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Howto: Create a bootable Linux USB flash drive (USB-stick) in Mac OSX

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For Windows and Linux there’s UNetbootin, in OSX you have to rely on the terminal to create your USB flash drive.

Step 1: Download the image of the distro you want to use. In my case XUbuntu 10.04.

Step2: If there is data that you still need on your flash drive, save it on your desktop or somewhere else on your harddrive. I created a folder ‘Data’ on my desktop.

Step3: Open a terminal and type in mount . This should give you a list of mounted drives on your Mac, like this:

eubolists-macbook-pro:~ eubolist$ mount
/dev/disk0s2 on / (hfs, local, journaled)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, nobrowse)
map -hosts on /net (autofs, nosuid, automounted, nobrowse)
map auto_home on /home (autofs, automounted, nobrowse)
/dev/disk0s3 on /Volumes/BOOTCAMP (fusefs, local, synchronous)
/dev/disk1s2 on /Volumes/Time Machine-Backups (hfs, local, nodev, nosuid, journaled)
/dev/disk3 on /Volumes/8GB DRIVE (msdos, local, nodev, nosuid, noowners) <– This is the one we want
Step 4: Unmount the drive: diskutil umountDisk /dev/disk3 Of course you may have to change disk3 to whatever disk your flash drive is.
Step 5: Write the image: dd if=/Users/eubolist/Downloads/xubuntu-10.04-desktop-i386.iso of=/dev/disk3 bs=1m
Again, change the command as needed. The path to your image is in all probability different as well as the path to your flash drive.
Now you should see the light of your flash drive flashing and after a while an output that looks similar like the following:

681+1 records in
681+1 records out
714168320 bytes transferred in 225.925632 secs (3161077 bytes/sec)

If that’s the case, congrats! You should have a bootable flash drive now. If you want to, you can create another partition if you have enough space and put the data saved earlier in Step 2 back on your usb drive now.
NOTE: If you have an older PC it might still not boot from your flash drive, even if you did everything well. Some older BIOSes just don’t support booting from USB flash drives.

Written by eubolist

2010/05/24 at 19:42