USB 2.0 has been around forever, and everything supports it, but it’s notoriously slow. You’ll be much better off making the upgrade to USB 3.0 since the prices have dropped dramatically, and the speed increases are enormous… you can get 10x the speed.
And speed really matters when you’re making a boot drive.
Editor’s Note: We use this Silicon Power USB 3.0 drive here at How-To Geek, and at $15 for a 32 GB version, it’s well worth the upgrade. You can even get it in sizes up to 128 GB if you want.
Don’t worry about compatibility, these faster drives are fully compatible with an old USB 2.0 system, you just won’t get the speed boosts. And if your desktop computer doesn’t support USB 3.0 you can always upgrade it to add support.
Ubuntu recommends the Universal USB Installer for creating bootable Linux USB drives on Windows. This tool can create bootable disc images for many different Linux distributions.UNetbootin is another popular alternative.
Download the Linux distribution you want to use in .ISO form. Run the tool, select your desired distribution, browse to your downloaded ISO file, and choose the USB drive you want to use. The tool will do the rest.
You can use similar tools on Linux. For example, Ubuntu includes a Startup Disk Creator tool for creating bootable Ubuntu USB drives. UNetbootin also runs on Linux, so you can use that too.