LibreELEC USB-SD Creator!

An easy to use application to create bootable USB and SD card installation media has been on the staff wish-list for a long long time, so we are delighted to reveal the official “LibreELEC USB-SD Creator” app for Linux, macOS and Windows.

The app has four clearly marked steps to guide you through downloading the latest official LibreELEC image for your hardware and writing it to removable media, and checking “show all” enables selection of previous releases and current Alpha/Beta preview builds. You can also load a local image file, allowing the app to be used with previously downloaded images, or development and community created images that are not hosted on our official download servers.

The Windows version is compiled 32-bit and should run on Windows XP and newer. The macOS app is 64-bit and should run on 10.9 (Mavericks) and newer. The Linux app is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and should run on Ubuntu 14.04 and newer, and other Debian derivatives. The app checks for updates when started and displays a pop-up message if a newer version is available.

The wiki team have created instructions for the app, and we have added a forum area where you can ask for support, provide feedback, and report issues.

Please use the links below to download and test the app!





LibreELEC would like to credit our neighbours and distro collaborators at RasPlex as the original source of the app’s code, and our own @vpeter for his efforts evolving it into the work of art that you can download from today.

Enjoy! 🙂

53 Responses

  1. 2913 says:

    Sweet! 😀

    Just like UNetbootin.

  2. Alister says:

    does not start on Windows 10

  3. Alister says:

    run as administrator but not working

  4. Dick says:

    Windows RT ?

    • chewitt says:

      RT (which is now discontinued by MS so not on our support list) is 32-bit arm. Unless it can emulate a 64-bit x86 CPU (unlikely) the app code won’t execute on it. You can try but we’d be very surprised if it ran.

  5. Alister says:

    Windows 10 Version 1607 (Build 14393.51)

  6. odoll says:

    No problem with my W10x64pro1607

  7. Nick Parks says:

    I’ve just used this and it worked perfectly 🙂
    I was getting a size check error when trying to update by dropping the .tar into the update folder –
    I’m on MAC OS

  8. Blaster says:

    Symantec EndPoint Alert WS.Reputation.1

    • chewitt says:

      It’s a brand new file so it has no past history ‘reputation’ with Symantec; which just proves that traditional AV products are a bit dumb these days.

  9. Zag says:

    Great works fine here on windows 10 although Smartscreen decided it wasn’t an official app for some reason.

    I’d recommend putting the Generic image at the top of the “select version” pulldown as that will be used by most people. I’d also recommend making the naming easier. Something like “Generic 32/64bit”.

    Thanks again, this is a huge improvement for new users and old alike

    • chewitt says:

      If we sort by popularity Pi builds are on-top by a mile not Generic 🙂 but feedback on the long names is welcomed. We particularly want to see how non-English users get on as we’d like to add localisations to the app in the future. Generic is 64-bit only btw, 32-bit support was dropped about 3 years ago in OE days. App signing is also something we’d like to figure out to help with security warnings.

  10. tiroy says:

    Wait… Does this tool allow Rpi 1 to overcome limitations mentioned here ?? Have you found a way to boot from USB withour SD?

    Honestly speaking I am really happy that LibreELEC evolves, but the manual in the Wiki could be more specific, what Creator allows for (and what is does not) 🙂

    • chewitt says:

      The creator app is simply a tool for creating bootable SD cards, nothing more. RPi1 and RPi2 hardware *must* boot from an SD card; they don’t support the new boot modes that article is talking about (the article does state that – just above comments). NB: Even with the new features RPi3 still needs bootcode.bin on SD for initial boot, but can then read the kernel.img and SYSTEM files etc. from attached USB media.

    • Chris says:

      This is a good question. So what would be the recommended way to set up RPi3 now? Use these new bootable partitions on usb, and then separately create SD with bootcode.bin?

      • chewitt says:

        LE will support users running with a USB configuration (it needs no changes) but it won’t be something we encourage as it’s not really required. The speed benefit is negligible and stability issues with SD cards were resolved aeons ago.

  11. bledd says:

    Worked flawlessly on Windows 10 x64 latest build.

    Not sure if I would have needed to, but I did right click ‘Run as Administrator’.

    Used it to test the latest Alpha on my Pi1

  12. Olin says:

    Is there any way you can add a dropdown to add drivers for usb wifi dongles? I noticed that after installing the attatched usb wifi adapter was not discovered and I have to settle for 2.4ghz connection vise the preferred 5ghz that the usb wifi gives me. If there is a way to add it after install please let me know.

    • chewitt says:

      LE is an “embedded” distribution so all drivers need to be pre-compiled into the KERNEL image file and they cannot be added afterwards. It would help to know the wireless chipset details (not product brand/model) and there’s little we can do about the low quality of Realtek drivers (most popular for wireless issues) .. but you never know 🙂

  13. asipsis says:

    Does this mean I can now use a usb stick instead of a micro sd card? I think they may be cheaper as well. I can use 2.0 and/or 3.0 although I beleive 3.0 won’t matter in terms of speed?

    • chewitt says:

      Yes/No. As above; Pi3 (only) still requires an SD card with bootcode.bin but all other files can be moved to USB media. Some people have a reliability preference for USB over SD, but whether that opinion is justified I couldn’t comment on. With modern SD cards the performance is likely to be much the same.

      • tuxen says:

        Hi mate, no offense but you did not read the article tiroy posted properly. there is no ‘NB: Even with the new features RPi3 still needs bootcode.bin on SD for initial boot, but can then read the kernel.img and SYSTEM files etc. from attached USB media.’ present in the article, he writes he coded a single bootcode.bin for RP1&2 so the sd card never needs to be mounted that’s it. and of cause you need the next branch bootfiles to set the OTP bit on RPi3, but only ONCE.

        the RPi3 can boot fine without a sdcard present at all:
        check the bootflow, no bootcode.bin is necessary on the sdcard, it moves on to usb looking for it, and then pxe once the OTP bit has been set with ‘program_usb_boot_mode=1’ in config.txt on next branch firmware (this is done one time only).
        I’ve done the tutorial, only I did not move the filesystem instead I just wrote the raspbian image file again to a usbstick (this was much faster) and made the changes to cmdline.txt and fstab. so in theory you should be able to boot LE from USB-stick/drive by installing raspbian upgrade to next branch firmware, set the OTP bit as described above. burn LE to a usb stick/removable HD using your tool, and finally edit cmdline.txt so boot and storage, points to sda or better uuid/label of the hardrive partitions instead of mmcblk0.

        I am fully aware your tool is not meant for this, but an aid to write current image files in a very easy way. but there is food for thought for what you could make it do once the firmware goes stable and boards likely will come shipped with the OTP bit already set.

        • tuxen says:

          btw. I also agree that sdcards have reached a speed and prices where it does not matter much. I also have sdcards from when the RPi1 came out and they still work fine albeit very slow compared with nowadays standards (I recently switched to a cheap samsung evo+ on the RPi1, and what a difference when up/downgrading millhouse builds lol). I have managed to corrupt a particular sensitive one in the past though with overclocking but the card took no harm. where it really could help/speed up/make things easier, is if you run a server and boot from ssd or hdd. for embedded stuff it’s really not worth it imho.

    • Klojum says:

      You can still move the /storage partition to a USB device, but personally I’d use an external HDD/SSD for it. Using a USB stick will not give you extra safety, as many USB sticks (or SD cards) still have no proper TRIM support like SSDs do, so sooner or later their chips will fade into oblivion. I recently had to throw away 2 usb sticks and a SD card myself because they suddenly stopped working. HDD and SSD devices have a better track record, but yes, they are also more expensive.

  14. bittin says:

    Cool will try this during next update 🙂

  15. Jocke.Sve says:

    Thank You!
    Worked flawlessly under Win10 64bit. 🙂

    Maybe You could add a note about pre-requisites regarding SD card/USB stick.
    I.e. emptied (only one partition?), formatted (FAT32?), …
    Could help out new (and old) users…

    • chewitt says:

      It should handle formatted/unformatted of any kind as it looks directly at the raw device not the pretty-name etc. that various OS show – the dev team came up with some pretty weird scenarios during private testing. We can put a note in the wiki to say that though, thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  16. bengrech says:

    Which version would be applicable for a MINIX X8H-Plus?

  17. Alex says:

    Maybe u could add backup sd card

    • chewitt says:

      There are no current plans for this as it’s a size and time inefficient way to create a backup of an installation: If you have 4GB of data on a 16GB card you have to create a 16GB file on disk and then compress it; and most compression tools need to create another temp file on disk so you need ~22GB on disk to make a 4GB backup. If you use the LE settings add-on backup and restore function we only handle the 4GB of content data and it takes maybe 10-15% of the full-image backup time. It also avoids the need to handle “restore to different sized SD card” scenarios which are not simple.

  18. junoxe says:

    Works flawless! Thx

  19. Peter says:

    Actually backup function is on todo list. It will read device and compress on-the-fly without temporary file. But reading larger media will take some time.

  20. tuxen says:

    forgot to say in my rant lol, that it is an excellent tool and it is a great addition.
    it is hard to argue not go for LibreELEC both as newbie and as more advanced user. =)
    I like the ‘all’ function as there are times where you need to go back to a earlier alpha/beta for a while.

  21. Jim says:

    All I get is a pretty boot LibreELECT screen and then nothing. Mac OS running Cubox-4

    • chewitt says:

      There’s a forum thread for imx6 users who see black screens – the issue has nothing to do with the USB-SD creator tool. That part worked fine.

  22. Graham says:

    Works a charm, thank you so very much

  23. Dedi says:

    To make it even simpler, can you add Wetek NAND installations this way too?

  24. Saul says:

    May I just say, this is perhaps the most user friendly step taken by any of the Kodi/ELEC teams I have seen.
    Thank you for this.
    Frankly awesome

  25. Juan says:

    When I ran this thing you call “LibreELEC USB-SD Creator”, the result was just a a INSTALLER, and NOT a LIVEUSB. In the process, my 16 Gb pendrive becomes a 512 Mb one. Windows offers to format a 512 Mb partition… TestDisk don’t find the 16 Gb partition… MiniTool Partition call it “Bad Disk” and don’t give the format option.
    How can I revert the changes this app made?

    • chewitt says:

      The opening sentence of this news post reads “An easy to use application to create bootable USB and SD card installation media” .. but clearly you didn’t read it. If you restore this file to the USB using the USB-SD creator tool it will overwrite the partition scheme Windows is too stupid to understand and you can use the USB normally again:

      • Juan says:

        Thanks to your advice. Is true that I dindn’t read it.
        Is not the first time I search something and I find it where it isn’t.

  26. Peter says:

    Did you saw anywhere anything like liveusb? I didn’t.

    This tool only writes libreelec image to your disk. And from what you wrote it did just that. Because libreelec has two partitions (one 512MB fat and 32 MB ext4) windows only see fat partition. Second partition is resized automatically on first boot.

    Regarding “fixing” the disk: You can use “HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool”, “SDFormatter” or some other tool. Probably MiniTool Partition can do it to.

    • Juan says:

      Thanks a lot for your explanations, Peter.
      Is a better idea running LibreELEC from a hard drive than a liveusb.
      I get the 16 Gb back by formatting the pendrive from inside ubuntu.
      (Please excuse my first comment. Can you delete it? I was impatient, because the result was too strange for my limited knowledge).

      • Peter says:

        No need to delete – at least others will know what is going on.

        And Windows in 2016 could read ext4 filesystem 🙂

  27. Agrajag says:

    If anyone wants to restore a USB drive to it’s original size there are instructions here. They are easy to follow and work.

    • Peter says:

      And be very careful with commands to select correct disk.

      • chewitt says:

        It’s much better to restore the bootsector.img file that I posted above; then Windows sees the device as blank and all you need to do is format it again using the normal GUI tools. Anything that asks users to input long sequences of diskpart commands will be prone to cock-ups and other noob/PEBKAC issues.

  28. Peter says:

    Localised ‘LibreELEC USB-SD Creator’ available.

  1. August 21, 2016

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