know which Ubuntu flavor you should use? This beginner’s guide helps you decide which Ubuntu should you choose.

Rufus is an excellent free, open-source tool for making bootable Linux USB disks. On Windows, I prefer and recommend using Rufus.

If you prefer videos to text, I have made this video to show the steps in action.

Step 1: Download Rufus

Go to the website of Rufus and download the .exe file:

This is an exe file, so you do not need to install Rufus. Just double-click on it to run it.

Step 2: Creating the live Ubuntu USB

Plug in your USB key (pen drive) to the computer. Now double-click on the download Rufus exe file, which should be in the Downloads folder.

When you run Rufus with the USB plugged in, it automatically recognizes it. If more than one USB key is plugged in, please select the correct USB under Device.

It may also automatically find the Ubuntu ISO. If not, you can always browse to the ISO by clicking on the SELECT button.

I hope you have checked the partitioning scheme and BIOS type, as I mentioned in the prerequisite section. Based on that, select the Partition Scheme and Target System in Rufus.

Everything looks good? Hit the START button.

Make Live Usb With Rufus

You may be asked to choose how to write the image. Choose ‘Write in ISO Image mode’:

Making Live Usb With Rufus

It will take a few minutes to complete the process. You’ll see a green signal when the live USB is ready.

I’ll show you how to boot from the live USB in a moment.

Method 2: Using Universal USB Installer to make bootable Linux USB

Go to the Universal USB installer project website and download the latest version of Universal USB Installer.

Plugin the USB drive in the computer and run Universal USB Installer. You need to do the following things now:

  • Select Ubuntu under Step 1
  • Browse to the location of the downloaded Ubuntu ISO in the Step 2 section
  • In Step 3, select the USB drive and check the format option.
usb installer select ISO

It will present you with obvious warnings; click Yes.

universal usb installer warning

Wait for some time for the process to complete. You can push it to the background if you like.

creating live usb of ubuntu

That said, your Ubuntu USB should be created in a few minutes.


That’s it.

How to boot from live Ubuntu USB

Once the live USB is created, you can test Ubuntu in live mode. The bootable USB can be used on any system, not only on the one where you created it.

Plug in the live USB on the desired computer. What you need to do is restart or power on your computer.

At the screen that shows the logo of your system manufacturer, press the F2 or F10 or F12 key. You may try pressing all of them individually if you are unsure of the key. But be quick when you do that otherwise, it will boot into the operating system.

This key is different for different brands of computers. Some may even use Esc or Del keys for this purpose.

acer predator boot
Quickly press F2, F10 or F12 keys at the screen showing your system manufacturer’s logo

In rare cases, you may have to access the UEFI boot settings from within Windows.

In the BIOS settings, normally, you should see a screen like this. Here, you use the arrow keys to move down to the USB option and press enter to boot from the USB. Please note that the screen may look different in different systems.

select boot from live usb

Once you boot into the USB, you will notice the grub screen with the following options:

ubuntu grub
  • Try or Install Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu (safe graphics)
  • Test memory

You need to click on "Try or Install Ubuntu". You do not need the safe graphics option unless your graphics card has an issue working with Ubuntu or if you are debugging some issue with graphics disabled.

In case you get different options, you need to select "Try Ubuntu" to use the Live USB session and do not want to install it immediately.

Once you go ahead with the first option, it will start the live USB session.

If you like it, you can install Ubuntu after selecting the preferred language.

try or install ubuntu

Note that if you make any changes to the live Ubuntu system, like saving some files or installing applications, your changes will be lost if you boot from the live USB again.

Please remember that some systems may not allow you to boot from a bootable USB. If you see some error (like PCIe initialization on Dell systems) or cannot boot from the USB, disable secure boot and try booting from the USB again.

Ultimate Guide: Getting Started With Ubuntu
So you are thinking of using Ubuntu? Or perhaps you have already started using Ubuntu? But you do not know how to use Ubuntu or what to do after installing Ubuntu. Don’t worry, every beginner faces more or less the same issues. This is the reason why I have

Considering that you are just starting, I advise you to follow this beginner’s guide to Ubuntu and learn how to use Ubuntu. Let me know if you need some help.

About the author
Abhishek Prakash

Abhishek Prakash

Created It's FOSS 11 years ago to share my Linux adventures. Have a Master's degree in Engineering and years of IT industry experience. Huge fan of Agatha Christie detective mysteries 🕵️‍♂️


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