Ubuntu – Installing with USB 3.0 on 17.10 or 18.04 gives (initramfs) unable to find a medium containing a live file system


This happens on both my desktop and my laptop.

There's an issue detecting USB installers on distros newer than 16.04 when using USB 3.0+ ports and USB 3.0 installation media.

It's related to the USB controller not detecting the live installation media even after successfully booting into the USB device from BIOS.

Regardless if the USB is plugged into a 2.0 or 3.0 port and whether or not the USB key is 2.0 or 3.0.

If your BIOS is unable to disable 3.0 USB support then you're out of luck except for the final workaround below.

Best Answer

Here's a set of potential fixes:

  • Change the boot mode to AHCI
  • hit X at the GRUB bootloader screen and change live splash to nomodeset
  • If it's a USB 3.0 USB make sure you use a USB 3.0 port
  • If the USB 3.0 USB isn't working - try a USB 2.0 port
  • If that still doesn't work - try a USB 2.0 key in a USB 2.0 port
  • If you have no USB 2.0 ports try going into the BIOS and disabling USB 3.0 at the BIOS level
  • If your BIOS doesn't have that setting try using a USB extension cable to downgrade the link to USB 2.0
  • If you can't do any of that, then congratulations you're just as stuck as I was for many many hours

Finally if none of those work, then you can try an answer I found after a ton of digging located here:


In essence, when it looks like Ubuntu is waiting for the USB stick to be present to read from you can unplug the USB stick and replug it back into the same slot. This fixed the issue for me 100%.