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SDB:Live USB stick

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This page explains how to create a bootable USB stick from a LiveDVD image file in a Linux system.

There are dedicated articles about how to Create a Live USB stick using Microsoft Windows™ and Create a Live USB stick using Mac OS X

Version: 12.2+This applies to openSUSE 12.2 and later.
Warning The instructions on this page will destroy all data currently on the USB stick being used. Please be certain it does not contain important information.
Warning Do not try to apply procedures found on the internet for other distributions to convert the images into bootable sticks (unetbootin). Doing that will break the images. The openSUSE images are already prepared for being used directly on usb sticks, and can persist filesystem changes without further steps.

Download the latest openSUSE ISO file

Official URL: http://software.opensuse.org/

Backup your USB drive

You could, if you prefer, make a backup image of the stick prior to using it for installation, with dd, and recover it after the installation. [Detailed instructions needed]

Using SUSE Studio Image Writer

Install ImageWriter for openSUSE

Install SUSE Imagewriter with 1-Click Install

For openSUSE Leap 42.1: 1-click installation of Imagewriter

For openSUSE 13.2: 1-click installation of Imagewriter

For openSUSE 13.1: 1-click installation of Imagewriter

For openSUSE Tumbleweed: 1-click installation of Imagewriter

Or you can use this command as a root to install Imagewriter.

# zypper install imagewriter

Write ISO to USB

Studioimagewriter root.png
  • Start SUSE Studio Imagewriter from the start menu.
  • The image writer needs root permissions. So enter the password for root when prompted.

Studioimgwriter 1.png
  • Open a file manager application.
  • Navigate in the file manager to the downloaded ISO file.

Studioimgwriter 2.png
  • Drag&Drop it to the Imagewriter.

Studioimgwriter 3.png
  • Plug your USB memory device in your computer.
  • Select it from the dropdown menu at the bottom corner of Imagewriter.

Studioimgwriter 4.png Confirm overwriting your data on the USB device by clicking OK.

Studioimgwriter 5.png Writing the data takes a few minutes. After that your openSUSE bootable USB device is ready!

Using live-fat-stick, live-grub-stick, live-usb-gui (Command line or GUI way)

If you'd rather not reformat the USB device and keep the ability of putting files on it and accessible by other operating systems, you have the option of using the live-fat-stick or live-fat-stick scripts from command line or live-usb-gui point and click graphical interface. You can put ISO on vfat partitioned USB stick or hard disk.

On openSUSE you can install the packages via 1-click from here live-fat-stick, live-grub-stick and live-usb-gui, if you are running any other distribution, get the scripts from here and make it executable(as root, with chmod +x /usr/bin/live-fat-stick) after copying it to /usr/bin/, make sure you have syslinux and gpart installed before running it.

Run the following as root (with su -, not using sudo) in terminal to get the USB device path:

# live-fat-stick -l

Run the following to make USB stick with vfat(fat32) partition bootable with iso copied on it:

# live-fat-stick --suse /path/to/openSUSE-filename.iso /dev/sdXY

To make USB device bootable with EFI(Secure boot capabilities) wiping all data from it, run:

# live-fat-stick --isohybrid /path/to/openSUSE-filename.iso /dev/sdX

For more help, run:

# live-fat-stick -h

Use live-grub-stick command in place of live-fat-stick as shown in above examples if you wish to create bootable usb sticks formatted in any file systems supported by grub2, for example you can use ext3/ntfs formatted stick to create bootable USB from standard openSUSE installation iso, this allows the use of remaining space for putting other iso images or data.

Multiple iso images from multiple distributions can be added to the USB device with vfat partition when not using "isohybrid" option, boot menu will offer a choice of distribution to boot from. Scripts does not format or remove data from the device.

Using commandline tools

Download LiveCD ISO

Download the installation image of your choice from http://software.opensuse.org/.

Verify the integrity of a downloaded image:

$ gpg --recv-keys 9C800ACA
$ wget http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/13.2/iso/openSUSE-13.2-GNOME-Live-x86_64.iso.asc
$ gpg -a openSUSE-13.2-GNOME-Live-x86_64.iso.asc

Find Block Device

After inserting your USB stick, you can find out what device it is:

# grep -Ff <(hwinfo --disk --short) <(hwinfo --usb --short)

Write ISO to USB

Finally, once you've found your block device, write the image to it. Point 'dd' to the full path such as '/home/user/Downloads/openSUSE-13.2-GNOME-Live-x86_64.iso' or change directory (example: cd ./Downloads) to where the image is contained.

# umount /dev/sdX
# dd if=/path/to/downloaded.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=4M

Optional steps

How to recover the USB stick for "normal" use again

After system installation, you may want to reuse the stick as you would normally to write things on it. In that case you have to reformat it. Often people complain that Windows fails to do it.

Typically, you would simply start fdisk:

  # fdisk /dev/sdX

and select:

  o   create a new empty DOS partition table

and then:

  n   add a new partition

(primary, number 1, default size to use the entire device)

  t   change a partition's system id

Use type 6, FAT16

  w   write table to disk and exit


  # mkfs.msdos -n SOME_NAME /dev/sdX1

This last step is necessary, specially the -n SOME_NAME, else the stick always mount with the iso name.

And done. Or, you could use gparted for partitioning and formatting.

If that doesn't work try the following steps with extreme care:

If you look at the 12.3 DVD image on a USB stick with fdisk, you would see something like this (notice the GPT warning):

# fdisk -l /dev/sdX
WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sdX'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.

Disk /dev/sdX: 7742 MB, 7742685184 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 7384 cylinders, total 15122432 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x1bf0d4df

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdX1            4248       12439        4096   ef  EFI (FAT-12/16/32)
/dev/sdX2   *       12440     9162751     4575156   17  Hidden HPFS/NTFS

So, before reformatting, you have to repartition it again. And sometimes, if this fails, you may need an extra step - because software thinks the stick is a CD and thus not writable:

Notice: all these instructions assume the stick device is /dev/sdX. You have to find which is yours (see “Find Block Device” section above). An error here will destroy some other disk in your system.

  # umount /dev/sdX
  # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX count=100

That destroys the boot sector, partition table, and initial structures. Any operating system should be happy to reformat it again.


How to make a USB drive bootable

This situation would happen very rarely, but in the event that your computer doesn't boot from the LiveUSB/DVD from the steps above, you might try the following procedure.

Linux fdisk

Open a console and do the following as root:

# umount /dev/sdX
# fdisk /dev/sdX
: p   «--- print partition table
: a   «--- activate partition (bootable)
: 1   «--- apply to partition 1
: w   «--- write changes and exit

See also

External links