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Win32DiskImager makes an Ubuntu family USB boot drive in Windows


A version with screenshots is published now, because it is needed ...

Win32DiskImager is particularly good for pre-release testing and new releases, when the standard tools like Unetbootin might not be ready (if the configuration of the booting has been changed since the previous release).

It is possible and easy to copy/flash/clone an ISO file to a mass storage device, typically a USB pendrive. It works the same way with a memory card or an external hard disk drive or SSD. The method under the hood is the same as is described in the wiki page about mkusb.

This method works in Windows XP, Windows 7, 8, 10. I have not tested in Vista, but I am almost 100% sure that it works in that version too.

Graphical user interface tools in Windows

Download an Ubuntu ISO file

Download an ISO file with standard Ubuntu or one of the many Ubuntu flavours, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Gnome ... using your web browser or download a torrent file and get the iso file faster that way.

How can I find all Ubuntu iso files and other images?

Download and install Win32DiskImager and md5summer

Download the following help programs

Check the md5sums versus the lists at

Install the programs and run them (which is straight-forward in Windows).

Screenshots and comments

Start and overview


The window at the top left corner MD5sums: Generating... is the md5summer window. It helps, but is not necessary.

Ignore this warning

There can be a warning, that you need to format the disk in drive ... (at 1)

This is because Windows might not recognize the file system on the pendrive. But do not worry! The process to copy/flash/clone the iso file will overwrite the drive anyway, so it is completely meaningless to format it.

Standard live drive or persistent live drive

Decide if you want

  • a standard live drive (maybe 95% of the cases) to test, install or repair Ubuntu, or
  • a persistent live drive (maybe 5% of the cases) to install software, save files and make it persist after shutdown and reboot. This makes it easy to run Ubuntu without touching the internal drive and to travel with your Ubuntu system in a USB pendrive and borrow computers.

New feature in Ubuntu 19.10 makes it easy to create a persistent live drive

If you want a persistent live drive you should edit the iso file before cloning it. This is described at the following link


If you want a standard live drive, please continue directly and select which iso file to clone.

Select file

Select the ISO file that you want to use in the Win32 Disk Imager window. Click on the symbol, and get the file selector (in the right bottom corner). The default is to show image (IMG) files. ISO files are a special kind of 'synthetic image files'. They will be displayed when you select all kinds of files *.* (at 2).


Check device and Write

You can tick the box at the MD5 hash and check that it matches the value from Ubuntuhashes (instead of using md5summer).


Check very carefully, that the device (F: in the picture) is really the USB pendrive, that you want to use. The best method is to have only the intended target USB drive connected to avoid the risk to overwrite a USB hard disk drive with all the family pictures and video clips !!!


When you are sure, you can click on the Write button to start the process.


Confirm overwrite alias Final Warning


Progress view

This demo uses a Sandisk Cruzer Blade 4 GB as target drive. It is slow (5 MB/s) but reliable for booting. A USB 3 pendrive in a USB 2 port can be 6 times faster due to faster flash memory. See this link.


Work done :-) Remember to eject the pendrive safely

It is important to flush the buffers, to finish writing before pulling the pendrive. This is done with 'Eject safely'. It is also done at a correct shutdown or reboot.


Good luck and welcome to the linux world!

Re-use the pendrive

In order to re-use the pendrive after installing Ubuntu, just format it completely (including MBR) using gparted in Ubuntu or Disk Management in Windows. See details in this link.


You find more information at the following wiki page (and links from it)

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Win32DiskImager/iso2usb (last edited 2019-11-07 10:36:50 by localhost)