Create Bootable USB Using Etcher in Linux – Download and Usage Guide

3 min

Etcher is a utility created by Balena, that makes your life easy with its unique take on creating bootable USB and SD cards with a .iso file. In this guide, I will show you the steps to download and install Etcher. Although it is a bit trivial for some, may be difficult for others. Hence this guide.

Primarily Etcher is used for flashing or writing the Linux OS .iso images for example Ubuntu, Linux Mint .iso images, etc. But ideally, it should work for any other .iso files as well.

There are other utilities available as well to create bootable USB disks in particular, like earlier I wrote about a guide using Unetbootin. But that said, Etcher is in my opinion is faster, cleaner, and better. It seldom fails. The success rate is high.

Before I explain the steps, a quick recap of its features.

Etcher Features

  • Crisp 3 step process to create a bootable USB drive
  • Select the file, Select target, and write fast
  • Clone a drive
  • Choose local downloaded .iso file Or directly from URL
  • Clean and eye-friendly UI
  • Cross-platform – Linux, Windows, and macOS
  • Built-in JS, electron
  • Standalone AppImage executable available for Linux

Installing Etcher

Etcher is available for all platforms. So you can easily install it using the following methods in all Linux distributions (including Ubuntu 20.04), macOS, and Windows.

For all Linux distributions

Download the AppImage executable from the below link. Then change the permission to executable from ‘right click -> properties’. Then run the file.

For distribution specific packages refer below.

Debian, Ubuntu

To install Etecher in Debian, Ubuntu, and Linux Mint, and related distributions, follow the below commands from the terminal.

echo "deb stable etcher" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/balena-etcher.list
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkps:// --recv-keys 379CE192D401AB61
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install balena-etcher-electron


For Fedora, follow the below commands from the terminal.

sudo wget -O /etc/yum.repos.d/etcher-rpm.repo
sudo dnf install -y balena-etcher-electron

Arch Linux

For Arch Linux, make sure yay is installed. Then you can run the below command to install.

yay -S balena-etcher

Create bootable USB Using Etcher

Once you have installed it successfully. Launch the application. The first window shows 3 steps which you need to follow. Of course, you need a USB stick and the .iso file to write.

Step 1: Select file

Plugin your target USB or SD card. Browse and select the location of your .iso file. Or, you can pull it directly from the internet as well via the URL option.

Step 1 - Select the file
Step 1 – Select the file

Step 2: Select target device

Click on select target and carefully choose your USB or SD card. Etcher is friendly enough to notify you which one of the devices are your system devices so that you dont end up destroying data.

Choose by clicking the check box. And click select.

Step 2 - Select Target device
Step 2 – Select Target device

Step3: Click flash to start creating the bootable USB or SD card.

Step 3 - Start the process
Step 3 – Start the process – create bootable usb

Wait until the process finishes.

Process is complete
Process is complete

And that’s it. You can safely remove the USB or SD card for your use.

Closing Note

While there are many ways to create a bootable USB such as you can use Unetbootin, MKUSB, even use Ubuntu’s default Disk utility – but Ethcher makes it easier to do it. The UI design, only 3 steps process makes it ideal for new users and of source advanced users who want reliability. Because a bootable USB is a critical asset and should be created properly by a solid program.

So, which is your favorite bootable USB creation tool in Linux, let me know in the comment section below.

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