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Create a Bootable Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL 8) USB Flash Drive


If you need to install an operating system on hardware that doesn’t have a DVD drive, you can use a bootable USB flash drive. This tutorial shows you how to create a bootable Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL 8) USB Flash Drive using Windows, macOS or Linux.

Before you begin

You will need a USB Flash Drive with enough disk space to store the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 DVD ISO image (10.13 GB). The USB Flash Drive will need to be wiped so don’t use a drive with existing data because you will lose it.

If you don’t have a spare USB Flash Drive, I recommend getting a 16 GB SanDisk Ultra Fit from Amazon* because they are fast, reliable and have a micro form factor.

Now that you’ve got your hands on a USB Flash Drive, you’ll want to download the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 DVD ISO image from the Red Hat customer portal.

Not a Red Hat customer?

If you’re not a Red Hat customer, you can get Red Hat Enterprise Linux for FREE with a Red Hat developer subscription.

A Red Hat developer subscription allows individuals to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux at no cost for personal servers, home labs, demos, prototyping, QA, small production uses and open source communities.

Click here to get a Red Hat developer subscription.

Then login to your developer account and download the RHEL 8.4.0 DVD ISO (Download rhel-8.4-x86_64-dvd.iso).

Instructions

Once you have downloaded the the DVD ISO image, click the link below for instructions on how to create the bootable USB Flash Drive for your operating system:

Create a Bootable Red Hat Enterprise Linux USB Flash Drive with macOS

The following instructions will show you how to create a bootable USB Flash Drive on a Mac using the dd command.Advertisements

Step 1: Determine Disk Number

The first thing we need to do is connect the USB Flash Drive to the Mac and then determine what the disk number is.

Search for Disk Utility with Spotlight and open it.

Plug the USB Flash Drive into your Mac then click on its name.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the SanDisk Flash Drive* has been selected and the disk identifier located next to Device is disk2. This might be a different on your Mac. Make a note of the disk number because we will use it in the following commands to create the bootable USB Flash Drive.

Step 2: Unmount Volumes

Search for Terminal with Spotlight and open it.

Unmount all the volumes on the disk by running the following command (replace disk2 with the disk number of the USB Flash Drive connected to your Mac).

sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2

Step 3: Copy ISO to USB Flash Drive

Copy the DVD ISO to USB Flash Drive with the following command (change /dev/rdisk2 to the path to your USB Flash drive discovered in Step 2).

Note: the command below uses rdisk instead of disk because it makes the copy process quicker.

sudo dd if=rhel-8.4-x86_64-dvd.iso of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1m

You can check the progress by pressing CTRL-T as you can see in the example below:

graspingtech@macos iso-images % sudo dd if=rhel-8.4-x86_64-dvd.iso of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1m
load: 1.78  cmd: dd 9569 uninterruptible 0.00u 0.04s
73+0 records in
72+0 records out
75497472 bytes transferred in 7.146434 secs (10564356 bytes/sec)

Wait about 5 minutes for the DVD ISO to copy to the USB Flash Drive. You will know when it’s finished because the dd command will exit and the window in the screenshot below will popup asking you what to do with the disk because it can’t be read by macOS.

Click Eject and then remove the drive from your Mac.

You can now use the bootable USB Flash Drive to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 on hardware that doesn’t have a DVD ROM drive.

Create a Bootable Red Hat Enterprise Linux USB Flash Drive with Windows 10

Rufus is a program that makes it easy to create bootable USB Flash Drives on Windows. The following steps show you how to use Rufus to create a Bootable RHEL 8 USB Flash drive.

Step 1: Download Rufus

Go to the Rufus website, scroll down to the download section and download the portable version by clicking on the Rufus 3.14 Portable link.

Step 2: Launch Rufus

Double click on rufus-3.14p to launch Rufus.

The screenshot below shows Rufus when the program is first started.

Step 4: Select USB Flash Drive

Plug in the SanDisk USB Flash Drive* then select it in the Device dropdown.

Step 5: Select RHEL 8 DVD ISO

Click the SELECT button then navigate to the RHEL 8 DVD ISO image.

Click OK to confirm DD image writing mode being enforced.

Step 6: Create Bootable USB Flash Drive

Click START.

Click OK to confirm all data on the USB Flash Drive will be destroyed.

Wait for the Status to change to READY then click CLOSE.

You can now use the bootable USB Flash Drive to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 on hardware that doesn’t have a DVD ROM drive.

Create a Bootable Red Hat Enterprise Linux USB Flash Drive with Linux

The following instructions will show you how to create a bootable USB Flash Drive on Linux using the dd command. These steps use Fedora Workstation but since all steps are using a terminal, they should work on other distributions.

Step 1: Determine Device Path

The first thing we need to do is connect the SanDisk USB Flash Drive* to the Linux PC and then determine what the device path is.

Once you have connected the Flash Drive, open a Terminal session and run the following command to list devices.

sudo fdisk -l

After executing the above command you will get an output similar to the one below:

Disk /dev/sdb: 14.32 GiB, 15376318464 bytes, 30031872 sectors
Disk model:  SanDisk 3.2Gen1
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x426eea3b

Notice the disk model is SanDisk and the device path is /dev/sdb. We will use this path in the next step to copy the DVD ISO image to the USB Flash Drive.

Step 2: Copy ISO to USB Flash Drive

Run the following command to copy the RHEL 8 ISO image to the USB Flash Drive.

  • Replace /dev/sdb with the device path of the USB Flash drive on your system.
  • Replace /mnt/hgfs/iso-images/rhel-8.4-x86_64-dvd.iso with the path of the downloaded ISO image on your system.
sudo dd if=/mnt/hgfs/iso-images/rhel-8.4-x86_64-dvd.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1M status=progress

Wait for the dd command to finish.

Once the command is finished, plugging the USB Flash Drive should mount it as RHEL-8-4-0.

You can now use the bootable USB Flash Drive to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 on hardware that doesn’t have a DVD ROM drive.