Creating a Bootable USB Flash Drive with dd

Creating a bootable USB flash drive with dd is one of the most important and frequent skills that you will learn and use. However, it’s not really for beginners. If not done correctly you could blow your hard drive away.

⚠️ Make absolutely sure you know what you are doing. There’s no shame getting help until you are 100% confident you won’t blow away your hard drive. This is why lesser, graphical methods are more popular but don’t give in.

Penguin and the Egg

There is a bit of a chicken penguin and the egg thing going on here. It’s best to already have a Linux system from which to use dd to create a USB flash drive with Mint on it. But it might be hard for you to find a Linux system if this is your first Linux experience and you are soloing it. You can usually buy a USB for this case.


“What about —— ?”

There are a lot of other ways to create bootable flash drives. They are all inferior and inconsistent with simply learning to use dd instead.

“Is dd on a Mac the same as Linux?”

No, but the differences are minimal.

What you need to watch out for on a Mac is how you deal with the block storage devices using diskUtil instead of fdisk and lsblk.

💡 Do yourself a favor and find a Linux machine to do this on just to be consistent. What you are doing is dangerous enough without adding more differences into the mix.