Free Linux Live USB Creator – Run Or Boot Linux From A Flash Drive

imageIf you’re looking for a painless way to run Linux without having installed any one of 200+ distributions to your Hard Drive, or without having to boot from a Live CD, then open source Linux Live USB Creator could be the perfect tool. In a very simple process, Linux Live USB Creator will install any one of a huge range of Linux distributions to a USB drive.

After installing your chosen Linux distribution, either from an existing ISO on your HD, or exercising the option to download an ISO through Linux Live USB Creator, you will have several available options.

Option 1 –  Run LinuxLive USB directly within Windows in a virtual environment.

Option 2 – Boot directly from the LinuxLive USB key.

The following screen captures illustrate how a previously complex process has been streamlined, so that a competent average user should be able to breeze through the installation. For this review, I installed PCLinux from an ISO, previously stored on my HD, to an 8 GB Flash Drive.

Launching Linux Live USB Creator will take you to a colorful, “follow the bouncing ball” simple interface.


In less than 5 minutes the process is complete and I’m off to the races!


Well, sort of. In fact, immediately upon installation completion, you will be taken to the developer’s site for a quick heads-up on using Linux Live USB Creator.


As per the developer’s instructions, using Windows Explorer, I navigated to the newly installed VirtualBox folder on the USB drive, clicked on Virtualize_This_Key.exe, and sat back as PCLinux launched inside Windows in VirtualBox.


Now, how cool is that! No fuss, no muss, no knowledge of running a virtual system required.


As stated earlier, you have a huge selection of Linux distros to choose from. For this review I choose PCLinux since I had it hanging around on my HD – one of those “I’ll get to it when I can” downloads.


Fast facts:

Free and Open-source – LinuxLive USB Creator is a completely free and open-source software for Windows only. It has been built with simplicity in mind and it can be used by anyone.

No reboot needed – Are you sick of having to reboot your PC to try Linux? No need with LinuxLive USB Creator. It has a built-in virtualization feature that lets you run your Linux within Windows just out of the box!

Supports many Linux distributions – Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, OpenSUSE, Mint, Slax, CentOS, ArchLinux, Gentoo, PCLinuxOS, Sabayon, BackTrack, Puppy Linux …

Persistence – Having a Live USB key is better than just using a Live CD because you can even save your data and install software. This feature is called persistence (available only on selected Linux).

SmartClean & SmartDownload – SmartClean uninstalls properly any previous Live USB installations and SmartDownload lets you download any supported Linux in 2 clicks automatically selecting the best mirror to download from. SmartClean also lets you clean your USB key in 1 click.

Intelligent processing – LiLi works with many Linux, even if they are not officially supported.

Hidden installation – LiLi hides the Linux installation, your USB key stays clean.

File integrity – tells you if your ISO is corrupted.

Keeps your data on your USB device.

Intelligent formatting – can format disks bigger than 32 GB.

Auto-update – automatic updates when new Linux distributions are available.

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP

Download at: Linux Live USB

User’s Guide – This tutorial will show you how to create a Linux Live USB very easily.

Tested on Windows 8 (developer).

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Filed under downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Linux, Live CDs, Open Source, Operating Systems, Portable Applications, Software, USB, Virtualization, Windows 8, Windows Tips and Tools

11 responses to “Free Linux Live USB Creator – Run Or Boot Linux From A Flash Drive

  1. Pingback: Free Linux Live USB Creator – Run Or Boot Linux From A Flash … | Pici's Ubuntu Blog

  2. Hey Bill,

    I tried dual booting a version of Linux with Windows 7 awhile back and it worked out pretty well, but I didn’t have enough time to check it out. I think this will give me an easier way to check out Linux without having to mess with the dual booting.

    I will be checking this out



  3. Pingback: Linux Live USB Creator « TTC Shelbyville – Technical Blog

  4. Excellent post. We are currently running our students through virtualization along with Linux. Your find has allowed us to load these on our IIS server with phpvirtualbox and students can run these virtual machines in the ‘cloud’. We loaded several flash drives with your live usb find (several flavors of Linux) and slightly modified the code in phpvirtualbox and now they can log in and select which one they want. Shoot me an email and I’ll give you a link and login later today or tonight so you can see how it works! Thank you.

    Steve – TTC Shelbyville

    We are adding information about how this can be added to phpvirtualbox!

    • Hey Steve,

      Gotta love your creativity – very nice! Would love to see how you’ve managed to tie all this together. Give me a shout at

      BTW, great article on phpvirtualbox. I’ve picked it up for tomorrow’s Tech Net News.

      Great to hear from you. Trust all is well in the land of the “Vols”.



  5. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    I’ve been putting off trying Ubuntu for ages. I guess it’ll never get easier than this, so I’ll definitely be installing to a USB drive. I’m sure it will keep me out of mischief for ages! No doubt I’ll find I should have plucked up the courage a long time ago.

    Kind regards

    • Hi John,

      Better late than never …….. and all that. As for getting any easier – I think you’re right.

      I’ve only tried the one distro, PCLinux, (which I find a little slow), so I think I’ll experiment with a few others.



  6. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    Maybe I spoke too soon. Having installed Ubuntu using LiLi, when I open the drive in Explorer it is empty. No virtual box. Now this is hardly surprising as the default is to hide the files created by Linux. One could, of course, change that but I note from your screenshot that it was ticked as well. So what am I missing? No doubt something obvious. I’ll have a look on the Linux site to see if that helps.

    Kind regards

  7. Pingback: UNetbootin 5.02 | Daily Freeware Download