StartOS (x86)

This guide is for flashing StartOS to a USB drive in order to install it to an x86_64 architecture device. This will include most desktops, laptops, mini PCs, and servers. For an up-to-date list of known-good hardware, please check out this forum post.


You will need a USB drive of at least 8GB in size

Getting StartOS

Visit the Github release page to find the latest StartOS release.

At the bottom of the page, under “Assets,” download the x86_64.iso or x86_64-nonfree.iso file. The former image contains no proprietary software (built for the Server Pure). As the title implies, the latter, nonfree image, contains non-free (closed-source) software. This may be required for your hardware, especially for graphics and/or wireless device support.


Select your OS to continue:

(Optional, but recommended) Verify the checksum against the one listed on GitHub (SHA256):

sha256sum startos-

Installing StartOS

Once you have the StartOS image, you will need to flash it onto your USB drive.

  1. Download balenaEtcher onto your Linux, Mac, or Windows computer.

  2. Insert your USB drive into your computer.

  3. Open balenaEtcher.

    Balena Etcher Dashboard
  4. Click “Select Image” and select the .iso file you just downloaded.

  5. Click “Select Target” and select your USB drive, checking the size to make sure it’s the correct drive.


    BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you have selected the correct target flash drive. Whatever target you select will be COMPLETELY ERASED!!

  6. Click “Flash!”. You may be asked to approve the unusually large disk target and/or enter your password. Both are normal.

  7. After this completes, you may remove the newly flashed drive from your computer, and insert it into the device you intend to install StartOS onto.

  8. Plug the USB drive into the device and power on. Follow the on-screen instructions to Install StartOS (use “Re-Install” to preserve data, or “Factory Reset” to wipe the device). After install is complete, you will be prompted to remove your USB drive.


    Always prefer the fastest available USB 3.0+ port - typically this is blue or labeled “SS” (SuperSpeed)


    Occasionally, you may need to make some changes in your BIOS, such as turning off Secure Boot, or allowing USB boot for install. See the Community Hub for guides or to get help.

  9. Finally, continue to the Initial Setup, Manual Update, or Reset Password instructions - depending on your need.