Linux: How To Create a USB Debian Installation Flash Drive

In this tutorial I'll show you how to create a USB drive which can be used as an installation media to install Debian Linux.

You will need a computer which is already running Linux and a USB flash drive of size at least 256 MB which we will prepare as our installation media.

Insert the USB drive into the computer running Linux and make sure it gets detect by the Linux Kernel. You can check if the USB device got detect or not by running the following command:


and you should see something like this:

[143981.321725] sd 8:0:0:0: [sdb] .321725 512-byte hardware sectors (1024 MB)
[143981.522718] sd 8:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[143981.522719] sd 8:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk

Now download the boot.img.gz file from
here for i386 or from here for amd64 and run the following command:

zcat boot.img.gz > /dev/sdX

where sdX – is your USB device name (sdb in my example)

Till now we have just prepared the USB drive to boot but we still need an installation image which we can use to install Debian Linux. Download the Net Install ISO image of size 150-180MB from here.

Now all you need to do is to copy the downloaded ISO image to your USB drive. To do this run the following command:

mount /dev/sdX /mnt
cp netinst.iso /mnt
umount /dev/sdX

That is it. Just plugin the USB drive to the computer on which you would like to install Debian Linux and set the BIOS to boot from USB drive.

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