Creating Bootable USB Flash Drive with Debian

approximately 2 minutes of reading

Typical process of creating a bootable USB using previously downloaded ISO image file is pretty easy but with Debian it can become a bit tricky. Follow this article to ensure your startup disk is created in a correct way.

In my case using Startup Disk Creator led to see an unpleasant exception in my terminal.

An uncaught exception was raised: Invalid version string 'GNU/Linux'

Let's see how we can solve this issue and end up with a fully bootable USB with Debian 7.4.0.

Preparation of the Image

Find any USB drive you want to use that has enough free space. Mount it and check on which /dev/sd* Linux recognizes it. In my case once it was sdb and second time it was sdc. Now obtain the path where the Debian ISO file is located. Mine sits at:


Your location (as well as the name of the home directory) will be obviosly different. Change it accordingly.

Creation of the Startup Disk

Open terminal and type:

sudo dd if=[path_to_iso] of=[path_to_usb]


  • [path_to_iso] is /home/slick/Downloads/debian-7.4.0-amd64-CD-1.iso
  • [path_to_usb] is /dev/sdb

for example:

sudo dd if=/home/slick/Downloads/debian-7.4.0-amd64-CD-1.iso of=/dev/sdb
Tricky Part

Do not provide a path to the exact partition, like /dev/sdb1. If you do that, your bootable USB won't work! In case you are wondering what dd command does, in a brief explaination it copies whole ISO content as raw data into your USB.

After a minute or two, you should see something similar to:

1275904+0 records in
1275904+0 records out
653262848 bytes (653 MB) copied, 17,4742 s, 37,4 MB/s

Your bootable USB with Debian is ready to go.

Words: 293
Published in: Debian · Linux