Create Bootable Live Linux USB Drives with UNetbootin

This year for Christmas, I received a new netbook to play with. It came pre-loaded with Windows XP, so I’ve had a little vacation from Windows 7. I’ve also had to live without a CD/DVD drive, and that’s been the real challenge for me.

Once I had my netbook set up the way I wanted it, my first order of business was to create a full system backup. Since my netbook doesn’t have a CD drive, I had to figure out how to boot a recovery system from the flash drive slot, or a USB stick.

The backup software I chose came with a Live CD ISO file that you would normally burn to a CD. Once the CD was booted, you could access your backup files on the network or on an external hard drive, and then you could restore your system. I tried a variety of programs, but I finally found a perfect solution at UNetbootin (free and open source) easily created a bootable SD flash card containing my system recovery software. Below I’ll give you some details about this fantastic utility.

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Clif Sipe

Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

  • ghabuntu

    Yup Approved too. Really great app especially for those who need to use the pc of other people.

    I specifically use it to create live usbs for testing purposes and like you said, it's yet to let me down.

    • Clif Sipe

      Thanks for the comment Ghabuntu. What's your favorite distro to take with you on the road? What size USB sticks are you using?

  • tfosorcim

    Great article. Thanks.
    Different subject: any thoughts on how to get Apple's Quicktime on Ubuntu 9.04; and on whatever distribution is used on Asus' EeePC 701? An acquaintance of mine claims it's not possible. He doesn't have a real life; he's a movies junkie AND a Microsoft Zombie (in case you hadn't guessed), and claims this is the main reason he'll never use Linux (can you say MicroSITH–MicroSoftInTheHead–boys and girls?). I'd like to show him trailers from and say "…and what excuse have you dreamed up now?".
    Again: great article. Many thanks.

    • Clif Sipe

      Hi tfosorcim,

      Ubuntu does not support Quicktime, only because it’s a proprietary format and possibly some legal issues. However, it can be gotten around using the instructions at LifeWithUnbuntu. it doesn’t look easy, but the instructions are clear and most folks can get through it.

      Thanks for asking.
      .-= Clif Sipe´s last blog ..Clif Notes Newsletter for January 2010 =-.

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