Tools to record Elive Linux in an USB drive

Important: Use good quality USB media, otherwise your system may not be able to boot
USB or DVD image ?

The IMG (usb) image is much improved and should be the correct choice to use with USB’s, it also features persistence. By other side, there’s some few rare computers that they are unable to read the USB-HDD structure and the only way to boot from an USB is using the .ISO image instead, so you can try to use this one in case the .img fails. Finally, if your computer is unable to boot from USB we have a special trick for this.


Check all the common issues with different computers if you still having problems booting from USB.


You need an USB of at least 4 GB of space from a reliable trademark (Sandisk Ultra or Extreme is recommended). By technical reasons some of cheap USB devices are unable to boot live systems.

Recommended tool:
If you have a recent computer, we recommend to use the known Etcher tool, which is friendly and easy to use
  • Etcher
Note: Please do not use other tools than the recommended ones in order to ensure a correct structure of the recorded data, there's some tools that fails booting correctly Elive
Other tools 
For other operating systems, slower computers, or advanced users, we recommend these methods:

We recommend to use this simple and reliable graphical tool:



With it, select the downloaded .img of Elive (for USB), pick your USB media and write it, that’s all! Be sure to follow the other instructions to make your computer to boot from USB and the common causes of possible problems.

Note: if the USB doesn’t boot in your computer you can try to write the .iso image instead of the .img one, sometimes there’s computers that doesn’t recognize the .img structures and only boots from the .iso ones (configured as hybrid to be able to boot from usb’s too)


From Elive:

Use the usb-bootable-elive included tool which is simple to use and safe, you can also record images of other Linux OS’s using this tool


From a graphical tool

Some Linux distributions has available a tool called USB-ImageWritewhich is compatible with our format, you can use both the .img or the .iso images on it


From terminal (advanced)

You should use the famous ‘dd’  from a terminal, the syntax is very simple:

$ sudo dd if=your_downloaded_elive_image.img of=/dev/yourusbdevice bs=4M

In more detail: you should open a terminal where the downloaded image (iso or usb) of Elive is downloaded, the “if=” will tell to use this image and the “of=” will say where to dump the image into, which is the name of the USB device where you are going to record it

Important: all the data of this device is going to be removed. Also please note that this command is very dangerous if you use a wrong device in the “of=” parameter, in other words it will overwrite all the data of this device entirely, so always triple-check your device, run “sudo gparted” to visually see the name of them.


In Mac you can use too the ‘dd’ command, with the help of diskutil too:

$ diskutil list
$ sudo dd if=your_downloaded_elive_image.img of=/dev/yourdeviceusb bs=1M
$ sync

Check the details listed for the Linux part too, the “diskutil list” line will show you where is your usb device

Important Notes:

  • Some computers can only boot from one of their USB ports, make sure to try from all of them if doesn’t boots
  • You need to have disabled in your BIOS the options “Secure Boot”, “UEFI”, and also, enable “Legacy Mode” and “CSM”

Older Elive versions:

For the version 2.0 Topaz specifically, use unetbootin, not other tool like ‘dd’, because it make it work by modifying the bootable files since this version was not made to boot from USB, you can download our own copy of an old version that we know that it works.

You can use "plop bios linux extender" tool to make it boot in old computers, or to switch to USB boot by using the boot parameter "changedevice"



Samuel F. Baggen

Founder and Developer of Elive