[How to] 6 easy ways to make a Bootable USB Flash Drive

Booting up computer from optical disc drive is a common and the most used option, but what if your optical drive is not responding or if your device doesn’t have an optical disc drive? USB devices like flash drive can save you in this case. If your PC’s motherboard and BIOS supports boot-up from a UBS device then you just have to create a bootable USB flash drive to install Operating Systems on your machine. Here I have listed 6 easiest ways to create a bootable USB flash drive.
Things you need –

  • A USB stick with a memory larger then the OS you want to install.
  • ISO image of your OS installer.
  • A computer running on Windows.

Once you have all of these you can proceed further. There are several free Windows applications that can do the job for you, but first lets see how to do this without using any of these. We will create a bootable USB device using command prompt on Windows.

  1. Using Windows Command Prompt to make a bootable USB flash drive

    Not the easiest way but useful for sure. Execute the following commands in the command prompt after you have inserted your USB device in one of your computer’s USB ports and you are done.
    Start the Command Prompt as an administrator.

    Please note that all existing data in your USE drive will be erased and they can’t be recovered again. So backup your data before you start.

    Format and prepare the USB flash drive for the job

    First command to execute is DISKPART. This will start the Disk Partition tool. Next execute the following commands.

    DISKPART> list disk                                 /* this will list all active disks connected to your computer*/ 
    DISKPART> select disk #                             /* change the # with the number for your USB flash drive */ 
    DISKPART> clean                                     /* deletes any existing partitions on the USB flash drive */ 
    DISKPART> create partition primary                  /* create a primary partition on the USB flash drive */ 
    DISKPART> select partition 1                        /* select the newly created partition */ 
    DISKPART> active                                    /* make the new partition active */ 
    DISKPART> format FS=NTFS                            /* format the USB drive with NTFS file system. This is good for larger files. This process will take some time depending on the size of the drive */ 
    DISKPART> assign                                    /* assign a volume and drive letter to the USB drive */ 
    DISKPART> exit                                      /* exit Disk Partition */
    
    Prepare USB flash drive for booting using command prompt

    Prepare USB flash drive for booting using command prompt

    Mount or Extract the ISO image on your computer

    It is not finished yet but you are almost there. Here you can either mount your ISO image using any ISO Image software like Magic ISO, Alcohol 120%, Power ISO etc. or just extract the ISO image on your hard disk using tools like WinRar or 7Zip.

    Make the Flash drive bootable

    Launch the command prompt with administrative rights and execute the following commands.

    I:                                /* enters I: drive where your ISO image is mounted */
    CD BOOT                           /* enters the boot folder of your mounted Image */
    bootsect /nt60 F:                 /* where F: drive is assigned to the USB flash drive */
    

    If you have extracted the ISO image on your disk then use these commands

    E:                                /* enters the E: drive */
    CD extracted_image_folder/Boot    /* extracted_image_folder is where you have extracted the ISO image */
    bootsect /nt60 F:                 /* where F: drive is assigned to the USB flash drive */
    

    You shall see the following screen now.

    Make the USB drive bootable

    Make the USB drive bootable

    Your device is now a bootable USB device. You have to just copy the rest of the folders and files to the device and you are done.

    Copy the files to the drive

    Use the following command to copy files to the device

    XCOPY I:*.* F: /E /F /H /* where I is the drive where you have mounted the ISO image and F drive is assigned to the USB flash drive*/
    

    That is it. Now you can boot and install the Operating System using your USB flash drive.

  2. Using Microsoft Windows 7 USB/DVD tool to make a Bootable USB flash drive

    Microsoft has release a utility tool named Windows 7 USB/DVD tool which creates bootable USB drives. This tool works on Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit).Download

    You must have Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installed on your computer to use this tool.

    Just attach your USB flash drive to your computer, launch the program, browse and select the ISO file and click on start. Your Bootable flash drive will be ready in minutes.

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool step 1 of 4

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool step 1 of 4

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool step 2 of 4

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool step 2 of 4

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool step 3 of 4

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool step 3 of 4

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool step 4 of 4

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool step 4 of 4

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool completed job

    Windows 7 USB DVD download tool completed job

  3. Using third-party softwares to make a Bootable USB flash drive

    Apart from Microsoft’s own USB booting solutions there are many other tools available in the market to do the same job. Most of them are free and extremely easy to use. The process to create a bootable USB flash drive is more or less the same in all of this tools. They are light-weight and works smoothly. All you have to do is Browse the ISO Image of your installer and click Start. Your bootable USB device will be in your hand within a few moments.
    Some of these free tools are

    1. WinSetupFromUSB: This tool is special because it can create multiboot USB flash drive.
      WinSetupFromUSB

      WinSetupFromUSB

      Download
    2. WinToFlash
      WinToFlash USB tool

      WinToFlash USB tool

      Download
    3. rufus
      rufus bootable UBS creation tool

      rufus bootable UBS creation tool

      Download
    4. WinUSB Maker
      WinUSB Maker screenshot

      WinUSB Maker screenshot

      Download

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