If you are an open-source fan, you are probably also a Linux fan. Linux is the largest open-source project in the world with hundreds of different versions available depending on your needs. These versions – known as “distros” – are very easy to install, especially if you choose to run them from a USB stick.

One tool which makes installing Linux especially easy on a USB stick is Linux Live USB Creator. I have used this tool for years to try out different distros and I love it for its utter simplicity.

Linux Live USB Creator Helps You Dual-Boot On Your Windows PC

One of the great things about running Linux from a USB stick is that you can run it on your Windows system without actually installing Linux properly and making big modifications to your Windows PC. As soon as you shutdown the Linux USB stick, anything you’ve done is immediately wiped as if Linux hadn’t been there in the first place.

For anyone contemplating switching to Linux properly, or is merely curious as to what a particular distro looks like, this is an easy no-pain way to go about it. However with regular Linux USB distros, you have to restart your Windows computer, boot into BIOS, and choose the Linux USB stick. Highly annoying and time-consuming in my opinion.

But with Linux Live USB Creator, it runs the Linux distro in a virtualization window. This means no restart is necessary. You can switch between the two operating systems effortlessly. You can also run a portable version of Linux Live USB Creator, so you don’t even need to install the program.

Setting Up Your USB Linux Distro

Once you have downloaded Linux Live USB Creator, fire it up.

It is a simple case of following each step in the list.

First choose the USB stick you want to use, which is simple enough. Try and use a stick with as much memory space as possible. Too much is better than too little which is why I always use a 128GB stick.

The next step is to choose which version of Linux you want to install. You have three options. The first two is if you already have an uninstalled version of Linux on your computer. You can then point this program towards that Linux file.

However, if you don’t have a Linux installation file yet, choose the “Download” option and you will be presented with all the distros that the program supports.

If you are not sure which one to try, Ubuntu is always a safe bet for beginners. But I am going to take a look at Puppy Linux, which I have heard a lot of good things about.

Now select “Download Automatically” and the program will get the installation file for you.

It will look for the fastest most reliable download mirror then ask you where on your computer to put the installation file. Be aware that when it is getting the installation file, Linux Live may temporarily freeze. But just leave it and wait. It will start moving again momentarily.

Once it has verified the installation file, it will tell you whether or not it is “Live Mode” or “Built-In Persistency”. Live Mode is when no changes are saved on your USB stick when you come out of the Linux distro. Persistency is when you can save data and preferences on your USB stick.

Not all Linux distros support persistency and since you will be using VirtualBox to run Linux in this case, persistency will not work anyway. So you can more or less ignore this part.

Step four is important.

Keep “Hide created files on key” selected. This will keep them invisible on Windows but you can view them by going into Windows Explorer and choosing “Show Hidden Files & Folders”.

The FAT32 key formatting option is if you want to wipe the key first or if it is formatted in NTFS or exFAT format.

The third option MUST be selected if you want to switch to Linux without rebooting Windows first. This option downloads a portable version of VirtualBox on your USB stick to run the Linux distro in.

Now click the lightning bolt on the left to start the installation of your Linux distro.

Once the Linux distro has been installed, go to the USB stick and click on “Virtualize This Key” to fire up your Linux distro inside VirtualBox. This may take a couple of minutes so be patient.

When you have had enough of that distro, just re-format the USB stick and wipe it completely.