What is Etcher, and how to use it?

Have you heard about Etcher? It is a open source .ISO/.IMG file generator utility from Balena to create bootable USB flash drives. - Article authored by Kunal Chowdhury on .

Etcher is the popular name used to refer to BalenaEtcher. BalenaEtcher is software whose source code is accessible freely and gives room for further modification and reallocation. Etcher is used for writing image files such as .img, .iso, and zipped folders creating USB flash drives that are bootable.


Before its existence, users experienced a hassle in writing images on detachable devices such as SD cards. Etcher can quickly burn an operating system into an SD card, for instance, thus getting rid of long and baffling procedures.



What is Etcher, and how to use it?


Developed by Balena, BalenaEtcher supports Mac OS, Linux, and Windows. It's working on all these platforms explains its growth in preference to many, including distro hoppers.


Etcher has undergone modifications from its initial purpose of writing ISOs to burn images on removable gadgets. When compared to other alternatives, Etcher beats the odds by being extra reliable and easy to use. These alternatives include Rufus, Easy2Boot, and dd. However, all these programs don't stand a chance against Etcher. Read through and find out why.


Features of Etcher

Some of the outstanding features of Etcher include the following:

  • A friendly user interface - After a download, the first distinct factor you will notice the eye-appealing nature Etcher has. This software's developers have done an exemplary job giving it a simple, modern, and colorful appearance. It gives you a feel at home kind of feeling.

  • Development - Unlike similar programs that give an impression of abandonment a while ago, Balena continuously updates Etcher, ensuring its improved service provision to its users. If you were a user of Etcher, you would notice 15 upgrades of beta in one year. The developers are working effectively to see multiple drives written simultaneously.

  • A friendly hard-drive - In using some related software, you run the risk of formatting your drive. Etcher offers your data security through a process in which it selects a drive, thus ensuring the user doesn't end up with an empty drive.

  • Verified burning - Contrary to complaints reported before its innovation, Etcher assures its users of proper burning of images. Previously you would end up with a failed booting from a device due to distortion of SD cards.

  • Cross-platform - Etcher doesn't limit you to a specific platform. The fact that this tool supports Windows, Mac OS, and Linux allows its use by everyone. Additionally, the processes of installation are simplified and shared on all three platforms.


Futuristically, Balena looks at establishing the use of the live SD cards or USB flash drives as hard drives by developing persistent storage support in Etcher.



Pros and Cons of using Etcher

Pros of Etcher

  • The software is available for free.
  • Its speed is relatively high.
  • Etcher is friendly to use and reasonably straightforward.
  • Etcher is reliable software with 100% safety from data loss.


Cons of Etcher

  • This tool is relatively large as compared to its options available.
  • The software sends data to Balena by default, and the user has to turn this command off manually.
  • A user of Etcher receives frequent notifications on updates which some find irritating.



How to download and install Etcher

The guidelines of downloading BalenaEtcher are simple and require no technical skills. The procedures followed are below:

  • Visit Etcher's official website.
  • Click the download link.
  • Follow the instructions of installation and install Etcher.


As for installation instructions of Etcher, the software follows a similar process across all platforms (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux) it supports with a slight twist on either. Remember, the operating systems have their share of differences.


Etcher's installation steps on Windows are as follows:

  1. Double click the .exe file.
  2. Run Etcher in the mode of Administration.
  3. Right-click Etcher and select 'Run as administrator'.
  4. Attach SD card on the computer.
  5. Click flash.


How to download and install Etcher

Image Source: https://etcherpc.com/


If you are a Mac OS user, the steps you will follow are:

  1. Double click the .dmg file.
  2. Drag Etcher to your Application folder.
  3. Double click to have it opened.
  4. Attach SD on the Mac.
  5. Click flash.


Likewise, an installation on Linux follows a couple of steps. These steps are:

  1. Open a terminal window and select the Applimage it offers.
  2. Download the image of your OS.
  3. Select the image.
  4. Attach the SD card.
  5. Click flash.


It is vital to note that all the steps you follow in the different operating systems, as highlighted above, commence after Etcher is downloaded and the command of installation is initiated.



How to Use Etcher

As stated earlier, you can use BatenaEtcher to develop USB drives and SD cards that are bootable. A simple three-step process is followed:


Step 1

Choose your source image. This image is then dragged and dropped to the Etcher app, and this can be done using the file picker.


How to Use Etcher | Step 1


Step 2

Select the drive you target. Remember, it is safe to separate your detachable devices from your internal hard disks; otherwise, you may erase them unintentionally.


How to Use Etcher | Step 2


Step 3

Click the flash button to initiate the writing exercise; it ends in only a few minutes.


How to Use Etcher | Step 3


After a burning process is completed, the user has the option of burning the same image on another card or selecting a different image.



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