I was trying to create a USB bootable in Debian to install my new system. I couldn't find any easy to use tool in Debian. I tried downloading the hybrid ISO image from the Debian site and copied it to the USB using the dd command as said in Debian site, but it didn't boot.

Next, I used the Startup Disk Creator tool in Ubuntu and it worked like a charm. Is there any similar tool in Debian? I know that there is Unetbootin, but it's difficult to install.


For Debian Stretch (9.x) you can use gnome-multi-writer. The interface is a bit confusing (you need to click the [x] button on the left to select ISO) but in the end it does the trick.

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Solution with cp

I have used the copy (cp) command for this. It did take me a couple of tries, though. The trick that seemed to make the difference for me was to plug the usb drive in, format it as MBR, but not create any partitions. In Debian (Gnome), this is easy to do from gnome-disks (called simply Disks in the GUI, while the package name is gnome-disk-utility). It can also be done using the gparted GUI program. Of course, you will lose any data currently on the USB drive when you format it.

Then, if your USB drive is /dev/sdd, just issue the copy command in the terminal:

sudo cp debian-xxx-yyy.iso /dev/sdd

So you're copying to a drive (that is unmounted), not to a particular partition. Then in the Disks GUI, when you click on the newly created partition on the USB drive, you should see (Bootable) next to the entry for Partition Type. If not, it may help to do the following:

  1. With the partition selected, click on the Gears icon
  2. Click Edit Partition...
  3. Check the Bootable box.

Alternate solution

Another way that has worked for me with bootable Ubuntu iso images is to use the Disks GUI itself:

  1. In the top 'three bars' menu, choose Restore Disk Image...
  2. Under Image to Restore, choose your .iso file with a double-click
  3. Make sure the Destination reflects your USB drive
  4. Click Start Restoring. Upon completion, make sure the new partition is bootable as above.


  1. The OP's link from the Debian site specifically advises against using unetbootin for this purpose.

  2. The cp method is officially sanctioned in the Debian docs. They add the command sync after to ensure writing has finished.


Unetbootin is a debian package, also available on many other distributions and systems. It does install an ISO image as a bootable USB drive.


You can try MultiSystem or LiveUSB.

Pendrivelinux.com is a very useful resource for this sort of thing.

  • Is any of these packages in apt-cache? I could not find them. Oct 24 '15 at 7:30
  • 1
    @Masi in what distribution? They're not on Debian or Ubuntu, no, multisystem has its own repository: liveusb.info/dotclear/index.php?pages/install
    – terdon
    Oct 24 '15 at 11:48
  • Thank you for your answer! I am using Debian 8.1, Jessie. Oct 24 '15 at 12:18
  • @Masi OK then neither of those are in the repos but you can add the repository from the link I gave in my previous comment.
    – terdon
    Oct 24 '15 at 14:29

Win32DiskImager, or rufus.

You may find either of these are the below links, respectively: http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/


  • These are Windows programs, no?
    – spinup
    Jun 27 '17 at 15:00

Also, now there is Balena Etcher: https://www.balena.io/etcher/

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