Creating a Linux Installer in Windows 10

It’s all fine and well talking about how good Linux is but how do you get it on your computer? Installing Linux is remarkably simple but there are several options available to you. One of these is to create a Linux installer on a Windows PC.

You need to transfer the downloaded Linux ISO to either a DVD or a USB key before being able to install it onto a different computer. This will be a live environment, which allows you to test the OS prior to installation, but first you need to create the bootable media.

DVD Bootable Media

First locate the ISO image of Linux you’ve already downloaded. You can usually find it in the Downloads folder in Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 computers, unless you specified a different location when saving it.

Next insert a recordable DVD disc into your computer’s optical drive. After a few seconds, while the disc is read, Windows displays a pop-up message asking you what to do with the newly inserted disc. Ignore this, as we’re going to use the built-in image burning function.

Right-click the Linux ISO and from the menu select Burn Disc Image. Depending on the speed of the PC, it may take a few seconds before anything happens. Don’t worry too much, unless it takes more than a minute, in which case it might be worth restarting your PC and trying again. With luck, the Windows Disc Image Burner should launch.

With the Windows Disc Image Burner dialogue box open, click on the ‘Verify disc after burning’ tick box, then the Burn button. The process should take a few minutes, depending on the speed of your PC’s optical drive. Once it’s complete it runs through the verification stage and when done the optical drive should auto-eject the disc for you.

USB Bootable Media

USB media is faster than a DVD and often more convenient, as most modern PCs don’t have an optical drive installed. The process of transferring the image is easy but you need a third-party app first and a USB flash drive of 4GB or more.

First open up a web browser and go to www. rufus.akeo.ie/. Scroll down the page a little and you come to a Download heading, under which is the latest version of Rufus. Left click the link to start the download.

Doubleclick the downloaded Rufus executable and click Yes to the Windows security question and Yes to checking for updates. With Rufus launched it should have already identified your inserted USB flash drive; if not, just remove and reinsert.

At first glance the Rufus interface can look a little confusing but don’t worry, it’s really quite simple. To begin with, click on the SELECT button next to the ‘Disk or ISO Image (Please select)’ pull-down menu. This launches a Windows Explorer window where you can locate and select the Linux ISO.

When you’re ready, click on the Start button at the bottom of the Rufus app. This may open up another dialogue box asking you to download and use a new version of SysLinux. SysLinux is a selection of boot loaders, used to allow a modern PC to access and boot from a USB flash drive. It is necessary, so if asked click on ‘Yes’ to continue.

The next step asks which image mode you want the Linux ISO to be written to the USB flash drive in. Both methods work for different situations but generally, the recommended ISO Image Mode is the more popular. Make sure this mode is preselected and click OK to continue, followed by OK again to confirm the action.

The Linux ISO is now transferred to the USB flash drive. The process shouldn’t take too long, again depending on the speed of the USB device and the PC. You may find Rufus auto-opens the USB drive in Windows Explorer during the process; don’t worry you can minimise or close it if you want. When the process is complete, click on the Close button.

David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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