USB pendrives are an excellent storage medium that, although they may seem obsolete today, actually are very useful . Since, it also has the ability to be used as an operating system installer, that is, they allow you to take an operating system with you to use it on other computers .
Also, these devices give you the ability to test alternative systems in yours and even run some necessary applications such as antivirus, system tools, rescue applications and other things, before loading the operating system Taking into account that, they are fast and safe.
Now, in this post we want to focus on what is a bootable USB and the ways that exist to create it, being self-executing from ISO images to to install operating systems . This, based on free programs and applications that simplify this process.
What is a bootable or bootable USB and what utilities does it have?
In computer terms, the word “ boot ” means “ boot “, so a bootable USB can also be called as a “ USB boot ”and from there, the Spanishization of the word boot, by making use of the term“ booteable ”to refer to it. Basically, these types of devices have the ability to run on a computer, automatically, without the prior requirement of having an operating system installed on a mandatory basis.
Then, once it is decided to create a bootable USB, it is necessary to have three essential things for it. The first of all and the most important, is an ISO image that usually refers to the files used to be able to save an exact copy of a file system of an optical drive.
That is, therefore, one of these images is required to have a copy of the CD or DVD of a specific operating system or an application. With which, later it can be installed in the USB pendrive to boot it directly from there.
In addition to that, the executable USB itself is also required . For this, you should verify that you have enough space to store the ISO image, which means that you must have at least 4 GB capacity . Luckily, at present, the storage capacity of such devices is not a problem. But, apart from that, you should also take care that the unit has the highest possible speed , this can be a USB 3.0, instead of a USB 2.0.
Now, thirdly, it requires a program or application that is designed to create a bootable USB , once the ISO image is installed on the USB you want to use for this. Today, there are many tools for this in the market and it is necessary that you make use of those that reveal the best performance. In fact, we will present you 12 of the most optimal programs and apps to create a bootable USB both in Windows, as well as in Mac OS and GNU / Linux.
But is it better NTFS or FAT32 for bootable USB?
In most cases, when creating a bootable USB, the most relevant question is the type of format that should be used for it and, although it is a somewhat complex question, it is Timely to know what each thing is about and from that, make a decision depending on your requirements.
That way, here’s what we tell you about NTFS and FAT32:
- NTFS : This consists of a file system used by Windows, which makes use of a master file table in which metadata is stored and therefore allows a faster data access . Being so sophisticated, it is the most common today. Taking into account that, it also allows you to manipulate files up to 4GB and partitions equal to 2TB.
- FAT32 : This is a universal file system , So any operating system can read it and this is your main advantage. Although it was previously used by Windows, it is now replaced by NTFS, because it has limitations with file sizes and partitions, and usually corrupts files.
The 12 best programs and tools to create an ISO in Windows , MacOS and Linux
As we indicated, one of the main requirements to create a bootable USB in any operating system is to have a specific program or application to do it. This is why, here we provide a detailed list of the 12 best programs and tools you can use for it , free of charge.
Taking into account that, some are compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux, but others only support one of these systems:
To start, we will refer to the most used software to create a bootable USB, thus being one of the main industry references . Which, it is a free program, very simple to use and is compatible with both Windows and GNU / Linux. In addition to this, it is translated into Spanish and thanks to the fact that is portable, it does not need installation .
In this sense, Rufus is presented as a small installer that has excellent options for the partition scheme, cluster size, file system and also in reference to the type of boot to proceed to create. This also serves to create a bootable USB where changes are saved for the next session s. It is valuable to note that, Rufus is highly recommended when you are going to install any operating system on machines with BIOS or UEFI.
Now, when you decide to run this program on your computer, you must choose the pendrive where you are going to install the ISO image. Subsequently, you have to select that ISO that has been previously downloaded , then you can give a name to the pendrive (volume label) and, finally, click on the CD player icon located in the top, so start loading the ISO image .
It refers to another of the best solutions to create a bootable USB on Windows, Mac OS and Linux computers. Thus, it is a free program that, although it has been operating for a long time, its quality remains intact and thanks to this, it is used by millions of users.
Thus, it has the ability to create a bootable USB Live from your computer, making use of the distributions by downloading CD image files to you or by using a ISO image that you have obtained yourself , previously.
Which means that, UNetbootin has a long list of sources for the same tool to download the ISO automatically , before being placed on the USB. I need to note that, among these sources, is Ubuntu. In addition to this, it stands out for being a program very easy to use .
In reference to the process to follow, you first have to choose the ISO file or a distribution to download, then select the destination disk that will be “USB Memory” , in this case and once After the process, restart the computer.
Now, there may be the situation that your USB device is not shown and then, you must format it in FAT32 and boot from the USB disk (in Windows and Linux, you have to press “ F12 ”after turning on the computer and on Mac, press and hold“ Option ”before the system starts).
In case you want or need to create a USB with multiple ISO images inside different operating systems s, Yumi is the main application for this. Therefore, it is estimated as another of the best options to perform these processes and, well, it is the reference in terms of specialization to create USB multiboot units. That is to say, with this program, you can install several operating systems in the same storage unit. To do this, have the ease of selecting which of these you want to use at any given time.
That way, through Yumi you can enter different GNU / Linux distributions and also combine them with Windows to boot them and use them on any PC. You can also have bootable operating systems like Ubuntu at the same time. But for this, you must verify that the USB device has enough space to save all these files, without any limitation.
Thus, it is valuable to note that Yumi is only compatible with Windows and Linux . Where, in addition to creating a bootable USB, it also allows you to obtain disk cloning , antivirus utilities, diagnostic tools and many more.
Except for some distributions, all files are stored within the multi-boot folder , so it allows you to have a fully organized portable multi-boot USB drive that can also be used for other purposes.
It is another of the most complete solutions to create a bootable USB in Windows, Mac OS and GNU / Linux . Which is available in installable and portable versions, as in 32-bit and 64-bit versions (in the case of Windows computers).
In this way, it is characterized by being a free and open source application that simplifies the recording of ISO images, as well as IMG and other formats compressed directly to USB sticks and memory cards, With total security. As for its interface, it offers a very clean, simple and attractive design.
It has validation systems to achieve avoid the creation of corrupt memories and facilitates the choice of the destination USB drive so that, in no way, you are wrong and erase a hard disk, by mistake. It also allows to record several memories simultaneously and is written in JS, HTML, Node.js and Electron, completely.
Now, detailing the copying process; This only consists of three s very simple steps to perform . The first one is to select the ISO image or any compatible format to load it into the program. Then, choose the destination unit to record the selected image and finally, click on “ Flash! ” to start recording.
ISO to USB
It is considered another ideal alternative to create a bootable USB only on Windows , because it does not have compatibility with either Mac OS or Linux. Given that, it is a small program and so far, little known. But well, its main feature is that it has the ability to burn the ISO image file to USB drives directly .
Which can be USB flash drives, memory cards and other variety of USB storage devices that have a good capacity. For its part, this free software does not have any portable version and that means that you must install it.
However, the installation process is very fast and simple. Among other details, it has a completely simple interface that, fortunately, any user can handle without any complications. Now, to proceed to burn the ISO file of interest, you simply have to select it within the platform, just like the destination USB drive.
Subsequently, click on the “ Record ” button and in just seconds, a USB will be created that adds all the data contained in the ISO image . Although in some cases it has left the USB of some users unused, the problem is easy to solve, just by going to the section “ Disk Management ” and on the disk that is identified with a color different from the others, press and select the option “ New simple volume ”.
Among other alternatives, we find this free, free and cross-platform software that is written in Python and allows you to create a USB multiboot pendrive, which means that it has the ability to install multiple distributions in Windows, Linux and also in specific versions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Mageia and SUSE. In addition to this, MultiBootUSB offers the possibility to uninstall distributions hosted on any USB.
In this sense, it is valuable to note that this program basically depends on the capacity of the pendrive . That is, he allows installing distros until the device runs out of space. These distros can be selected through the bootloader and it is a very fast and simple process. On the other hand, this tool has the option to test the USB or ISO image through QUEMU , without having to restart the computer or do some additional steps.
Now, to create a bootable USB, first of all, it is necessary that the device be formatted with FAT32 . After making sure, open the program and it will immediately detect the USB that are connected, for now select the ISO image of the distro you want to install and finally, click on the option “ Create ”to expect the software to do its job.
We also recommend using this application to create USB drives with multiboot. Best of all, it is not only limited to ISO image files, but for greater coverage, it allows you to use any other alternative format.
So it can be considered as one of the most complete programs in the entire list, taking into account that it is a tool full of many options for boot managers, file systems, syslinux, grub4dos, Emulator and QUEMU .
In addition to this, the program adds speed tests and also DiskDoctor, in order to check the status. As well as the previous option, it allows you to install several operating systems or several softwares on the same pendrive and this basically depends on the amount of space you have on the device. Therefore, the tool does not reveal any type of limitation during the entire process .
In reference to the process you must do to create a bootable USB , once you install this program, you have to open it and proceed to select the pendrive that you have already connected. Now, check the “ FAT32 ” box and two other selections that you can see in the first image. Afterwards, accept all the windows that come out next and when the process is finished, click on “ Install grub4dos ”, accept and finally, extract all Easy2Boot to the USB memory.
With a version for Windows and another for Linux, this application is another one of the most recommended to create a bootable USB easily and for free . Thus, it is a software written in Python and that initially was specially designed to simplify the installation of GNY / Linux distros. However, it has the ability to extract the image of the operating system that you want to copy to the USB from the original CD or DVD, from the ISO files and even, from a torrent .
Among other utilities, this program has the ability to create “persistent” installations of distributions based on in Ubuntu and Debian , so that documents are not lost or present errors after restarting the USB disk drive. You can also format flash drives larger than 32 GB .
For its part, the steps to perform a correct operation with this software, consist in selecting the USB drive where you are going to install the operating system, then choose the source you are going to use (ISO, for example), then select the type of file to use and finally create by clicking on the ray to start the installation .
Windows USB / DVD Download Tool
As the name implies, is an official Microsoft tool that was designed to allow you to create bootable USB, but only for Windows 7 and Windows 8. In this sense, the program gives the ease of copying the ISO of the operating system and this, basically, can be obtained with the electronic purchase in the Microsoft store, also to a DVD or to a USB device that is the alternative that interests us.
In this sense, it presents the need for using USB drives of at least 4 GB of absolutely free capacity in order to copy. Taking into account that, this software deletes any data that is stored in the unit, so it is necessary that you make a previous backup.
On the other hand, in reference to the process that must be followed, it is the simplest that all these tools show. Since, you simply have to choose the installation ISO for Windows 7 or Windows 8, after that, determine on which media you want to make the copy (It can be USB or DVD Drive) and finally, create the boot drive.