balenaEtcher is a free and open-source flashing utility tool famous for writing image files such as .iso and .img files and zipped folders onto storage media to create live SD cards and USB flash drives. balenaEtcher has cross-platform support on Linux, BSD, macOS, and Windows and is developed by balena and licensed under Apache License 2.0.
In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install baelnaEtcher on Debian 11 Bullseye and how to create a Linux distribution boot disk.
Table of Contents
- Recommended OS: Debian 11 Bullseye
- User account: A user account with sudo or root access.
Update Operating System
Update your Debian operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.
To verify sudo status on your account:
Example output showing sudo status:
[joshua@debian~]$ sudo whoami root
To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on Adding a User to Sudoers on Debian.
To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.
The tutorial will utilize the terminal for the installation found in Activities > Show Applications > Terminal.
Install Required Dependecies
For the installation to be completed, the following packages will need to be installed.
sudo apt install curl apt-transport-https
Note, if unsure, just run the command.
Import the balenaEtcher Repository
The first task is to import the official Etcher repository. For Debian users, this is relatively easy as there is a bash script that the balena team created that can be downloaded and automates the import.
In your terminal, use the following command to download the bash script.
curl -1sLf 'https://dl.cloudsmith.io/public/balena/etcher/setup.deb.sh' | sudo -E bash
If the above commands fail, it is more than likely the curl package is not installed. To fix this, use the following terminal command.
sudo apt install curl -y
Then repeat the process to download the bash script.
The command will automatically engage the bash command to engage the script and import the repository, and if you have missed the apt-transport-https package, attempt to install it.
Once complete, you should see instructions at the end of your terminal output.
Next, run an APT update to ensure the package manager is up to date with the new repository inclusion.
sudo apt update
Install balenaEtcher on Debian
Now that you have the repository imported, it is time to install the Etcher software. In your terminal, use the following command.
sudo apt-get install balena-etcher-electron
Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to proceed with the installation.
Next, verify the installation using the apt-cache policy command.
sudo apt-cache policy balena-etcher-electron
Create Installation Image USB with balenaEtcher
With balenaEtcher now installed, the tutorial will quickly show how to create a bootable installation USB image. This is one of the most common uses for this software, as many Linux users would know about distro hopping and the importance of installation images.
The tutorial will create a Fedora alternative installation image.
First, download the .iso installation image. For the tutorial case, this will be from Fedora Workstation’s download page.
Next, back in your Debian 11 system, open the balenaEtcher, which can be found in activities > show applications > balenaEtcher.
The first screen you will come to is pretty self-explanatory. One of the reasons this software is popular is how relatively easy it is to use compared to alternative options.
On your application screen, click on the button “Flash from file.”
Once you have selected the installation image you want, click on the button “Select target.”
In the following window, select the USB you want to use as the target for the Etcher application to burn the image.
Now to finish off and begin creating the bootable USB installation image disk, click the “Flash” button.
Once complete and successful, you will see a similar output.
Congratulations, you have installed balenaEtcher and created your first USB bootable disk with the software.
How to Keep balenaEtcher Updated
The installation method used the APT package manager to install the software from the repository.
To update balenaEtcher, use the apt-update command just as you would with any APT package or system update check.
sudo apt update
Ideally, you should be doing this often to keep your system updated. If an available update is listed, use the apt-upgrade command to proceed.
sudo apt upgrade
How to Remove (Uninstall) balenaEtcher
To remove balenaEtcher is a relatively straightforward process.
First, in your terminal, use the following command.
sudo apt remove balena-etcher-electron --purge
Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to proceed with the removal.
This will thoroughly remove the application and any dependencies.
Next, if you no longer want the repository on your Debian system, use the following command.
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/balena-etcher.list
Now finish up by using the last command to refresh your repository.
sudo rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/* sudo apt update
Comments and Conclusion
In the tutorial, you have learned how to install the popular balenaEtcher software on Debian 11 Bullseye.
Overall, besides the ease of use which is very popular amongst the average user, or better yet, users migrating from Windows or macOS for the first time to create a Linux USB bootable installation disk, balenaEtcher has some great features such as validated flashing, open-source and very lightweight.
More advanced users would probably prefer using Rufus that has extended advanced options, but balenaEtcher excels above the rest for the average needs.