How to Make My External USB Hard Drive Bootable in Ubuntu

Written by justin wash
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How to Make My External USB Hard Drive Bootable in Ubuntu
An external backup hard drive makes computing safer, easier and headache free. (hard drive interior image by Curtis Sorrentino from

Having an external USB hard drive that is bootable can be a helpful accessory for backup and computer maintenance. A place to store files, keep backups and restore your system provides a certain amount of security against crashes and drive failures, saving you from headaches and all the problems that arise when a failure occurs. Learn how to set up a backup bootable hard drive in Ubuntu Linux to make computing safer and more fun.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Ubuntu Linux
  • USB hard drive

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  1. 1

    Open your favourite web browser and navigate to the Ubuntu Linux home page. Click the "Download Now" link to download a disk image of the Ubuntu operating system. Save this image in a convenient location.

  2. 2

    Navigate to the Utility Applications menu. Look for a program called "usb-creator." If you don't have this program, open Synaptic Package Manager, type "usb-creator" in the search box, and install it. Reboot your computer and then open the program.

  3. 3

    In the top pane of the usb-creator program, click "Other" and navigate to the disk image that you downloaded from the Ubuntu website. Click "select" to choose the image file and close the browser window.

  4. 4

    In the lower pane of the program, select the USB drive on which you wish to install the operating system. Be sure that you have backed up any data from the hard drive you wish to save, as it will be erased upon installation. At the bottom of the program window, slide the Free Space Size Selector to the right to choose how much free space you would like to leave on the drive for files and other data.

  5. 5

    Click "Install" at the bottom-right of the program window to install the Ubuntu operating system onto the external drive. The drive will be formatted and the operating system will be installed. From now on, you may boot your computer from the USB drive by selecting it from the boot-drive menu when you start your computer.

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