I want to build a Linux/Debian live USB Stick, to modify my partition tabel. I read that modifiing the partition table shouldn't be done while Linux is running on the hard drive. Because of that the live USB Stick.

I got this far:

I downloaded the "debian-live-8.1.0-i386-cinnamon-desktop.iso" from this source: http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/current-live/i386/iso-hybrid/

then I changed the boot menue in BIOS to USB/HDD and rebooted, but it doesn't work. The computer doesnt boot from the USB Stick.

  • 3
    How did you write the image on the USB drive?
    – petry
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 19:36

3 Answers 3


You cannot simply download an image and put it into a usb to run a linux live image. You need to write it to an usb, meaning, decompressing the iso format. You need special software to do that, e.g. dd linux command utility or, if you new to shell, use something as OpenSuse image writer to write the ISO.
Just follow the instructions on the page and after flashing, try booting from the usb.
Warning: Backup any data on your usb before the ISO write.


Download an ordinary iso from the debian site. These iso's are hybrids: You can simply cat them to a stick: ' cat NameOfTheThingy.iso > /dev/sdX ; sync '

- omit the quotes
- X identifies the device, not the partition
- you have to rewrite the partition table of device after use
- you probably need root
- I have no clue how to do this in Windooze
  • Forgot to mention that the device MUST NOT be mounted, it does need to be present.
    – daniel
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 21:48

In order to create a live drive (a bootable but not installed drive) with Debian, it is easiest to use a cloning tool, to clone from the iso file to the USB device.

I would recommend a tool with a final checkpoint to help find and select the correct target device (the USB pendrive) and avoid overwriting valuable data on other drives.

The cloning process is robust, but you should unmount all partitions on the target device before starting.

You can use Disks alias gnome-disks, which should be available in installed Debian as well as live Debian.

  • From the menu, select 'Restore Disk Image ...'

If you want more details or alternatives, you can read this link which describes tools that can clone as well as make persistent live drives with Debian (as well as with Ubuntu).

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