Creating bootable USB Drives with Etcher

Slashdot it! Delicious Share on Facebook Tweet! Digg!


The Javascript program Etcher is one of the newcomers in the ISO transfer business. It was developed by, an American company that was founded in 2013 and builds software for the Internet of Things. The cross-platform framework Electron serves as the basis for Etcher. relies heavily on Linux and has developed Etcher in order to write images of operating systems to USB drives with maximum speed and efficiency so they can be used with appliances. As a consequence, you won't find the interface for this software overloaded with options.

To install Etcher, first download the ZIP archive [7], which is just shy of 70MB, to the suitable hardware architecture for you computer. The archive contains a single executable file, which is named either Etcher-linux-x86.AppImage or Etcher-linux-x64.AppImage . Once decompressed, click to start the software. When started, the software will ask whether the installer should integrate the software in the system. Then comes the actual program window, which makes do without the customary operating elements like menus and list views (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Etcher reduces the number of operating elements to the absolute minimum in order to create the maximum simplicity of use.

Three horizontally arranged icons are used in the creation of a bootable USB drive. To the far left under SELECT IMAGE , you open a file manager by clicking on Change . Here you will select the image to be written. Etcher can handle ISO images, and it also recognizes things like IMG image files for SD cards, as well as ZIP archives and archive tarballs. When an archive file is decompressed, it must meet all of the requirements of an ISO image to work.

Specify the target drive using the middle option SELECT DRIVE . Normally, the application will automatically recognize this drive, but you can change the target drive by clicking on the Change button if it doesn't. Check the desired drive in the corresponding dialog with a mouse click. Then close the selection by clicking on Continue .

At the far right, the FLASH IMAGE is the last icon you need to know about. Underneath you will find the Flash! button. After authentication, you should use this button to write the image to the target drive. The software does not expect that you have unmounted the drive or manually formatted it with the appropriate FAT filesystem. Instead, the software accomplishes the write process without the need for any further manual intervention. During the write process, the Flash! button turns into a progress indicator (Figure 2).

Figure 2: After the flash process starts, an indicator bar shows its progress.

After the writing process has ended, the tool checks the data storage device for consistency and then shows a dialog asking whether you would like to write the same image again or whether you would like to send it to another device (Figure 3). Lastly, Etcher automatically unmounts the target drive, meaning you can immediately take the USB drive out without running the risk of damaging the filesystem.

Figure 3: If desired, the software can prepare multiple USB devices in succession.


Additionally, Etcher has a very simple settings window that you can call by clicking on the cog wheel icon at the top right of the home screen. Settings only includes three options, which you activate and deactivate by means of a check mark. By default, the tool activates the auto-unmount function upon the conclusion of a successful burn. It also activates the write validation option and the protocol function for errors.

During testing, deactivating the functions had no effect on how fast the software ran. Therefore, I recommend that you leave the default setting alone for purposes of data integrity. The Back button at the top right of the window takes you from Settings back into the home screen.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF

Pages: 4

Price $0.99
(incl. VAT)

Buy Ubuntu User

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content