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Quick Tip

Show Progress of dd Command

This little trick lets you see the file transfer progress with the dd command.

Abhishek Prakash

Warp Terminal

The versatile dd command is often used for creating bootable USBs.

The problem here is that when the dd command is used for writing the contents of the huge ISO file to the USB disk, it takes time and it may seem like the command is hanged.

This problem can be overcome by displaying the progress of the running dd command.

You can show the file transfer progress by providing the status=progress flag to the dd command. Here's a pseudo command example of what it would look like:

sudo dd if=input_file_path of=output_file_path bs=4M status=progress

Let's see it in action with a practical example.

Example of showing dd command progress

By default, dd command doesn't show any transfer progress and it may confuse some people.

Let me share an example where I am making a live USB of Ubuntu Studio.

sudo dd if=ubuntustudio-23.10-dvd-amd64.iso of=/dev/sdb1 bs=4M

The input ISO file is around 5 GB in size and when I ran the dd command to create the live USB, it took approximately 20 minutes.

Now imagine that the dd command is running but you see the terminal in the below state for 20 minutes.

dd command running without showing any progress
dd command is running but shows no progress

Not a pretty sight because it may seem like the command is hanged. You have no idea how much data is transferred. Only when the command finishes, you can see the stats.

dd command finished running
The file transfer stats are shown when dd command finishes

Next, I ran the same command but this time, I added the status=progress flag to it.

sudo dd if=ubuntustudio-23.10-dvd-amd64.iso of=/dev/sdb1 bs=4M status=progress

Now, the dd command shows the file transfer status.

dd command shows file transfer progress

So it seems like something is happening and the screen is not blank like earlier. This is a much better user experience, in my opinion.

More on file transfer progress

That's why I recommend using the status=progress flag with the dd command always.

In fact, I recommend the same with rysnc command so that you can see the status of file transfer

Show File Transfer Progress With Rsync Command
By default, rsync doesn’t show any output while files are being transferred. Here’s how you can see the transfer status.

Not only that, you can even show the file copying status with the cp command.

Copy Files in Linux With Visual Progress
Want to see the progress of your file copying? Here are two ways to do that in the Linux terminal.
Abhishek Prakash