Booting to a USB drive is basically the same as booting to a Ubuntu CD/DVD, except more convenient since disc media is becoming less common these days. Follow along with us below as we show you how to use free software called UNetbootin to create our bootable flash drive.

In this guide, we'll show you how to create a bootable Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa USB stick on Microsoft Windows 10. When you boot to the USB stick, you'll be able to install Ubuntu 20.04 on the computer or use the "Try Ubuntu" option to boot into Ubuntu without actually installing the operating system on the machine.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to create a bootable Ubuntu 20.04 USB stick on MS Windows
Creating a bootable Ubuntu USB stick on MS Windows
Creating a bootable Ubuntu USB stick on MS Windows
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Microsoft Windows 10
Software UNetbootin
Other Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa ISO file.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Download Ubuntu 20.04 ISO file


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This guide assumes that you already have the Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa ISO file downloaded on your system. This file is used to install Ubuntu, and will need to be installed onto the flash drive to create a bootable Ubuntu environment.

If you still need to download Ubuntu, head over to our Ubuntu 20.04 download page and select the ISO you want. If in doubt, the first option, "Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Desktop" is the default version and a safe bet to use.

Create a bootable USB stick with UNetbootin

  1. Start off by downloading UNetbootin for Windows to your PC. You should end up with an executable file like unetbootin-windows-677.exe, though your version number may vary.
  2. Open up the downloaded file and select the "Diskimage" radio button.
    Select Diskimage
    Select Diskimage


  3. Then, click on the three dots to browse for the Ubuntu 20.04 ISO file you downloaded earlier. Select the file and click "Open."
    Browse to and select the Ubuntu 20.04 ISO file
    Browse to and select the Ubuntu 20.04 ISO file
  4. Now you can select the correct USB drive you wish to install Ubuntu to, then click OK to proceed.
    Select the drive letter for the USB drive you are installing to
    Select the drive letter for the USB drive you are installing to
  5. UNetbootin will now begin extracting the contents of the ISO file and installing Ubuntu to the flash drive. Then, it will install a bootloader which makes it possible to boot to the USB stick. This will all happen automatically and you won't need to interact further with the program.
    UNetbootin begins installing Ubuntu 20.04 to the USB stick
    UNetbootin begins installing Ubuntu 20.04 to the USB stick


    It will take a few minutes for the process to complete, but that's all there is to it. You can now use the USB stick to install Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa or choose "Try Ubuntu" to boot into a temporary environment.
    The Ubuntu 20.04 USB stick has been created and is ready to be used
    The Ubuntu 20.04 USB stick has been created and is ready to be used

Conclusion

In this article, we learned how to make a Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa bootable USB stick on Microsoft Windows 10. We used UNetbootin to accomplish this task, though there are other programs suited for the job as well. UNetbootin is our recommendation due to its lightweight nature and no-hassle graphical interface.

You may have to instruct your computer to boot to the USB drive by going into the boot menu and selecting the drive from the list, or by loading into BIOS and changing the boot order so that the USB stick is booted to first.

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