Rufus is one of the most popular utilities for creating bootable USB drives. The main downside stopping it from taking the undisputed top spot is the fact that it’s only available on Windows.

Seeing as how the dev doesn’t plan to port Rufus to other platforms anytime soon, what options do you have on Linux? Well, plenty actually.



We’ll kick off the list with our tool of choice, Ventoy. It’s free, open-source, and very easy to operate.

The way it works is, you install Ventoy on a USB stick or any other storage device that you want to make bootable. Ventoy formats the device into 2 main partitions. 

The first is the exFAT partition that you can use to store files. All you need to do is copy the ISOs onto this partition. It supports other file formats like WIM, IMG, VHD, and EFI as well. Ventoy will scan the device recursively for such files and let you select the image to boot from. 

The second partition holds Ventoy files and is used as the EFI System Partition (ESP).

Ventoy supports over 90% of the distros listed on DistroWatch, and it works for other platforms like Windows and macOS as well.

Aside from the ability to create a multi-boot device, Ventoy’s main selling points are its compatibility and ease of use. 


balenaEtcher, previously just called Etcher, is a popular cross-platform Rufus alternative. It has a beginner-friendly UI with a three-step creation process. You select the image on the first page, select the drive on the second, and flash on the third. 

Etcher hides system drives by default and warns you if required so you don’t unintentionally format your HDD. It also validates the device after flashing to ensure the flash completed successfully and will work without issues.

Etcher’s compatibility may not be as great as Ventoy’s, but the thing about tools like this is, even the tool with the best compatibility won’t necessarily work for everyone. Alternatives are important. If you want a tool with an eye-catching and intuitive GUI, Etcher can be a good option.


UNetbootin (Universal Netboot Installer) is another popular Rufus alternative for creating bootable Linux drives. You can select the distribution to flash from inside the app and it’ll directly download the necessary files.

This is a convenient feature, but we’ve found that the most recent distro versions are generally not available. So, if you need to flash the latest versions, you’ll have to manually download the ISO and use the disk image option instead.

The hard disk install mode can also be handy. It lets you perform a frugal install with which you can boot from a live environment (similar to as if you’d booted from a live USB). The only difference is that the environment is loaded from the hard disk instead. 

You can also use this mode to perform a full standard install without a USB. This process is complicated though and calls for some extra partitioning work on the user’s part.

CLI Tools like dd

dd, often called Disk Destroyer, is a command-line tool for moving data. It’s a versatile tool that can be used for various purposes from copying data and zero-filling disks to creating bootable disks.

It’s fairly simple to use too. You specify the ISO path with the input file (if) option and the USB’s path with the output file (of) option. We also recommend using the status flag to display a progress bar.

dd if=<path to iso> of=/dev/<drive> status=progress
dd if=ubuntu22.04-desktop-amd64.iso of=/dev/sda status=progress

This works because ISOs are already processed using utilities like isohybrid, which means usually all you need to do is move the contents to the device. You can use most other tools that move data (e.g., cat ubuntu.iso > /dev/sda) to create a bootable device in this manner. It’s just that dd is the norm. 

Startup Disk Creator

If you’re trying to create a bootable Ubuntu drive, you can use the built-in Startup Disk Creator utility. It’s a simple tool that has shipped with Ubuntu since version 8.04 and is specifically made for flashing Ubuntu ISOs.

The process to use it is the same as Etcher, UNetbootin, or any other similar tool. Simply launch the program, select the ISO and the drive, and create the startup disk.

Anup Thapa

Senior Writer

Anup Thapa is a Linux enthusiast with an extensive background in computer hardware and networking. His goal is to effectively communicate technical concepts in a simplified form understandable by new Linux users. To this end, he mainly writes beginner-friendly tutorials and troubleshooting guides. Outside of work, he enjoys reading up on a range of topics, traveling, working out, and MOBAs.