How-To: Install Linux to Your x86 / x64 Computer via USB Flash Drive

How-To: Install Linux to Your x86 / x64 Computer via USB Flash Drive

For this tutorial, I'll be installing Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon to an ODROID-H2+, but the instructions should work the same for other operating systems for any x86 or x64-based system.

The first step is to decide which OS to install. In my case, I chose Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon. I headed over to their site to download the .iso file.

Once the file was downloaded, I proceeded to try to locate one of my USB flash drives that I didn't need any of the information on.

[Pro Tip: If you have a USB flash drive that has information you want to keep, you can copy the files off the flash drive onto your computer and then copy them back onto the flash drive after the process is done.]

[Pro Tip: If you don't have a USB flash drive, but you have one of our USB to microSD card readers and a microSD card you can spare, you can use that in place of a USB flash drive.]

I didn't have a USB flash drive that I wanted erased, but I did have a Transcend USB to microSD card reader and a blank 16GB Sandisk microSD card. I could have also used a USB to eMMC reader and an extra eMMC I had, but I chose to go with the first option.

[At this point, I tried to use the Rufus portable ISO utility to flash the ISO image to the USB microSD writer, but I could not get the H2+ to recognize it once inserted.]

I used BalenaEtcher to write the ISO image to the USB microSD writer. It's extremely simple to use. Just make sure you are selecting the correct drive for the target.

Make sure you have at least a USB keyboard, the HDMI or DisplayPort monitor, and the USB flash media plugged into the H2+ and power it on. If you only get the red LED, press the power button on the opposite side of the board from the power connector. You should see the red LED and two blue LEDs. As soon as you see this, press the DEL key on the keyboard multiple times until the UEFI menu appears. [Pro Tip: If you see something about PXE boot, you've missed your chance. Press the Reset button next to the power button on the H2+ to try again.] Use the keyboard's right arrow key to move to the Boot menu option, and then the down arrow to move to the Boot Option #1 area. Press the ENTER key on the keyboard, and use the arrow keys to select the USB device. Once the USB device is highlighted, press the ENTER key on the keyboard again. Press F4 and then ENTER to "Save & Exit".

If everything is working, you'll soon see a GNU GRUB menu (or something similar depending on the OS you decided to install) that will allow you to select the OS you wish to install. Again, use the arrow and enter keys on the keyboard to select an option.

If you are installing Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon, you will soon be on the Linux desktop, and an icon will be present on the desktop entitled Install Linux Mint. Double-click it to install to your SSD, eMMC or other boot media.

After installing and rebooting, don't worry if you get error messages on the screen and the system doesn't boot. Simply press the reset button on the H2+ and it should boot into the OS.

As of the time of this writing, most OS distros don't have drivers for the 2.5Gbps Realtek chipset in them. In order to use the H2+ with an Ethernet connection, you'll have to download and install the drivers for the Realtek 2.5Gbps Ethernet ports. Follow the instructions on the ODROID Wiki. For simplicity, we used our USB3 to Gigabit Ethernet adapter which was recognized immediately upon plugging it in. This adapter could also be handy in case you want more than 2 Ethernet connections later.

Let us know what distro you install to your H2+ and what you like/dislike about it, plus any challenges you encountered.

Previous article Step-by-Step Guide: Installing Home Assistant on the ODROID-M1


Reko - August 13, 2020

I love Linux Mint Cinnamon. Thanks^^

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