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ISO image to USB flash

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  • USB Flash
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July 6, 2007 6:28:21 PM

I am trying to find a way to take an ISO image of a bootable CD and make a bootable USB flash drive from it. Has anyone done this? I have found some linux versions that have an installer to put them on a USB flash drive but nothing to take the ISO file directly to the drive and it seems like it would be mainly just converting the ISO9660 file system to fat file system.

More about : iso image usb flash

a b G Storage
July 7, 2007 7:55:20 AM

Mount your bootable ISO to an image drive. For this example I will use drive D: as the image drive, and drive E: as the flash drive. This is the command you use to create an exact copy of a disk on to another volume.

xcopy D:\*.* E: /s/e/f

This can be used for instance, to copy the Vista DVD to an appropriately sized USB flash drive to install the OS from there. I have tested this at work a few times and it installs in about the same amount of time, but without the worry of caring for the DVD (scratches) or having problems with the lens in the DVD drive reading the data. I should also note however, that the flash drive I used was not the fastest out there (it was a 4GB Patriot Signature flash drive as shown here)
July 7, 2007 8:26:41 AM

Quote:
xcopy D:\*.* E: /s/e/f


You don't need /s if you have /e. Those are mutually exclusive. /f just shows you the files.

However, if any file has the hidden or system attribute set, you'll need /h as well.

I'm just not seeing how the above command would copy the boot sector.
Related resources
July 7, 2007 8:25:26 PM

that is correct xcopy does not copy boot sectors. At least not by default
June 20, 2008 4:17:19 PM

I was wondering, if this would be possible to use a hackintosh CD to place on a USB flash memory. For installation and booting. I ve been digging around how to get the USB to become bootable, but i haven't been able to copy all of the contents of the hackintosh Cd to the USB drive. Any help???
September 2, 2008 5:24:00 AM

What if i make the USB flash drive bootable first and then copy the image files to it. Will it work? will i need to edit the boot files. For instance, if i make the USB drive bootable with DOS, do i need to edit the autoexec and config files?
September 2, 2008 7:04:38 PM

I have tried the xcopy and it does not make the USB bootable. Please help! I am trying to get the USB version of the BackTrack 3 Final for my networking class! what should I do in order to make that USB bootable? Also, I was wondering if I could use an ISO burner to burn it to a Flash Drive.
November 14, 2008 7:11:30 AM

if your just trying to get BackTrack to boot from usb flash drive...no matter what the size....why not try to copy the BT and Boot directories into your usb flash drive's root and going into the boot directory to click the "Bootinst".bat....after that your usb should boot automatically as long as you set your bios to boot from your usb....short simple and sweet.
November 15, 2008 5:40:08 PM

Why not try unetbootin-windows-248.exe ? I find this program very helpfull in making different types of installation "cd`s" on a usb disk Works fine with all iso, img files that I have tried (a lot)
You can find the file on sourgeforge.net
Just start program, add ISO file you want to "burn" to usb disk, and it just works !

Regards Øyvind

December 12, 2008 3:12:01 AM

Actually,
The xcopy command does work. I don't think you can create a bootable USB stick in WinXP. Only Vista. At least I haven't been able to do it. It worked just fine for me in Vista. I made my flash drive bootable and copied the vista files from the DVD and now I have a bootable vista flash drive. I'm going to try to do the same with an ISO file on a cd of ShadowProtect. I hope it works. The instructions I found are these:

This operation assumes your machine can boot from a USB enabled device. Check your BIOS to make sure. You also MUST have a DVD copy of Vista to install the source files from the DVD to a USB flash drive:
1. Insert your USB flash drive and enter the following commands:
(please note this list assumes that your USB flash drive will be seen as disk 1. To confirm that it is type "list disk" after you've entered the DISKPART command) Otherwise you may wipe a different drive (such as your hard disk drive!)
2. Type:

diskpart
select disk 1
clean
create partition primary
select partition 1
active
format fs=fat32
assign
exit
At this point your USB drive is formatted. DO NOT format the drive from within Windows. You MUST have a DVD copy of Vista to copy the source files from.

The final preparation step is to copy the installation files to your flash drive, this can be done by running the following command:
(Please note D: is the drive letter for the source files and E: is the drive letter for your flash drive, if they are different on your system you need to change them accordingly).
Exit DISKPART. Type:

xcopy d:\*.* /s/e/f e:\

Thats it, configure usb device as primary boot device in your bios and install.
December 21, 2008 10:46:26 AM

Hi,
Just drop by here..
I think the solution is here . Use google translate to translate Indonesian to English.

It's a bit tricky, but it works. And they use it to install windows XP to a laptop with no CD-ROM (yes, these laptops exist, since they're so small :) .
March 18, 2009 6:12:55 PM

fairlane32 said:
Actually,
The xcopy command does work. I don't think you can create a bootable USB stick in WinXP. Only Vista. At least I haven't been able to do it. It worked just fine for me in Vista. I made my flash drive bootable and copied the vista files from the DVD and now I have a bootable vista flash drive. I'm going to try to do the same with an ISO file on a cd of ShadowProtect. I hope it works. The instructions I found are these:

This operation assumes your machine can boot from a USB enabled device. Check your BIOS to make sure. You also MUST have a DVD copy of Vista to install the source files from the DVD to a USB flash drive:
1. Insert your USB flash drive and enter the following commands:
(please note this list assumes that your USB flash drive will be seen as disk 1. To confirm that it is type "list disk" after you've entered the DISKPART command) Otherwise you may wipe a different drive (such as your hard disk drive!)
2. Type:

diskpart
select disk 1
clean
create partition primary
select partition 1
active
format fs=fat32
assign
exit
At this point your USB drive is formatted. DO NOT format the drive from within Windows. You MUST have a DVD copy of Vista to copy the source files from.

The final preparation step is to copy the installation files to your flash drive, this can be done by running the following command:
(Please note D: is the drive letter for the source files and E: is the drive letter for your flash drive, if they are different on your system you need to change them accordingly).
Exit DISKPART. Type:

xcopy d:\*.* /s/e/f e:\

Thats it, configure usb device as primary boot device in your bios and install.



I have a newer EliteBook 2530p that came without a CD/DVD drive. For those who think a laptop without The steps you listed above worked great for creating a bootable USB flash drive and copying the Vista DVD files. Vista is now reloaded on the laptop.

Thanks!
May 8, 2009 11:10:29 PM

UBCD2USB

why not only use this command script?? its almost as xcopy, but with bootable part and formatting..
And you have to reroute the bootfile since this loads an menu for many options...
May 17, 2009 10:42:37 PM

wow. perfect. work like a charm. thanx!
May 26, 2009 3:45:01 AM

cjl said:
Or, you could just use this:

http://downloads.sourceforge.net/unetbootin/unetbootin-...

Even though it says it is for linux, I have successfully used it for both Ubuntu and Windows 7 images, and it creates a perfect bootable USB key every time.


This worked perfectly. Nice tool with a very simple to understand interface.

Thanks!!

- Jeremy
June 1, 2009 9:41:51 PM

For the xcopy thing, I think it is xcopy (sourcedriveletter):\*.* /E/Q/H (usbdriveletter):\
--the /H copies hidden and system files
--the /E copies everything, including empty directory structure, and
--the /Q does NOT list every file copied, making it go a lot faster

Still seeing if it works for my Vista.... but thanks for the tips and information to the OP and the comment writers!
June 1, 2009 11:00:46 PM

Just confirming -- the DISKPART mentioned earlier, combined with XCOPY /E/Q/H between source and usb works fine. USB of Windows Vista booted fine when created on a Vista Machine from an ISO file.

No muss, no fuss. Thanks again!!
a b G Storage
June 1, 2009 11:20:35 PM

cjl said:
Or, you could just use this:

http://downloads.sourceforge.net/unetbootin/unetbootin-...

Even though it says it is for linux, I have successfully used it for both Ubuntu and Windows 7 images, and it creates a perfect bootable USB key every time.


Just like to add that it also works for any old 1.44MB floppy img too. I used it when updating all of my ST31000340AS from SD15 to SD1A firmware through a USB drive. Even though blank DVD is dirt cheap it creates necessary garbage so anytime I need to put a small img/ISO on something I use Unetbootin as well.
June 3, 2009 7:24:33 PM

wuzy said:
Just like to add that it also works for any old 1.44MB floppy img too. I used it when updating all of my ST31000340AS from SD15 to SD1A firmware through a USB drive. Even though blank DVD is dirt cheap it creates necessary garbage so anytime I need to put a small img/ISO on something I use Unetbootin as well.



I have an ISO image of XP Tablet edition. (2 discs, 2 ISOs actually). is there a way to use this program or something like it to combine the 2 images onto one USB stick?
June 5, 2009 7:35:04 PM

@jayedw3 First I want to ask something. Are both disks bootable? If not, then try this. Create an ISO of Disk 1. Then use a Program like WinISO to add the files and folders into the image.

Once done, you can use Unetbootin to create a bootable USB drive.

Good Luck!

Ed
June 6, 2009 8:15:15 PM

Ya know, I'm not sure if both are. I know the 1st is because i was able to install XP Tablet on 1 of 3 of my work machines. Problem is the other 2 don't have disc drives. I tried opening both images with Daemon Tools and copying the contents of the second disc into a folder on the first image, saving it as a new iso, and using Unetbootin to copy that to a flash drive. Tried booting to the flash drive and it stopped at what looks like the Unetbootin default screen saying "automatic boot in x seconds..." with a countdown from 10 that just repeats.

Any advice?
Anonymous
a b G Storage
June 21, 2009 2:05:54 PM

I have downloaded "unetbootin-eeeubuntu-windows-276.exe". Mount the windows Xp 64.iso into 2G USB thumb. Bios changed. After USB boot, only the menu of Unetbootini, with "defaults". Still can't boot wiyh USB? Pls. help
June 22, 2009 1:43:07 PM

unetbootin-eeeubuntu-windows-276.exe is a custom version of unetbootin-windows. The current version at the link I gave is 3.56, interface has been updated, and many bugs have been fixed, and is not a custom ported version.

Give it a shot and see if that fixes the issue for you, also there are archived version on the web page, you may want to try an older version of the non (eeebuntu) custom version.
June 23, 2009 6:35:53 PM

Forgive my ignorance. I too receive the Default option on the menu and get a kernal error. I am trying to load a WinPE ISO to a flash drive. I have tried the xcopy route and am getting boot errors on some PCs so thought I would try a different boot loader. I used the 3.56 version of unetbootin and specified the ISO image, but not luck. I am sure I am missing something simple, but do not know what it is. Thank you all for sharing.

Ron
Anonymous
a b G Storage
July 17, 2009 9:19:28 AM

Hai,

So you want to take an ISO and put it onto a flashdrive and boot from it?

Done this. Only works on some flashdrives though but takes seconds to test :) 

When it works you get 2 visible USB devices reported, a CDROM and a removable disk. You can even boot from the USB CDROM part as well which is why it works great for LiveCDs and stuff :) 


ok ok, the how to bit;

Grab yourself a copy of 'LPinstaller.exe' from the U3 website (This tool needs to 'see' your flashdrive, that is the test, no see no work).
Extract the content of the exe to a folder (I know, sounds odd but 7Zip works good)
Make a file in that folder called 'QA.INI' and add following lines
[QA]
LocalISOPath=C:\YourISO.iso
Run the main exe but you need to add 'local' as an option (i.e. "LPinstaller.exe local")

Once it is finished you should have your CD loaded onto your stick. Might be other ways but this is eeeeasy!
July 29, 2009 12:03:06 PM

This method is great... however I still have a query where I want to install Windows server 2003 R2 to do some testing. But the problem is Windows Server 2003 comes with 2 CD's which means I have 2 ISO's. How do I merge both and create one single ISO and then copy it to USB...

Suggestions highly appreciated...
July 30, 2009 9:46:45 AM

Hai,

2 Install disks? tricky...

Suggestions...

1. See if you have an install DVD handy rather than the CDs (I remember having both in an OEM box before only seeing the DVD after using the CDs as it was the bottom of the pile)

2. I think just adding the contents of CD2 into the ISO image of CD1 should work ok, not sure if it would have a problem with the size of the data (Though if putting it on a flashdrive you are not limited by the physical CD medium so it might work ok) Lots of ISO editing programs around, just make sure you keep the bootable part. (I think somebody already suggested that along with "unetbootin" - this might also work just as well.)

3. If 2 does not work you might need to try and master your own bootable DVD using all the files from CD1 and CD2, the bootable part is tricky but if you google for "slipstreaming service packs" most of the top links will lead to explanations on how to copy the bootable part of an install disk...assuming the CD and dvd boot parts work the same...[scratches head]


Or, you could look further up this
Anonymous
a b G Storage
August 23, 2009 9:33:25 PM

jepling1 said:
I have tried the xcopy and it does not make the USB bootable. Please help! I am trying to get the USB version of the BackTrack 3 Final for my networking class! what should I do in order to make that USB bootable? Also, I was wondering if I could use an ISO burner to burn it to a Flash Drive.

theres something called gnome partition editor, i cant remember where i found it, but it lets you change partitions(duh) and change whether its bootable (in the "flags" section)
August 30, 2009 7:18:50 AM

bantha3 said:
I have a newer EliteBook 2530p that came without a CD/DVD drive. For those who think a laptop without The steps you listed above worked great for creating a bootable USB flash drive and copying the Vista DVD files. Vista is now reloaded on the laptop.

Thanks!


i have used your prcedure but it is giving an error

please change the disk
press any key to restart

August 30, 2009 10:06:37 AM

Copied from my thread since no one have the answer, so i just proceed here then.
Quote:
Hello all. I have read the "ISO image to USB flash" thread and tried to do the "xcopy" to copy my windows image to a USB flash. Unfortunately, i have failed coz it said not enough space. However it's a formatted 2GB flash drive, and should be enough since the ISO is only 707MB. But i've found that it's also impossible to burn it into a DVD using nero, still, the size is to blame. The only way to burn it into a DVD is by using MagicISO, which compressed the folder in extreme ratio to a 707MB size. Hence, it would be extremely big if i just extract the iso.
The size of ISO:

The size inside the ISO:

For a record, it's Wesmosis Windows XP SP2.5 The Final.
Ive also ried to use MagicISO instead but it's no use since MagicISO can only burn it into CD/DVD, not a USB Flash Drive. Any idea? Thanks in advanced.

Any suggestion guys?
September 25, 2009 8:05:48 PM

Quote:
I have downloaded "unetbootin-eeeubuntu-windows-276.exe". Mount the windows Xp 64.iso into 2G USB thumb. Bios changed. After USB boot, only the menu of Unetbootini, with "defaults". Still can't boot wiyh USB? Pls. help


I stumbled on here looking for a solution for to turn my bootable Ghost 11.5 ISO file into a bootable USB drive. I tried UNetbootin with the ISO file with the same results of seeing only the default screen. I then tried it again but using the IMG file I used for the boot image of the ISO. The previous files copied from the ISO were still on the USB drive so everything worked when I tested it. Is there a better method than this or is this the process?
Anonymous
a b G Storage
October 16, 2009 9:15:21 PM

SpecOps said:
I stumbled on here looking for a solution for to turn my bootable Ghost 11.5 ISO file into a bootable USB drive. I tried UNetbootin with the ISO file with the same results of seeing only the default screen. I then tried it again but using the IMG file I used for the boot image of the ISO. The previous files copied from the ISO were still on the USB drive so everything worked when I tested it. Is there a better method than this or is this the process?



Can you elaborate on what you mean by using the IMG file you used for the boot image of the ISO? I am not entirely sure what IMG file you are referring to. Is this a Ghost specific thing? I used a free utility to create my XP ISO from the disk, and installed the image on my USB using unetbootin. I get only the default unetbootin menu with no OS on the list to install.
October 19, 2009 5:45:07 AM

guyverjab said:
I was wondering, if this would be possible to use a hackintosh CD to place on a USB flash memory. For installation and booting. I ve been digging around how to get the USB to become bootable, but i haven't been able to copy all of the contents of the hackintosh Cd to the USB drive. Any help???


You could do it with the Disk Utility program in OSX. Just restore the image to the partition on the USB drive. The restore option tab is to the right of the list of drives.
October 19, 2009 7:44:08 PM

Quote:
Can you elaborate on what you mean by using the IMG file you used for the boot image of the ISO? I am not entirely sure what IMG file you are referring to. Is this a Ghost specific thing? I used a free utility to create my XP ISO from the disk, and installed the image on my USB using unetbootin. I get only the default unetbootin menu with no OS on the list to install.


My bootable ISO uses an image of a DOS disk to boot from. When I used UNetbootin with the "ISO" option and referenced the ISO file, I only saw the default screen. When I used UNetbootin with the "floppy" option and referenced the DOS IMG file, it worked.
October 23, 2009 7:59:19 PM

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Anonymous
a b G Storage
November 19, 2009 12:27:38 PM

Hi All,

Try UFDUtility tool.(may not support all USB sticks.) This is the exact software you need for a bootable USB. Just make an iso file and click the boot manager, click the browse button and find the folder where you have saved the ISO file. Then just click "Burn" .

The software will build a virtual cd driver in your usb and will make it bootable.

just change your bios settings to boot fom USB and enjoy. Some motherboards may not recognise the second partition and will not boot. I'm not sure how to solve this.

P.S. Before using the UFD Utility, you will have to format your usb with the " HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool "to make it bootable.

You can also burn a bootable XP PE on your USB with this software. For details of bootable mini Operating Systems check www.winbuilder.net

Just use google for the mentioned softwares.
December 3, 2009 6:15:25 PM

this last post when googled comes back sometimes as a listed trojan. beware
Anonymous
a b G Storage
December 14, 2009 12:32:01 PM

Lyke said:
This Boot an ISO from a USB Flash Drive tutorial worked perfect for me.


sry for me English. is the most easy way I saw. I have 1 problem in haw i access the cd in dos mode. I can install xp, any type of live windows but I can’t see dos mode. Any suggestion?
January 8, 2010 4:25:02 PM

The_Prophecy said:
Mount your bootable ISO to an image drive. For this example I will use drive D: as the image drive, and drive E: as the flash drive. This is the command you use to create an exact copy of a disk on to another volume.

xcopy D:\*.* E: /s/e/f


This is useless since it just copies some files, and not the bootloaders.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
January 10, 2010 11:20:15 AM

Where I can download the UFDUtility? Thanks.





Quote:
Hi All,

Try UFDUtility tool.(may not support all USB sticks.) This is the exact software you need for a bootable USB. Just make an iso file and click the boot manager, click the browse button and find the folder where you have saved the ISO file. Then just click "Burn" .

The software will build a virtual cd driver in your usb and will make it bootable.

just change your bios settings to boot fom USB and enjoy. Some motherboards may not recognise the second partition and will not boot. I'm not sure how to solve this.

P.S. Before using the UFD Utility, you will have to format your usb with the " HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool "to make it bootable.

You can also burn a bootable XP PE on your USB with this software. For details of bootable mini Operating Systems check www.winbuilder.net

Just use google for the mentioned softwares.

January 12, 2010 1:35:19 PM

tribbettr said:
Forgive my ignorance. I too receive the Default option on the menu and get a kernal error. I am trying to load a WinPE ISO to a flash drive. I have tried the xcopy route and am getting boot errors on some PCs so thought I would try a different boot loader. I used the 3.56 version of unetbootin and specified the ISO image, but not luck. I am sure I am missing something simple, but do not know what it is. Thank you all for sharing.

Ron


Make sure you format the flash drive as NTFS (Not FAT32)
I had the same problem because my USB stick was formatted FAT32.
Reformatted it as NTFS, ran unetbootin (276 or 377) and it booted fine.
January 20, 2010 1:56:18 AM

Hey I was just wondering if I could use a portable hd instead of a flash drive. I tried formatting it with fat32 but it says the volume is too large. almost done formatting simple disk and I don't know if I would use xcopy in command prompt to copy the dvd or if I should just extract the iso with power iso or similar onto the freshly formatted drive. I'm going to try the first idea first then the latter. I'll let you know how it goes.
January 21, 2010 5:26:25 PM

Lyke said:
This Boot an ISO from a USB Flash Drive tutorial worked perfect for me.


Thanks for this. It worked great. BootMyISO is a great idea and is the best solution that I have found. Just drag and drop the ISO onto your USB stick, updated the grub menu with notepad++ to add to the boot menu, and you can boot multiple ISOs from one stick. Was able to flash my Intel SSD with this tool on my netbook without any issues.
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