How to create an Linux Mint Live USB drive on Windows

There are myriad of ways to create a Linux Live/installation USB drive, but one of the best ways that I recommend is by using the Rufus utility. It is a free tool that has been around for several years and makes a reliable installation USB. I have personally tried and tested this on Windows 10.

Steps to create Linux Mint Live/installation USB drive

Step 1: Get an empty USB drive of at least 2 GB. I don’t recommend more than 8 GB because not all PCs can boot through USB drives of more than 8 GB capacity.

Step 2: Download Rufus utility for Windows – it is a free portable utility and so doesn’t need installation.

Step 3: Download the latest version of Linux Mint from its website. Again, this is also a 100% free operating system. The downloaded file will be in ISO format. As of today, they have Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon edition. You can grab the 64-bit version for the best performance.

Step 4: Right-click on the downloaded Rufus program and select ‘Run as Administrator.’

Step 5: Rufus Settings:

Rufus User Interface
Rufus User Interface

Click on the CD drive icon near the checkbox ‘Create a bootable disk using ISO Image.’ Select the Linux Mint ISO file that you downloaded. For example, mine says linuxmint-17.3-cinnamon-64bit.iso.

In the same interface, click on the drop-down list under the ‘Partition scheme and target system type,’ select the ‘MBR partition scheme for BIOS or UEFI.’

Next select file system as ‘FAT32’ and finally click ‘Start.’

Step 6: Keep the ISO Image mode to write when prompted and click OK.

Rufus Prompt
Rufus Prompt

Step 7: Wait until Rufus writes the data to the USB flash drive. At the end of the process, you should see the structure similar to mine.

USB drive Contents after process is finished
USB drive Contents after the process is finished

That’s it. Your Linux Mint Live USB / Installation is ready!

Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of FOSSLinux.com. I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities, especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. I hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!

22 COMMENTS

  1. unfortunately it does not work. the 4GB USB stick is not recognised. I get a message please insert appropriate media and reboot.

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I used a Sandisk Cruzer Switch 8 GB and everything worked perfectly. Your steps were easy to follow – clear and logical. I can finally now boot into my desktop computer which was stuck on grub rescue>. Hopefully I will now be able to resolve the issue. 🙂

  3. Dear Kiran,
    Thank you! I never though creating a live usb can be so simple. I used a Sandisk 16 gb USB to create Live USB. your steps were easy to follow and result was perfect.

  4. how to add more software in the Linux mint OS. because less software only in the OS . I want to add education software in the linux mint 18.3 and also tamil fonts for government school teachers. pls guide me

  5. Open Rufus. You only need to do 2 thing. Chose the USB you want to install on. Then chose the ISO file you want to use or just drag and drop it in the rufus window. Press start. If you can’t figure out rufus, use etcher.

    If you don’t find the USB when booting you have to disable fast boot/secure boot or change from UEFI to legacy. Google this part, a lot of people have problems with that.

  6. And btw, this is how to install mint using usb, not a live cd(which is you can run the OS straight from the USB without installing it).
    If you know where I can do that it would be great.

  7. I tried it in ISO mode the first time, and the computer (or MobaLive) wouldn’t recognise it as bootable. I had better luck with DD mode.

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