Create USB Start Up Disk In Fedora from an ISO

Written by James McDonald

January 2, 2013

There are several utilities to transfer a Live CD Image to  USB  (usb-creator, liveusb-creator, unetbootin).

And they fall under the heading of “Live CD to USB Drive Transfer Tools”

I believe these do a lot of unpacking and reconfiguration to get the USB key to boot into a Live Desktop environment.

But sometimes you just want the image that you have in the ISO to transfer directly to the USB key without a heap of changes. Here is the dd method from the Fedora 17 documentation.

So  an install CD stays an install CD it doesn’t become a LiveUSB install. Making Fedora USB Media with dd

Warning — These instructions could destroy data

When you perform this procedure any data on the USB flash drive is destroyed with no warning. Make sure that you specify the correct USB flash drive, and make sure that this flash drive does not contain any data that you want to keep.
  1. Plug in your USB flash drive.
  2. Become root:
    su -
  3. Your flash drive must have a single partition with a vfat file system. To determine how it is formatted, find the name of this partition and the device itself by running dmesg shortly after connecting the drive. The device name (similar to /dev/sdc) and the partition name (similar to /dev/sdc1) both appear in several lines towards the end of the output.
  4. Use the partition name to ensure that the file system type of the USB flash drive is vfat.
    # blkid partition
    You should now see a message similar to:

    LABEL="LIVE" UUID="6676-27D3" TYPE="vfat"
    If TYPE is anything other than vfat (for example, TYPE=”iso9660″), clear the first blocks of the USB flash drive:
    # dd if=/dev/zero of=partition bs=1M count=100
  5. Use the dd command to transfer the boot ISO image to the USB device:
    # dd if=path/image_name.iso of=device
    where path/image_name.iso is the boot ISO image file that you downloaded and device is the device name for the USB flash drive. Ensure you specify the device name, not the partition name. For example:
    # dd if=~/Download/Fedora-17-x86_64-DVD.iso of=/dev/sdc


While doing the above I made a mistake on creating the fat32 usb partition and deleted my /boot partiton. I recovered using testdisk.



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