Create Ubuntu Live USB in Windows

If you’ve ever had trouble installing Ubuntu because you couldn’t use a CD (because of a bad CD, a thoroughly malicious drive or, as in my case, a small-form CD stuck in your slot-load mechanism), you might want to read this. This mini-tutorial (slash how-to) is going to show you a clean and concise, no-BS mechanism for installing Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron without the need for a CD or a working Linux installation. I didn’t discover this method. Just came across it somewhere and can’t find the link in Google. So, here it goes. (I’m assuming your USB is F: drive)

  1. Get syslinux(this will allow you to make your USB active and install a bootloader on it – I used version 3.81).
  2. Format your (700M+) USB drive with a FAT32 filesystem.
  3. Extract syslinux, go to the win32 folder in the extracted files and execute (from ‘cmd’): syslinux.exe -ma f:  … ‘m’ installs the bootloader and ‘a’ makes it active.
  4. Get Ubuntu 8.04 iso image and use an un-archiver to extract it. Winrar works for me.
  5. Copy all extracted files to f:
  6. Copy f:/isolinux/* to f:/*
  7. Rename isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg
  8. Reboot and boot from your USB drive (you may need to change BIOS settings for this).

Voila! You have Ubuntu working.

Note: Ubuntu 9.10 didn’t work for me. I got to the X part but only a “working” cursor showed with no progress. So, let me know if you get it working with this method.