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Etcher is a popular USB flash application for creating bootable Linux USB drives. Let me show you how to install it and how to use it to make a live Linux disk.

Etcher: An open source tool for flashing

Linux ISO on SD cards and USB drives

Etcher is an open source project by Balena to help flash SD cards for Raspberry Pi. In fact, we used it in our tutorial on how to install Raspbian OS on an SD card.

Not only limited to SD cards, you can also use Etcher to make a bootable USB drive just like we created a live USB from Manjaro

on Linux with the help of it. Since its first release, Etcher

attracted attention for its neat interface and simplicity of use


In this article, I will focus on the steps to help you install Etcher on Linux. And then, I will also show how to use it. Before I do that, let me give you an overview of the features it offers:

Features of Etcher

  • Validate the drive before flashing
  • Beautiful user interface
  • Automatically detects USB drive/SD card to avoid erasing your computer’s hard drive
  • Cross-platform support (Windows, macOS and Linux)
  • Fast flashing
  • Process

Simple three-step On paper, you get everything one would need to flash OS images on an SD card and USB drive. It’s also exciting to know that they plan to add simultaneous write support to multiple devices based on their roadmap.

Installing Etcher on

Linux To get started, you need to get the AppImage file

it offers (suitable for any Linux distribution) from its official website


You just need to head to your homepage and download your system’s (32-bit/


In my case, I got the 64-bit AppImage file for Ubuntu. You can check out our guide on using AppImage files on Linux, but I’ll give you a head start on what you should do next.

You need to grant permissions to the file to run and you can do so by right-clicking on the AppImage -> Properties file.

Next, click “Allow Run as a Program” on the Permissions tab as shown in the image below.

Now, simply double click on the AppImage file to launch balenaEtcher!

This should work on any Linux distribution. In any case, you can also head to their releases section of GitHub to find RPM, DEB, and the source file if you want to compile it from source code or simply install it using the .rpm or .deb files.

You can also check out our guide on using deb file in Ubuntu to install apps.

Using Etcher

on Linux

is just a three-step process to start using Etcher. It should explain itself according to the on-screen instructions after launching it, but just to give you a head start, here’s what

you need to do: Step 1: Select the

appropriate ISO image file or URL of the file you need to flash (as shown in the image below). step

2: Next, you will need to select the target device. It automatically detects and highlights removable devices to help you avoid selecting internal storage locations.

In this case, I have a USB drive connected and I also have it selected (as shown in the screenshot below).

Step 3: Now, all you have to do is: flash the image and wait for it to complete successfully.

Here’s what progress looks like: And it’s


Wrapping Up

Etcher is a useful tool for flashing OS images for both SD cards and USB drives. I tend to use it mainly to create live USB drives to test Linux distributions and I’m happy with it.

What do you prefer to use to create bootable drives? Have you tried Etcher yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.