Create USB Boot Thumb Drive With Ubuntu Live CD – Revisited

I used the method, previously described, to make a bootable USB Ubuntu thumb drive for a co-worker. The process failed for his particular thumb drive, saying “Missing Operating System” when he tried to boot with the USB thumb drive.  After some research on the subject, it seems that a lot of thumb drives have this problem with Ubuntu.  I found the solution at .  Dominique’s step by step “How To” worked perfectly for me.  If you have problems with your Ubuntu USB boot thumb drive, give this “How To” a try and you might be pleasantly surprised.


Create USB Boot Thumb Drive With Ubuntu Live CD

The computers in my Radio Shack and home run on Ubuntu Linux. A great way to share this good experience with others is through the Ubuntu Live CD.  The downside of the Live CD, however, is that no changes are saved.  To get a more lifelike experience in the Ubuntu demo, a bootable Ubuntu system can be loaded onto a USB thumb drive.  With this method, any changes will be kept on the thumb drive.

With the USB bootable thumb drive, it also means that you can carry your operating system with you with all the files you like to use.  There certainly is a performance issue compared with a regular hard drive instalation, but having your e-mail, internet, audio/visual programs, ham radio programs, etc. with you all the time, available to use on any computer that can boot by USB, is an awesome thing.

Here are some detailed instructions to make a bootable USB thumb drive from the Ubuntu 8.10 live CD.

Download PDF of this page.



  • Insert Live Ubuntu CD and allow it to boot up completely

  • Insert Thumb Drive into a USB port and wait for system to recognize it

  • Click “System” on the TOP menu of the Desktop

Click "System"

  • Select  “Administration” under the “System” menu.


  • Click “Create a USB startup disk” under “Administration”

Click "Create a USB startup disk"

  • The “Make USB Startup Disk” program should start

  • CD info for the Live CD should appear at the top

Make USB Startup Disk

  • USB information should appear in the middle. If the USB thumb drive is not inserted, you can do it now and the information should appear.

USB Information Field

  • Make sure “Store in reserve extra space” is selected.

  • Move slider to the right to allocated additional memory on the thumb drive for the Ubuntu system. If you want a bit unused (eg. ½ GB) for other files, do not go all the way to the right. Note – This “unused” portion, or any files on the unused portion of the thumb drive WILL NOT be accessible when Ubuntu is booted from the thumb drive.

Storage Options

  • Click “Make Startup Disk”

Do it!

  • The system will begin to copy the Ubuntu Operating system to the thumb drive.

Progress Bar

  • It may take some time for the process to complete. When it is done, close the program and unmount the USB thumb drive by right clicking on the disk icon on the Desktop, and click “Unmount Volume”

  • This completes the installation of Ubuntu onto the thumb drive. Reboot the computer with the thumb drive in place and enjoy Ubuntu.