Linux distributions tend to come as ISO images – files which are images of CDs/DVDs. I’ve always burned the images to a disk to install, but I’ve been meaning to try setting up a bootable USB stick instead.
Better for the environment, right? More importantly, I never seem to have a blank CD knocking about when I decide to do an install.
I expected some hassle, but it turns out to be trivial if you’re already on a Ubuntu machine, so long as your BIOS supports booting from USB devices. So…
- Check the computer you want to install into supports booting from USB; if it doesn’t I guess you’re stuck with the CD option
- Slap a USB stick with 2GB space or more in a slot on another Ubuntu machine (make sure there’s nothing on the stick you’ll miss if it gets lost!)
- Start up usb-creator from the command line (just type usb-creator, or sudo apt-get it if it’s not installed)
- Choose the .iso in the usb-creator utility
- Choose the target USB device
- Wait while files are copied and stuff
- Pull out the USB stick when it’s ready, plug it into your target machine and reboot.
The familiar installer screens should start up.
More details here.