Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Recently I wanted to create a bootable USB of Linux mint. I found that there was a lot of conflicting advice/experience about whether the 'dd' command could be used to create a bootable USB. I decided to download an ISO and try. While dd definitely put the image on the USB stick it was not bootable. So my question is what is the magic ingredient that will make this work or why has this approach persisted if it does not work?

This is the command I used,

dd if=/mint/iso/image of=/dev/sdb1 oflag=direct 
share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 1 '12 at 15:21

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

    
This is not a programming question. –  blueshift Apr 1 '12 at 15:17
1  
The three existing answers are overlooking the fact that you cannot use a CD or DVD bootloader (that is in the iso) as a USB flash drive bootloader. The hardware differences are a NO GO. Make the flash drive bootable, mount the .iso and flash drive, and then just copy the files. Forget dd for this task. –  sawdust Apr 1 '12 at 23:45
    
@sawdust while you are stating that the answers posted are a "no go", this article (community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/744) indicates that this is the correct procedure. –  Dave G Apr 2 '12 at 2:03
    
@DaveG - Interesting, apparently 'dd' is a usable command iff the source file is a "Hybrid ISO image". But it is not a generic procedure for every iso. Perhaps that distinction is the reason for the conflicting advice jdowner encountered. –  sawdust Apr 2 '12 at 5:26
    
@sawdust thanks for the additional clarification on that. –  Dave G Apr 2 '12 at 7:47

4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

You are writing the image to the partition 1 of /dev/sdb

Change this to the following command:

dd if=/mint/iso/image of=/dev/sdb oflag=direct

this information was acquired from here

share|improve this answer

You copied the image to the first partition. Try copying to /dev/sdb rather than /dev/sdb1.

The actual mechanism varies a bit depending on the type of image you're using, but for simple DOS/MBR images you need to get a correct partition table (with the bootable partition marked as being bootable, and the MBR - the part of the initial 512 bytes that isn't the partition table - containing initial boot code.

share|improve this answer

From my experience with another Linux distro, all you should have to do is change the syslinux boot loader file and modify it to boot the USB. There's more detailed information about this at the syslinux wiki.

See also this Google search.

share|improve this answer

Have you made sure that your motherboard is set to boot from the USB device before it tries booting from your HDD? I would guess that may be your only issue - there's not much to using dd as you can see.

share|improve this answer
    
This was an issue that I had thought about, especially because I was working on an old computer. So when it did not work on my target machine, I set the boot order on my wifes laptop (shh, don't tell her) and it did not boot from that either. –  jdowner Apr 1 '12 at 15:07

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.