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How to create a bootable USB drive

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Technically you cannot burn an image to a USB stick however what you can do is extract the files from the image and copy them to a bootable USB drive.

Doing this is very simple. There are a number of different free programs you can use to do it.

On windows there are lots of free programs available to download to burn to a CD however fewer allow you to write an image to a usb stick.

Below I will explain how to create a bootable USB drive:


This is my favorite program for this task as it has lots of options and does not require installation.
I will explain how to create a bootable USB drive using this.

When you start up Rufus any pen drives you have plugged in to the computer should automatically appear in the Device box at the top. You can plug in a USB stick and it will find it after a couple of seconds-without you having to restart the program.

  1. Leave the second box as it is and chnage the third one to NTFS.

  2. Leave the cluster size as default and change the volume label to whatever you want to call it.

  3. After you have done that make sure the check-box saying 'Create a bootable disk using:' is checked and select ISO Image. Then click the little button on the right of it to choose your ISO image.

  4. If you want to see what's happening during the process click the log button at the bottom.

  5. Now you can click Start and hopefully your USB drive should be formatted and the ISO should be extracted to it.

  • Here are some other programs you can use:
    This is just for extracting the ISO. You will need to format the drive as well.


    In Linux you can use the dd command to create a bootable usb drive:

    1. sudo dd if=/iso/file.iso of=/dev/sdb

    *Make sure you replace sdb with whatever node your usb drive is*

    In some Linux operating systems there is a program called Startup Disk Creator which you can use to create a bootable USB flash drive however I will not add any instructions as it is very straight forward to use.

    On a mac you can create a bootable USB drive from the command line also using the dd command.

    First, in a terminal window, you will need to convert the iso file to an img file using hdiutil
    like so:
    1. hdiutil convert -format UDRW -o ~/path/to/img/file.img ~/path/to/iso/file.iso

    You can find out the usb drive name by running
    1. diskutil
    before you plug it in and then running it again after you plug it in and see what has changed.

    *Make sure you replace disk1 with whatever your usb drive is e.g. disk2 or disk3 etc*

    Then you can run the dd command:
    1. sudo dd if=/path/to/img/file.img of=/dev/disk1 bs=1m

    When this is done you can unmount the disk with:
    1. diskutil eject /dev/disk1

    Can't find your answer ? Ask !