Monday, 2 November 2015

How To Create A Ubuntu 16.04 USB Drive Using Windows 10

Posted by Gary Newell  |  at  00:10 41 comments


Updated For Ubuntu 16.04

This tutorial shows you how to create a Ubuntu 16.04 USB drive using Windows 10 (although it will also work for other versions of Ubuntu including Ubuntu 15.10, Ubuntu 15.04 and Ubuntu 14.04).

It is written for Windows users thinking of trying Ubuntu out and is part of a larger guide showing how to dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu.

Download Ubuntu

The latest version of Ubuntu is 16.04 and it is a long term support release which means it will be supported until 2021. 

You do however need to make sure you choose the correct flavour. The choices are 64-bit or 32-bit.

To find out whether you are running a 32-bit or 64-bit type “PC Info” into the search box. Click the “About Your PC” option that appears at the top of the results.

A settings window will appear and halfway down the right hand side of the page you will see the words 32-bit or 64-bit.

Now that you know whether your computer is running 32-bit or 64-bit you can choose the relevant option on the Ubuntu download page and click the “Download” link.

You will be asked to make a donation, which helps with the future development of Ubuntu. The default amount is 15. You can increase or decrease this amount by either sliding the sliders to the left or right on each category or entering numbers in the box.

If you want to download Ubuntu for free click the link in the bottom corner which says “Not now, take me to the download”.

Ubuntu will now start to download.

Download And Install Win32 Disk Imager

Download Win32 Disk Imager from

The Win32 Disk Imager software is used to copy a Linux disk image to a USB drive.

Click the link above and when the above screen appears click on the green “Download” button.

A file dialog window will appear and you can choose where to download the Win32 Disk Imager software to.

Click “Save”.

The file will now download. It is around 12 megabytes in size.

Double click on the downloaded file to start the Win32 Disk Imager setup wizard. 

When the welcome screen appears click “Next”.

A license screen will appear. Click “Next” to continue (after reading the agreement of course).

You can now choose where you want to install Win32 Disk Imager. Click “Next” to continue.

The next screen shows which start menu folder the shortcut for Win32 Disk Imager will be created in. Click “Next” to continue.

If you would like to create a desktop icon leave the checkbox checked and click “Next” otherwise uncheck the box.

You are finally ready to install Win32 Disk Imager. Click “Install”.

The files will now be copied and installed to your computer. Uncheck the box for viewing the readme and launching Win32 Disk Imager. Click “Finish”.

How To Format A USB Drive

Insert a USB drive into your computer. Make sure it doesn’t have anything on it that you want to keep because it is about to be wiped clean.

Open Windows Explorer (Press the Windows key and E key on your keyboard at the same time). Navigate to the drive letter for your USB drive, right click and when the menu appears choose “Format”.

Make sure you have chosen the USB drive. The easiest way to check is to look at the capacity. Your hard drive will be hundreds of gigabytes in size whereas a USB drive will generally be less than 64 gigabytes and more likely 8 or 16.

If you are happy you have the right drive selected, check the “Quick Format” option and click “Start”.

How To Create A Ubuntu USB Drive

It is time to create a Ubuntu USB drive and this is the reason you downloaded and installed the Win32 Disk Imager application.

This application can be used for other Linux distributions as well as Ubuntu.

In the search box enter “Win32”. An option for Win32 Disk Imager will appear. Click on this option.

This tool is so simple yet so effective. When the Win32 Disk Imager window appears click on the folder icon as highlighted in the image above.

A file navigation window will appear. You need to go and find the Ubuntu image you downloaded earlier on. (It is likely to be in your Downloads folder).

When you have found the file click on it and then click on “Open”.

Now all you have to do is click “Write”.

The files will be copied to the disk and you will be able to use it to boot Ubuntu in a live environment.

Turn Off Fast Boot 

You only have to do this on computers with a UEFI bootloader.

In order to speed up the boot time, Windows prevents booting from a USB until it has fully loaded. 

This obviously prevents Ubuntu booting from the USB drive which is of course a major issue.
You can turn off the fast boot option which resolves the problem.

Right click on the start menu in the bottom left corner and when the menu appears click on “Power Options”.

There are lots of power options within Windows 10.

The left hand side of the screen has a list of categories. Click on the option “Choose what the power button does” as shown in the image above.

Click the link which says "Change settings that are currently unavailable".

Scroll down the page until you see the option “Turn on fast start-up (recommended)” and turn it off 

by unchecking the box.

Click “Save Changes”.

Now you might be wondering why I am recommending turning off a recommended option.As previously mentioned you can’t boot from a USB drive whilst this option is checked. In addition to this I feel that the option is a bit cloak and dagger. What it says is that if you have the option checked your computer will load faster.

The trouble is that once your computer has finished booting it will still go and do all of the things that it missed out on whilst booting to make it load faster but it will do it quietly in the background. This will use up resources until it has completed. In reality your start screen might appear more quickly but it hasn’t really booted and quicker. 

How To Boot Into Live Ubuntu USB Environment (non-UEFI)

Make sure that the Ubuntu USB drive that your created previously is plugged into the computer.

If your computer has a standard BIOS simply reboot your computer and a menu should appear with an option to try Ubuntu.

A large dialogue window will appear with options to install Ubuntu and to Try Ubuntu. Click on the “Try Ubuntu” option.

Ubuntu will now be loaded as a live session. You can try out all of the features of Ubuntu but if you reboot all the changes will be lost.

How To Boot Into Live Ubuntu USB Environment (UEFI)

If your computer has EFI then read on.

If you read the guide showing how to create a Macrium boot menu option then simply reboot your computer and the following screen will appear.

When that screen appears click on the “Change defaults or choose other options” link at the bottom of the screen.

If you chose not to create the Macrium boot menu option hold down the shift key and reboot your computer. (Keep the shift key held down until a screen similar to the one below appears).

Each manufacturer has a different version of UEFI and so the menu options may be different. The important thing is that a blue screen with white writing appears.

You are basically looking for the option to boot from the USB drive and this may take some finding.
From the image above I chose the “Choose other options” menu item which produced the screen below.

I then clicked on the “Use a device” option which as you can see has the subtext “Use a USB drive, network connection or Windows recovery DVD”.

A list of devices will now appear. This isn’t the first time I have installed things on this computer and my EFI partition still has links to old Ubuntu versions. The important link on this screen is the “EFI USB Device” option.

Choose the EFI USB Device option.

An option should appear with an option to try Ubuntu.

Ubuntu should now boot from the USB drive.

A boot menu will appear. Choose the first menu option to try Ubuntu.

A large dialogue window will appear with options to install Ubuntu or to Try Ubuntu. Click on the “Try Ubuntu” option.

Ubuntu will now be loaded as a live session. You can try out all of the features of Ubuntu but if you reboot all the changes will be lost.


This guide shows you how to create a Ubuntu Linux USB drive using Windows 10. 

Hopefully you have found it useful but if you have any comments with regards to the procedure please leave them below as it will help me improve the tutorial for future users.

About the Author

Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.

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  1. Thanks for your detailed instructions.
    I followed your instructions on both this tutorial and 'How to install Ubuntu Linux alongside Windows 10 (UEFI)' but I can't get the USB port working.
    I have an Acer Aspire E 11 laptop. I entered to the Setup Utility and enabled F12, set the boot order with USB FDD on the top, use Rufus to create the ubuntu 14 iso (by the way, every time I tried to download Win32DiskImager my antivirus software - Avast - blocked the download). Also downloaded Macrium Reflect and followed your instructions to get the boot menu options. So far so good, but when I booted and select the USB from boot menu the system shows this message:
    'System doesn't have any USB boot option. Please select other boot option in Boot Manager Menu' and when the boot manager appears there are only windows and network boot options. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Solved!
      The thing was the USB stick. I changed it for other from Kingston and it worked smooth.


  3. Is there a way to completely boot ubuntu off of a usb and save your stuff, I want to know because the computers at my school have windows and I want to take my ubuntu with me instead of starting fresh everytime I want to use it :)

    1. I found a way but it's pretty dumb. Use this or another guide to create a live ubuntu usb drive, boot ubuntu (try ubuntu) from that drive, then click 'Install Ubuntu' on the process bar-thingy to the left and install onto ANOTHER usb drive.

      Yeah... It's pretty dumb.

  4. Might be a good idea to state that the format used should not be NTFS as is displayed in the image above

    1. why not? the disk format is NTFS so it makes sense that the USB drive ha s the same format

  5. Can I use Win32 Disk Imager to copy a 64 bit Linux version?


    1. Yes. Win32 Disk Imager can be used to write any ISO image to a USB

  6. Hi Gary, I'm aware that this is an old post, however, hopefully not too old for your response:

    So, I'm running W10, and want to disable "fast start-up" as per your instructions. The issue is that this option doesn't appear in the settings. And the reason, I have discovered is typically MS: because I have disabled hibernation - because I'm running a desktop, so why would I need hibernation? So, because I have disabled hibernation, MS somehow believes that I won't want to boot into another device. Obvious, right? Genius. I know.

    So, Does this mean that I have to enable hibernation to boot into linux? Might there be a registry tweak you know of (I am aware that windows isn't necessarily your native habitat, yet you seem familiar enough to know your way around. Enough that you might know some shortcuts)

    Kind regards

    1. I'm in the same position. Though I don't remember disabling hibernation it's completely possible. Do I need to enable/re-enable it so that I can turn off fast start-up? Thanks in advance.

    2. That is very odd. do you see the fast boot option in the power options screen at all. Note that there is a link at the top which says "change settings that are currently unavailable". click this first and fast boot should be enabled for you to uncheck.

    3. Well it wasn't there. But after re-enabling hibernation through an elevated command prompt I was able to see fast startup again. So either disabling hibernate also disables fast startup of disabling hibernate disables the option to turn off fast startup

    4. Above the power and sleep buttons and lid settings options, there should be a "change settings that are unavailable" option, which i believe needs admin privileges to access. from there you can change fast start / hibernation/ sleep etc...

  7. win32 made my 32gb usb into a 2.19mb, at first i thought the problem was with the usb stick, so i tried again with another usb stick and the same thing happened. What did I do wrong, and how can I fix my damaged usb?

    1. This guide shows how to reformat your USB drive to its full size again.

  8. To UNKNOWN with the 32gb usb stick being stuck at 2.19mb.

    Open disk management, and check to see what "Disk" your USB stick is. (such as Disk 1 or Disk 2 in the left hand pane.)

    Then open a command prompt, and type: diskpart
    (this will allow you to make changes to your disks partitions)

    Next type: select disk "disk number of your usb"
    (this will select the usb stick, be CERTAIN that you have typed the proper disk number that is related to your usb stick)

    Next type: Clean
    (this will delete all partitions on the usb stick)

    Next type: create partition primary
    (this will turn all unallocated space on the usb stick into usable media again, regaining all 32GB of space in your situation)

    Then in the command prompt, type: exit

    Reopen disk management to verify your space is back on the usb stick.

  9. Looked good for a while but got no further than "Ubuntu" and three red dots out of five.

  10. Never mind above comment. Tried without install worked, so I tried install again and that worked too yay.

  11. Exactly the same happened to me. Open command prompt as administrator then type
    DISKPART>list disk

    Disk ##### Status. Size. Free. Dyn. Got.
    ----------- -------------- -------- ------ --- ----
    Disk 0. Online. 1683 GB 0 B *
    Disk 1. Online. 29 GB 29 GB

    DISKPART>select disk 1

    Disk 1 is now the selected disk

    DISKPART>list partition

    Partition 1: ##########WHATEVER########

    DISKPART>delete partition 1


    DISKPART>create partition primary

    DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.

    DISKPART>select partition 1

    Partition 1 is now the selected partition.


    DiskPart marked the current partition as active.

    DISKPART>FORMAT fs=fat32

    19 percent completed

    Anyway. Got my USB drives back. Hope you do too

  12. Hi there - I followed these steps, changed the boot order by pressing F2 and setting it to boot first off the the USB. However, nothing happens and it just goes straight to Windows. Any ideas?

    1. When in Windows. Hold down the shift key and choose to reboot whilst holding down the key. It will enter the UEFI boot screen.

  13. Hi all

    I have followed the steps and I cannot get this to work.

    I tried adjusting the boot menu so that USBs are booted first. However it appears to still ignore the USB and boot right into Windows.

    I installed the Macrium Boot menu, the problem with it is that it only visible for like 1 second or less before it automatically boots into Windows, too quickly for me to click on the menu option. Does anyone have an idea? Is there a way to adjust the Macrium boot menu so that it does not auto-boot, or at least increase the amount of time before it boots automatically to windows? Even 5 seconds would be enough time...

  14. WHile writting to USB Flash Drive through win32 imager, it stopped responding... i am not abe to write iso file neither in DVD nor in USB Flash Drive & Now USB Flash Drive not Working

  15. My USB drive will not show up. Not sure what I did because I followed all the instructions. Someone please let me know if you find a solution.

  16. Hello guys, first of all thank you Gary for this set of detailed instructions for Ubuntu dual boot with win10. I tried for about a week to setup linux alongside in my clean new Acer Aspire V15 with clean new Win10. I followed the steps above and have to add, that on my laptop (and probably other new models that has no option to turn off Secure boot in BIOS/UEFI setup), besides the fastboot switching off, it is necessary to do more setup around secureboot. In BIOS/UEFI setup it is necessary to add UEFI files as trusted. Before that, to get to this option in Security tab of BIOS/UEFI setup, it is necessary to create a supervisor password under this tab. After setting password, the option of adding trusted efi files is accessible. I opened the "Select an UEFI file as trusted for executing: ". In my case when I entered the UEFI file "browser", a simple CLI like browsing in internal HDD files was opened. There under HDD0 -> -> -> are efi files e.g. grubx64.efi. I have chosen this file to be added to the trusted efi boot files. After this I could see at startup under (blue startup screen with bootable systems) "Change defaults or choose other options" -> “Choose other options” -> “Use a device” -> list of bootable EFI disks a new item "linuxgrub". Selecting this starts my installed Ubuntu OS. Without these steps I was not able to see any option for starting Ubuntu. As I said at the beginning, I tried for about week to somehow workaround my problem and could not find any effective help for users with the newest UEFI PCs having no option to switch off the Secure boot. A set of screenshots is available if anybody needs to clarify the steps.

    1. hey man, i think you are describing exactly my problem, i just cant use a device for starting ubuntu. would it be possible for you to give me the screenshots so i can try your steps?

      greetings Sebastian

    2. when i try to write to my usb using win32 disk imager i get the error "the process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process". I am using an hp usb 16gb v125w that does not say it supports windows 10 which is what i am running, the highest is 7. could this be the problem?

  17. when i try to click write while using the win32 disk imager, it gives me the error "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another file"
    I am trying to use a hp usb drive 16gb v125w. The usb drive does not say it supports windows 10, the highest is 7. Could this be the reason for the problem i am getting?

  18. I am not able to get the option "Use a Device" in the UEFI Menu (I have a UEFI Setup). Is there a way around this or a way to restore this option? I have already disabled fast startup and rebooted multiple times and havn't been able to see this option. Thanks in advance.

  19. I highly recommend using Rufus to create the bootable USB. Great, free, portable with no installer to take people through the steps of... It's the best.

  20. Hi Gary,

    Thanks for all your guidance with this. I've followed your notes through the whole process (except I downloaded Linux Mint 17.3) to create a USB stick. But something is not quite right.

    When I start up from the USB I get a black screen (like the cmd prompt) not the blue screen with white writing. As it loads it flashes up "ACPI PCC Probe failed" and some other stuff that disappears too quickly to read. It then offers three choices, (1) Linux Mint, (2) Linux Mint (Compatibility mode), (3) a message to "check the integrity of the medium".

    One option (I forget which) produced several cmd-style screens of dense type among which I noticed one line that read "Starting Restore Card ... [fail]".

    Both (1) and (2) do load Linux but I didn't investigate if it works properly.

  21. Hi Gary,

    I followed the above procedure but I didn't found any disk image file in my downloads section there was only ubuntu winrar file than i extracted it and in grub folder which was inside boot folder i found efi.img which was disk image file I opened it in win32.

    Further when while rebooting my pc after selecting efi usb disk option there was no option like try ubuntu instead boot manager window appeared.

    help me to over this issue Thanx in advance :)

  22. I downloaded the Ubuntu 16.04 from the link, but somehow a 4980KB file with the name "ubuntu-16.04-desktop-amd64" is downloaded. And the download for the 1.4GB Ubuntu is still going on. Now can you tell what is that 4MB file actually?

  23. The type of file downloaded is an ISO type not the DiskImage one shown in your uploaded image above. Is it okay if that ISO file is opened with the Win32 DiskImager?

  24. Hi, I used the Universal USB installer to create a bootable usb drive with ubuntu and it was quite easy. This is the link with the instructions:

  25. Hello Gary,

    Excellent tutorial. You should be a professor.

    Eric from Belgium.

  26. Hello, Gary,

    Thanks so much for the easy-to-follow explanations with screen snapshots. It was so simple to understand, even for a beginner. In addition, the content was up-to-date, so I could successfully dual boot Linux on a Windows 10. I am overseas, so it's hard to find technical support in English. Other Internet instructions are a little out-of-date. I couldn't have done it without you.


    Sarah from Korea

  27. hey
    first off all i would like to thank you for the great job you've done with this tutorial, it's really simple and easy to understand, but i have a question what if i don't want to use the usb everytime i want to boot ubuntu what if i want to download it on my hard drive and get the option every time i boot if i want to use win. or ubuntu is it possible ? thank you

  28. Worked great. Good article. Tyvm.


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