Install Linux Mint on a USB Flash Drive

Edited by Jay, Maria

If you're a Windows user who is toying with the idea of running Linux Mint, you can create a bootable USB drive and test it out on your Windows PC first. If you like what you see, you can take it further and install Linux on its own partition down the road.

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Linux offers a wealth of options for a Windows power user seeking to escape the ever-changing landscape that is Windows 10. Maybe you're fed up with the spying, the user interface, or the fact that Windows has transitioned to a service rather than an all-in-one OS like it used to be. Whatever the reason, Linux is an excellent alternative for those looking for something different than Windows.

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In the following VisiHow tutorial, we're going to go through the steps on how to create a bootable Linux Mint USB flash drive. We recommend using a USB drive for testing out Linux Mint as it's quick enough to get a feel for how the OS will function.

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Download Linux Mint

For this guide, we went with Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia (Cinnamon desktop), but you're free to choose and desktop you wish (MATE, KDE, Xfce, etc.).

  1. 1
    Visit the following link, scroll down the page and click on the download link (32 or 64 bit) depending on your system.
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  2. 2
    On the download page, choose a mirror link closest to your location
    .
    This will ensure that your download will be as fast as possible.
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  3. 3
    When prompted with the open/save dialog, select "Save File", then click "OK". The download may take a while, as the distribution ISO is 1.8 GB.
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Format USB Drive

  1. 1
    Connect the USB drive you plan on using to your computer
    .
    Next, open a Windows Explorer window, navigate to the flash drive, then right-click and select "Format".
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  2. 2
    Once the Format options are open, select either FAT 32 or NTFS as the File system, place a checkmark next to "Quick Format", then click "Start".
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  3. 3
    When the Warning pops-up, select "OK" to continue.
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  4. 4
    Once your USB drive is formatted, click "OK" to close the dialog window.
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Download YUMI for Windows

Although we used YUMI - Multiboot USB creator for this tutorial, there are other free options available; ImgBurn, UNetbootin, and LinuxLive USB Creator to name a few.

  1. 1
    Visit the following [ link], scroll down the page and click on the "Download YUMI button (not the beta version).
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  • 2
    When the open/save window appears, click "Save File" to begin the download.
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  • Use YUMI to Create a Bootable Linux Mint USB Drive

    Now that you have YUMI (or a similar program) downloaded, it's time to create your bootable USB drive.

    1. 1
      Navigate to the folder that stores your browser's downloads (download folder in most cases)
      .
      Locate the YUMI installer, then right-click and "Run as administrator".
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    2. 2
      If you see the following UAC prompt, click "Yes" to continue
      .
      If you don't see the UAC window, proceed to the next step.
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    3. 3
      Read through the License Agreement, then when you're ready, click "I Agree".
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    4. 4
      Now it's time to choose the USB drive you plan on using
      .
      Use the drop-down to find and select it.
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    5. 5
      Next, use the drop-down to select the distribution you're using
      .
      In our case, it's Linux Mint. With the distro selected, click the "Browse" button.
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    6. 6
      Navigate to the location where you downloaded the Linux Mint ISO earlier in the first section of this guide
      .
      In our example, it was in the "Downloads" folder. Click "Open" once you have the ISO selected.
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    7. 7
      You can set a persistent file size for storing changes, by moving the horizontal slider (optional)
      .
      Once you're ready, click the "Create" button.
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    8. 8
      When the confirmation window appears, read it carefully, then click "Yes" to create your bootable USB drive.
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    9. 9
      Once the process is completed, click "Next".
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    10. 10
      Next, you'll see a dialog asking you if want to add any additional distributions to the drive
      .
      For our example, we selected "No".
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    11. 11
      With the process complete, click "Finish" to close the window. You've just created a bootable USB drive for Linux Mint
      .
      You can use this on any computer that will boot from USB.
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    Change the Boot Order on your Computer

    To be able to boot from your USB drive, you'll have to change the boot order within the BIOS settings on your system. This process differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the basic premise is the same.

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    1. 1
      In our case (using a Clevo laptop), we had to press the F2 key during the bootup phase. You may have to perform a quick search to find the exact method for entering the BIOS of your system.
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    2. 2
      Once you're in the BIOS, look for the "Boot" menu
      .
      This may be in the advanced section.
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    3. 3
      Once you're viewing the Boot menu, use the arrow keys to select the USB drive that you just used in the earlier section
      .
      You'll notice instructions somewhere on the screen informing you how to move items up and down, as well as saving.
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    4. 4
      When you've changed the boot order with the USB drive first, use the keys designated to "Save and Reset"
      .
      in our example, that is the F4 key. When you're prompted with the "Save configuration and reset" dialog, press the "Enter" key to save and reset your machine. Your system should now reset and boot into Linux Mint.
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    ** Please Note** If you can't boot from your USB drive, go back and try a different Flash drive. For whatever reason, Some USB drive manufacturers don't work well when creating bootable drives.

    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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    Article Info

    Categories : Use Windows 10 | Use Linux Mint | Software

    Recent edits by: Jay

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