I'm attempting to mount an Ubuntu .iso to a USB drive using the dd command in Debian, however I'm having trouble. Below is the process I've been using thus far:

  1. Format the disk I want to mount the .iso to (now the Device ID is /dev/sde)
  2. Enter su in a terminal to grant root access and enter password
  3. Enter umount /dev/sde (Just for good measure, I'm aware the disk is already unmounted)
  4. Enter dd bs=4M if=/home/user/Downloads/ubuntu-gnome-16.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso of=/dev/sde

Now, in the past when I've used this in other distros it's worked just fine and I could carry on to sync, and then boot up using the newly created media. However in Debian it seems to become totally unresponsive after entering the command in step 4, simply giving me a cursor on the next line down with no shell prompt. It will stay this way until I remove the USB drive from my system. After re-inserting the drive the 'Disks' application shows that partitions have been created and that Ubuntu has been written to the drive, however when attempting to boot from the drive I get taken straight to the gnome recovery terminal where it informs me that some executable is missing. I'm assuming here that the problem lies with Debian.

  • Any messages from dmesg or when you run strace on the dd process? – Raman Sailopal Sep 18 '17 at 15:15
  • Apologies, typo, I meant to say that it becomes unresponsive after step 4. I'll edit my post now. – Meta Sep 18 '17 at 15:18
  • @Raman - I've not actually ran those before? Give me a couple minutes and I'll post the result here. – Meta Sep 18 '17 at 15:19
  • 2
    Try running iostat 5 in another window before running the dd. The read and write rates should increase until they level off. Do you see the i/o stop at any point? What speeds do you see? Some flash drives have write rates of 3 or 4 MB/sec, so it may take 20 minutes or more to write a DVD image. – Mark Plotnick Sep 18 '17 at 15:22
  • @Mark - When attempting to run the iostat 5 command as suggested I get the following error: bash: iostat: command not found – Meta Sep 18 '17 at 15:26

dd does not show progress, what happens after step 4 is normal. Just let it finish, it might take some time depending on your USB and PC.

Use pv to see if the copy is happening.

apt-get install pv
dd if=/home/user/Downloads/ubuntu-gnome-16.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso | pv | dd of=/dev/sde bs=4M
  • Hmm. I have let it run for over half an hour before now though, and in the past on other distros it's only taken a matter of minutes? I'll install and run the command as you suggested though and see what the result is. – Meta Sep 18 '17 at 15:29

Try this:

dd bs=4M if=/home/user/Downloads/ubuntu-gnome-16.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso of=/dev/sde status=progress

dd now supports showing the progress.

  • If your dd is older, you can still send an USR1 signal to have it print the info. From man dd: Sending a USR1 signal to a running 'dd' process makes it print I/O statistics to standard error and then resume copying. – Ferenc Wágner Sep 20 '17 at 7:37

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