HOWTO create a Debian USB installation flash drive

Hi all,

a few days ago I had to install Debian (my favourite GNU/Linux distribution) on a friend’s laptop. One way to do this is using a small USB flash drive.

The required steps to create a Debian USB installation flash drive are the following:

  1. Get the boot image (boot.img.gz file) of your architecture (e.g. i386) from installer-i386_boot.img.gz. You many need another architecture look stable_main_architecture.
  2. Insert your USB stick.
  3. (Optional) Unmount your USB stick if it is automatically mounted.
  4. Prepare USB stick (will erase data): 
    1. $> zcat boot.img.gz > /dev/sdX
  5. Unplug and plug the usb stick (or just mount the disk:
    1. $> mount /dev/sdX /var/mytest
  6. Download the Net Install ISO image (size ~160 MB) from (select netinst image) or the Businesscard image (size ~40 MB) from (select businesscard image)
  7. Copy the downloaded ISO image to your USB stick:
    1. $> mount /dev/sdX /var/mytest
    2. $> cp <path/to/iso/image> /var/mytest
    3. $> umount /dev/sdX
  8. Ready 🙂

Now you can plugin this usb stick to the computer on which you would like to install Debian stable and set the BIOS to boot from USB stick.

Adrianos Dadis.

Democracy Requires Free Software.


About Adrianos Dadis

Building Big Data & Stream processing solutions in many business domains. Interested in distributed systems and enterprise integration.
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