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I tried to create a bootable usb of kali linux using "dd if=kali.iso of=dev/sdb bs=512k" as per http://docs.kali.org/installation/kali-linux-live-usb-install but the resulting filesystem is unrecognized by gparted and the usb is undiscoverable in finder.

In linux what innate utilities exist to create bootable media? How do they differ from external applications? I would greatly appreciate the help.

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The ISO image must be hybrid bootable. I.e. be able to be booted both from a CD (as a normal ISO) and from a USB flash drive. Are you sure that the image has this capability? –  pabouk Dec 17 '13 at 8:41
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2 Answers

You could also try with

cp kali.iso /dev/sdb ; sync

if you are not sure that the image is an hybrid one you could also try this before copying

isohybrid kali.iso
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Yes, dd is a very popular linux utility not limited to, but very often used do create bootable usb drives from hybrid iso files.

You have a typo in your question, the command should be

 dd if=kali.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=512k

mark the leading / before the usb drive device name. Also, try droppin bs=512k option. Also be sure you put in the proper file name, try if=/home/myhome/path_to/kali.iso. dd doesn't check the image integrity, if you download the image via torrents, check your download first.

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