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1.1 Create an LMDE Live USB

If you want to start and run an online business, you need at least one secure computer used to go online and make changes and additions to your online website. Any computer with back doors is not a secure computer. Microsoft created an open back door to its operating system way back in 1998 by placing its web browser inside the core of its operating system (meaning the Microsoft web browser can not be removed).

Sadly, Ubuntu has also been moving towards the spyware data mining business model pioneered by Microsoft. In 2012, Ubuntu made a deal with Amazon where Ubuntu collects data on user activity and forwards it to Amazon. Many Ubuntu users are now bombarded by ads from Amazon after using the Ubuntu Search Box (which is now linked to Amazon).


Richard Stallman described the integration of Ubuntu with Amazon as “spyware.” See the following 6 minute Youtube video for a fuller explanation of Richard Stallman’s concerns about the Amazon/Ubuntu invasion of your privacy:


More recently, Ubuntu has been working directly with Microsoft in a data mining joint effort. These latest actions have made it clear that Ubuntu can no longer be trusted to provide business owners with a secure operating system.

Thankfully, the Debian operating system, on which Ubuntu is based remains secure. The problem with Debian is that it is not very user friendly. In particular, it is hard to adjust many of the settings in Debian.

Thankfully, the Linux Mint team has spent years working on making Linux more user friendly. The Mint team has developed a Settings Control Panel that is very easy to use. They have also improved on the Debian File Manager to create their own Nemo File Manager. And they have created a Software Manager that is similar to the Ubuntu Software Manager. Finally, they have a very easy to use Update manager. While the most common Linux Mint operating system, called Cinnamon, is based on Ubuntu, the Mint team has also maintained a version of the Debian operating system is called Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE). It is very similar in appearance and function to the Linux Mint Cinnamon operating system with the difference being that LMDE is based on Debian while Linux Mint Cinnamon is based on Ubuntu. The reason they have maintained LMDE was “in case anything went bad with Ubuntu.”

Linux Mint also maintains a community forum where beginners can ask questions on how to use LMDE. Here is a link to this forum:



We therefore will begin with a review of how to reflash any Windows or Ubuntu based computer to LMDE.

The first step in this process is to get two empty USB 3 drives. Use the first drive to make a copy of all of your documents on the computer you will be reflashing. Depending on how many documents, images and videos you have on your computer hard drive, this USB 3 drive may need to be 64 GB to 128 GB.

Note: Reflashing a computer will delete all documents and programs on the computer. Please copy all documents and make a list of all programs that you want to re-install after reflashing your computer.

The second USB drive will be converted into an LMDE Live USB. It only needs to be 8 GB. I recommend Sandisk USB drives.

Download the LMDE 4 ISO File

Go this this page to download the 64 bit version of LMDE. Note that for older computers, there is also a 32 bit version of LMDE.


Clicking on the 64 bit link will take you to this page where you will see many options to download theLMDE iso file.


As I live in Washington state, I usually download the ISO file from the University of Washington link. Click on the link to begin the download. The LMDE iso file is 2.0 GB.

Reformat the USB 3 Drive

Put the USB 3 Drive you want to turn into a Live USB into a USB port on a Linux Mint computer. Then click on the Mint Menu and click on Accessories, USB Stick Formatter.


Use the default FAT32 format. Then click Format. Note that this will delete any documents or programs on the USB 3 stick. Then remove the USB from the USB port and re-insert it.

Then open the Mint Menu and click on Accessories, USB Image Writer. For Write Image, click on None and go to the LMDE iso file in your Downloads folder and select it.


Then click on the To box and select your USB 3 Drive. Then click Write. When done, you will have a LMDE Live USB. You can use this USB to reflash as many computers as you want.

What’s Next?

In the next section, we will use the LMDE Live USB to reflash a computer.