I'd like to try out Linux Mint before deciding whether or not to install it on my laptop. I've got an ISO image that I've dd'd onto a USB flash drive (sudo dd if=~/Downloads/linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-32bit.iso of=/media/24C4-1E16/linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-32bit.iso oflag=direct bs=1048576) but when I reboot my machine and boot from the flash drive I get a "disk error press any key to restart".

The problem is, I can't tell if I have made the flash drive wrong or if I have gotten the wrong iso image. The iso image says "dvd" in the name of the file so it could certainly be the wrong image but I don't see any other version of linux mint to download though. So if you could point me in that direction that would be helpful.


 $ sudo dd if=~/Downloads/linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-32bit.iso of=/dev/sdb/linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-32bit.iso oflag=direct  bs=1048576
 dd: opening `/dev/sdb/linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-32bit.iso': Not a directory

Looks like I don't need the filename in the "of=" piece


Your usb does not need to be mounted, use that:

sudo dd if=~/Downloads/linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-32bit.iso of=/dev/sdX oflag=direct bs=1048576

Be careful with X, generally sda is your hard disk, so sdb, sdc, can be your usb drive

  • how can i figure out which one is my usb drive? ls /dev/sdb just returns /dev/sdb – Ramy Apr 11 '13 at 3:15
  • 2
    When usb unplugged, run sudo fdisk -l, then plug in your usb and run again that command. At first you will get just output for hard disk, and after another device has been appear – slackmart Apr 11 '13 at 3:18
  • great, thanks. I get an error when I use /dev/sdb (which was the result of the fdisk) – Ramy Apr 11 '13 at 3:23
  • Really? but have you identified now which one is your usb device? – slackmart Apr 11 '13 at 3:26
  • sorry i think i got it. i'm going to try to boot from it now and let you know. – Ramy Apr 11 '13 at 3:28

Looks like you are using the dd command incorrectly. Using your command, you're dding to the partition (or part of the drive) you have mounted at that location.

To dd and make a drive bootable, you need to write to the full drive (NOT a partition). The drive should also not be mounted.

Your command should be similar to:

sudo dd if=~/Name/Downloads/image.iso of=/dev/sdx

Make sure to choose the correct /dev/sdx, otherwise you could easily corrupt your system or ruin another drive.

(On OSX it may be /Volumes/Something for the of=).

So to answer your question, you can know that your drive is not bootable by issuing the incorrect command :)


Check if it is enough to dd the image to the USB drive, you might need to do something special.

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