ISO images are normally used to distribute operating system installer. These images will then need to be burned into external drive such as USB stick or portable hard drive to then be booted from to install the operating system.

There are many Linux tools that can be used for this purpose and dd is probably the most universally available for Linux. dd is a command line tool and is installed by default in most Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS or SUSE.

Steps to burn ISO file to USB stick in Linux:

  1. Launch a terminal application.
  2. Check if your image is in the correct iso9660 format and is bootable.
    $ file Downloads/ubuntu-21.04-desktop-amd64.iso 
    Downloads/ubuntu-21.04-desktop-amd64.iso: ISO 9660 CD-ROM filesystem data (DOS/MBR boot sector) 'Ubuntu 21.04 amd64' (bootable)
  3. Check for currently available block devices.
    $ lsblk
    NAME   MAJ:MIN RM  SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
    loop0    7:0    0 55.4M  1 loop /snap/core18/1997
    loop1    7:1    0  219M  1 loop /snap/gnome-3-34-1804/66
    loop2    7:2    0 64.8M  1 loop /snap/gtk-common-themes/1514
    loop3    7:3    0 32.3M  1 loop /snap/snapd/11588
    loop4    7:4    0   51M  1 loop /snap/snap-store/518
    loop5    7:5    0 65.1M  1 loop /snap/gtk-common-themes/1515
    sda      8:0    0   20G  0 disk 
    sdb      8:16   0   20G  0 disk 
    ├─sdb1   8:17   0    1M  0 part 
    ├─sdb2   8:18   0  513M  0 part /boot/efi
    └─sdb3   8:19   0 19.5G  0 part /
    sr0     11:0    1 1024M  0 rom
  4. Insert your USB drive or stick and wait for a few seconds for it to be detected by the system.
  5. Check for the device name of your newly inserted usb drive.
    $ lsblk
    NAME   MAJ:MIN RM  SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
    loop0    7:0    0 55.4M  1 loop /snap/core18/1997
    loop1    7:1    0  219M  1 loop /snap/gnome-3-34-1804/66
    loop2    7:2    0 64.8M  1 loop /snap/gtk-common-themes/1514
    loop3    7:3    0 32.3M  1 loop /snap/snapd/11588
    loop4    7:4    0   51M  1 loop /snap/snap-store/518
    loop5    7:5    0 65.1M  1 loop /snap/gtk-common-themes/1515
    sda      8:0    0   20G  0 disk 
    sdb      8:16   0   20G  0 disk 
    ├─sdb1   8:17   0    1M  0 part 
    ├─sdb2   8:18   0  513M  0 part /boot/efi
    └─sdb3   8:19   0 19.5G  0 part /
    sdc      8:32   1 58.6G  0 disk 
    ├─sdc1   8:33   1  2.5G  0 part /media/user/Ubuntu 20.04 LTS amd64
    └─sdc2   8:34   1  3.9M  0 part /media/user/1079-24A3
    sr0     11:0    1 1024M  0 rom  

  6. Make sure all the partitions of your USB drive is not mounted.
    $ sudo umount /dev/sdc1 /dev/sdc2
    [sudo] password for user:
  7. Copy the ISO image to your thumb drive using dd.
    $ sudo dd if=Downloads/ubuntu-21.04-desktop-amd64.iso of=/dev/sdc conv=fdatasync
    5505348+0 records in
    5505348+0 records out
    2818738176 bytes (2.8 GB, 2.6 GiB) copied, 628.961 s, 4.5 MB/s
  8. Check if ISO image successfully copied to your USB drive.
    $ sudo blkid /dev/sdc
    /dev/sdc: BLOCK_SIZE="2048" UUID="2021-04-20-11-16-16-00" LABEL="Ubuntu 21.04 amd64" TYPE="iso9660" PTUUID="af8737a9-1e23-4373-b87a-c8b16199d461" PTTYPE="gpt"
  9. Disconnect your USB drive from your machine.
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