Etcher: flash images to SD and USB

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 6, 2016
Updated • Jul 6, 2016

Etcher is a new cross-platform open source program to burn operating system images to SD cards and USB drives safely and securely.

My Surface Pro 4 ships without optical drive, and so do quite a few modern laptops and desktop PCs. It seems that optical discs are on their way to a niche existence; but this may come with a couple of issues.

For instance, it is no longer possible to burn an ISO image of Linux Mint, Windows, or other operating systems to disc to start the installation process. Since you cannot insert discs anymore, you need to rely on SD cards or USB Flash drives for that.

Companies may provide you with tools to copy ISO images to removable drives. You may also use third-party tools like XBOOT or YUMI to burn ISO images to USB Flash drives or SD cards.


etcher flash images

Etcher is offered as a beta release for Windows, Linux and Mac devices currently. The download is quite large -- 81 Megabyte on Windows -- but the functionality that it provides may be worth it.

Note: The program attempts to connect to Internet servers regularly. These appear to be maintained by, the company that created the project. It is unclear why those connections are made. Could be an automatic check for updates.

The interface is streamlined for ease of use. The whole process consists of three steps that are outlined in the interface on start.

It starts with the selection of an image. The application supports various image formats including iso, img, dsk as well as gz, bzz and xz.

Etcher tries to identify the correct drive automatically after you have selected an ISO image. The program jumps to the third and final step -- flashing -- automatically in that case.

You may change the drive, which is useful if more than one removable drive is connected to the PC, or if the automatic identification of the drive failed.

Etcher displays progress information in percent, the current write speed, and the estimated time of completion.


etcher burn iso

The application validates the copying of data after the copy process to make sure everything copied correctly. This is an important step as it ensures that you won't run into corruption issues when running the operating system or installing it on a device.

The complete process takes a bit longer because of the validation but it is worth it and should not take longer than a couple of minutes tops. You may disable validation in the settings if you don't require it.

Also, you may display the reporting of errors, and that the drive is unmounted when the operating completes successfully.

The final page displays whether the operation completed successfully.

flash complete

You find the CRC32 checksum on the page, and get options to flash the same image or a new image.

software image
Author Rating
3 based on 10 votes
Software Name
Software Category
Landing Page

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Anonymous said on October 29, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Why the program is downloaded only like 1000+`?! wtf

  2. ben said on July 28, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Why is it no longer possible to burn an ISO image of Linux Mint, Windows, to a disc to start the installation process?? ex. easy2boot

    I wonder if Etcher works the other way.. i.e. take a bootable image that’s installed on an sd card, and create an iso out of the file.

  3. DontBreakTheOath said on July 10, 2016 at 9:22 am

    i FEEL old AND crotchity i STill use winimage!!!

    i don’t blame ya for getting drunk. I recently learned what punishment the German People went through. Hitler was bad, but the PEOPLE were not Hitler. The same is true in the US today, Our government is BAD, not the people.

    Perhaps some of the BAD ones will HANG for TREASON soon!

    I used to get drunk — most of the time, then I had a heart attack. I reversed it through nutrition, but I got a STENT since I had a 100% blockage … not good.

    Anyway, the STRESS will get ya. (especially if your flipping in the wind cause you took the OATH to protect the Constitution and Potus)

    I been stressed about my country since 911, I used to hang with MANY German acquaintances in dev channels–but the NDAA killed ALL OF that off for me in 2012, along with all my websites and my TV show.

    Sites went with a .htaccess DENY FROM ALL
    The people in the US were not meant to be RULED.

    The only thing goin on in the US today is RESENTMENT IS BUILDING because of George Soros Funded RACE BAITING and Gladio style op’s. We can NOT MOVE FORWARD until the Constitution is restored, that means getting the TRAITORS OUT.

    1. Guest728 said on September 5, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      So you believe the only real news is the left news. You are watching too much TV. Guest

  4. pd said on July 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I tried to do some beta testing for this project. Wiped my entire laptop. Be VERY VERY careful.

  5. Rex said on July 7, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    I use Easy2Boot as a multiboot USB solution (on my 64GB SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0). It supports MBR and UEFI booting, persistence, boot multiple fully-installed OS’s, configurable, etc. At it’s simplest you just copy over any linux, VHDs, WIM files or Windows Install ISO and boot. For persistence and UEFI you need to do a bit more, but you can have 100’s on the same USB drive (I also have a 2TB WD Passport with E2B on it).

  6. marius said on July 7, 2016 at 10:49 am

    WinSetupFromUSB does a wonderful job of installing multiple OS’es,live Antiviruses,Rescue Systems,on a single USB,that’s more useful then being stuck with only one OS installed on an USB,especially if the USB is bigger then 10 gb’s!

  7. Dave said on July 6, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    I’ve had success with USB Image Tool from It always succeeded when YUMI and Win32 Disk Imager failed.

  8. jasray said on July 6, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    The only feature missing [or that I never found] was the ability to create a persistent file when making USBs from Ubuntu derivatives–like Rufus. Was fast, though.

  9. Pants said on July 6, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    81mb? that insane. YUMI is 1.32mb (and portable). What am I missing here? Does the program also wash your dishes and do the laundry?

    1. RG said on July 6, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      It also 3D prints a USB drive or SD card ;)

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Well, it looks pretty. And we all know that you love the bling bling.

      1. Pants said on July 7, 2016 at 9:01 am

        I would have saluted/hi-5’ed you for the humor, but it seemed inappropriate

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 7, 2016 at 2:00 pm

        Finally a Nazi reference, wonder what took you so long ;)

      3. Pants said on July 7, 2016 at 7:39 am

        OMG … a German with humor :) Also, just quietly, I’m disappointed in you. You said you would never kiss and tell.

      4. Martin Brinkmann said on July 7, 2016 at 7:42 am

        I was drunk, sorry about that.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.