Creating a Bootable USB Flash Drive In Windows

Not to be confused with creating a bootable USB flash drive for Windows, I’ll show you how, using Windows, you can quickly create a bootable USB flash drive for another operating system. I use USB flash drives quite often for doing installs, or booting to alternative operating systems for recovery or repair of peoples data or systems. While I use Linux for pretty much everything I do, I thought I’d take the time to show how to make one of these from Windows. It’s the first step to a series of posts I am planning to start working on in the near future. While you could use Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, or 8.1, to create a bootable flash drive, I chose my Windows 10 Install to do it.

First head on over to PassMark Software and download ImageUSB.

Next you’ll need an image to burn. You can burn any live DVD image (A DVD intended to be used for booting), but I’m going to demonstrate this using Proxmox since it fits into another project I’m working on. If you want to use this same image, you can download Proxmox from their site, if not you can download a file from Ubuntu, or Xubuntu, or any of the many other locations that offer live images. The goal is, have an ISO intended to create a CD/DVD to boot from.

After downloading and saving both the ISO image you will use, and the ImageUSB file, you’ll need to locate them both (usually in your Download folder). ImageUSB comes as a zip file, and will need to right click it, and extract it (In Windows 10 Right Click, select Extract All…). Doing so will create an ImageUSB folder.

Insert the USB flash drive you’re going to use. When you run ImageUSB it will look for one to be available for writing to.

Open the folder and double click the ImageUSB application to run it. You’ll have to give it privileges when Windows asks.

When the program finishes loading, select the USB stick you’ll use.

Select Write image to USB drive and ensure Post Image Verification is checked.

Next select the ISO file that you downloaded to write to the USB drive.

Finally click the Write button.

When you click Write a confirmation box will be displayed. Confirm your choices by clicking Yes.

Now is a good time to run to the bathroom, or grab a bite to eat. This can take a while. When it’s done, assuming it completes successfully, you’ll have a USB flash drive which can be booted from.

With so many various flavors of Linux providing live versions so you can “try it” this is a great way to check them out without messing up your machine. Having a bootable distro of Linux around is also a good tool when it comes to working with data on a failing, or failed system. Need to recover data from a hard drive because your brother ended up getting 50 viruses by going to porn sites? No problem, boot to a live CD and then back your data up to a backup drive.

Even if a porn addiction hasn’t destroyed your computer (yet), being able to use a USB flash drive to install a system, and then simply overwrite the flash drive for use with a different install disc is a very inexpensive way to complete different operating system Installs on various systems. I have used this method to recover much data, and install many machines over the years.


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