Etcher, create bootable USB drives and SD cards in Ubuntu

about balena Etcher

In the next article we are going to take a look at Etcher. This is an application for flashing images, which is open source and free. It has been created with web technologies such as JS, HTML, Nodejs and Electron. The application that not only will allow us to create USB Bootable with persistence to write data and complementary information on the USB, but also allows us to support multi-distro USB, that is, to install several Gnu / Linux distributions in the same pendrive.

The creation of bootable USB disks in Gnu / Linux, today has become easier than ever. Users can find a large number of tools for the graphical environment and for the command line, with which we can easily create bootable discs. One of these tools is balenaEtcher, or just Etcher.

Etcher will validate the images written to the drive before finalizing the boot drive. This will ensure that each byte of data is correctly written to the drive we are interested in. Thus avoiding finding damaged units or cards after spending a while creating them.

etcher running

One of the biggest advantages of using Etcher is that it will allow us to choose the correct flash drive or SD card, protecting us from accidentally writing to our hard drives. Distinguish USB drives from system partitions. With this we can avoid accidental erasure of the hard drive.

General characteristics of Etcher

application options

  • This program is open source. This made with JS, HTML, node.js and Electron.
  • Flashing validated. This feature will allow us not to rewrite images on damaged cards, to have to ask ourselves later why the device does not start.
  • The program it’s going to make drive selection obvious, thus helping us to avoid accidentally erasing our hard drive.
  • Is about an SD card flashing app that is simple for end users.
  • Etcher can write .iso, .img and .zip files to USB drives and SD cards.
  • This is ato multiplatform application that we will be able to use in Gnu / Linux, macOS and Windows.
  • Let’s see a worked user interface in this program.

Install Etcher on Ubuntu

Since Etcher is an Electron application, installing it on Ubuntu is not difficult.

From repository

In Debian, Ubuntu and their derivatives, we will be able to add the necessary repository for its installation in a simple way. We just have to open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and use the curl tool (which we must have previously installed) as follows:

add repo etcher

curl -1sLf '' | sudo -E bash

We continue updating the list of available software from the repositories available on our team. We will do this with this other command:

update repositories

sudo apt update

Once the update is finished, we can only use the install command:

install etcher with apt

sudo apt install balena-etcher-electron

When the installation is finished, we can find the launcher of this program in our team.

Download AppImage file

We will also have the possibility of download the latest version today from Etcher as AppImage file from your website. We can do this using wget from the terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T):

download appimage


Once the download is finished, we will have to go to the location where we save the Etcher zip file to unzip it:

unzip file with appimage


Then we only have give execute permissions to the AppImage file:

chmod +x balenaEtcher-1.5.120-x64.AppImage

And at this point, we can now run Etcher by double clicking on the file or using the command:

run appimage


Uninstall Etcher

If you have downloaded this program as AppImage, just delete the file to get rid of the program.

If you no longer need Etcher and you installed it using the repository shown above, you can uninstall it using this command in terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T):

uninstall etcher

sudo apt remove balena-etcher-electron

Now we can delete repository that was used for installation:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/balena-etcher.list

Etcher is not only easy to use, it is also fast and secure. This graphic image flashing utility is easy to use to write ISO images to one or more USB drives or SD cards safely. The Etcher developers, as indicated on the project’s website, are working to offer additional features such as increasing the writing speed, and some others.

For more details on this program, users can go to official Web site from Etcher, his GitHub repository, wave documentation that they offer in this repository.

Add Comment