March 1, 2012

12 Best Bootable USB Creation Tools / Software

As flash memory devices are getting cheaper and are easier to handle, the circular old optical disks are becoming rare. Using flash memory devices like USB pen drive or portable hard disk as bootable media for your computer have dual advantage. The USB drive is more portable, easy to handle and you can easily erase them and then use it for other purpose. Also, you can easily use the same memory stick to test multiple operating systems and preparing them a bootable disk takes very less time as compared to the traditional compact disks. Having a Live USB key is better than just using a Live CD because you can even save your data and install software on USB key itself.
Use the options of operating systems are increasing, you can't control yourself to test various versions and platforms such as Windows 7, Windows 8, Android Live OS, various flavors of Linux like Ubuntu, Mint, Mandriva and many more.
Most of the Linux operating systems can be easily tested by creating a ‘Live’ disk which gives you a complete experience of the full operating system without installing anything on your hard disk.

Also Windows OS also leaps fast inversions and if you want to test all of them, creating a bootable USB drive is more convenience and wise idea. So here are the best software to create bootable USB drive or pen drive that you can use to make your pen drive a bootable drive and then use it as an installation medium to try a new operating system.

1. Rufus
 
If you don't want to hunt for separate tool for every operating system to test and it claims to be a fastest tool available on the internet. Rufus is a simple, straight forward and simple to use tool. It is as simple as a USB format tool finds in every Windows operating system.


  • You just run the Rufus and it will automatically scan your available USB ports for connecting media and show the detected USB drive names. 
  • Select the appropriate USB drive, select file system to use on a flash drive, give appropriate name and show the path to ‘bootable’.ISO image of your targeted operating system. 
  • ISO image on your hard disk must be a valid bootable image because Rufus scan the image before you load it. If you get any error, just uncheck ‘Create bootable disk’ option. 
  • Rufus can be used to create bootable USB drive for All Windows versions and all Linux distros. 
  • + fast, easy, run without installation. 
  • - Nothing 

2. WinToBootic

  • Again a basic tool with minimum option. Just drag and drop your .ISO image or click on ‘drop ISO here’ icon. 
  • It will auto detect your USB media, you just have to hit the ‘Do It’ button, WinToBootic will do the everything rest. 
  • + minimal interface, run without installation. 
  • - Does not support Linux

3. RMPrepUSB

It's all in one tool, but too much difficult with a clutter of options and settings. If you don't know what are you doing, don't use it. This is for advanced user and I personally do not recommend it if you just want to write a bootable USB disk and test a new operating system. But if you tweak that want boot loader, change filesystem filesystem, then RMPrepUSB is for you. 
  • The special feature of RMPrepUSB is you can create a partition in USB drive just like you do on your hard disk making it more useful for saving files plus using the same drive as a separate folder for storing files. 
  • This keeps your files separate from the operating system files. 
  • + For advanced users. 
  • - Difficult to use 
  • Support all OS.

4. Universal USB Installer

Univarsal USB Installer
Universal USB Installer
Though the name is Universal, this is a specialized tool for Linux and have a predefined list of most of the Linux distributions available. When you select the Linux distribution from the drop down menu, it provides a link for homepage of that distribution from where you can directly download the Linux distribution. If you already have on local disk, just browse to the ISO disk and select the appropriate USB flash drive to make it bootable for your favorite Linux distribution.
The extra feature of Universal USB Installer is that you can prepare a Live antivirus rescue disk using it. A special option for this is also given for reuse CD.
+ Specialized menu for Linux, also support Window 7

Download Universal USB Installer

5. YUMI

Yumi (Your Universal Multiboot Installer) is a special tool from the developer of   Universal USB Installer except it has a special feature of installing more than one operating system in one USB drive without formatting it.

Download YUMI

6. UNetbootin

  •  This tool is an exact clone of Universal USB installer or you can also say Universal USB installer is a clone of UNetbootin. 
  • No any difference is found in this software and this is also specialized to create a bootable USB for any Linux distribution. 
  • If you are not using Windows as your host operating system, then UNetbootin is an option to go for. UNetbootin is available for Linux, iOS and Windows. 
  • So if you are using Linux, most of the software's listed here will not run where UNetbootin will come to help.
 
7. Linux Live USB Creator (LiLi)

This is really a great eye candy plus an excellent user interface. Apple style website with everything at right place and well categorized. The software is also excellent. 
  • The special feature called built-in Virtualization allow users to run the installed Linux operating system without restarting the Windows which are an exclusive feature of LiLi. 
  • If you are concerned only about Linux you must go for this.

8. Koala

The koala is also a tool that will help you to boot new operating system from USB stick. This is not a tool that will allow you to browse an ISO file stored on your hard disk and write it to the USB drive. Koala only scans CD / DVD drive to find.ISO images of Linux OS. Not recommended.

 9. WinSetUp From USB

WinSetup From USB
This is also a tool for those who want to install multiple operating system on one USB device.
WinSetup From USB let you install Windows 7, Windows vista, any Linux distribution using Ubuntu variant and any Linux distribution using SysLinux one single USB device.
  • This is an exclusive function of Win Setup From USB and you must download it and give a try. When you prepare the USB drive using ‘WinSetup From USB’ you will be presented with the list of operating systems installed on the thumb drive and select the preferred operating system to boot from. 
  • Though the interface is simple, non expert users may find it difficult to use.   
  • Download WinSetUp From USB
10. WinUSB Maker

This is more that just a bootable USB creation tool, though you can use it for that also. This is a special tool that will allow you to clone hard disk partition  on your portable memory device like USB thumb drive or portable hard disk.

 WinUSB maker copies exact partition of your local hard disk along with the boot files and file structure. You can also restore the saved partition from the USB device to your hard disk making it useful as a backup tool. This is a must have tool for everyone. We have already discussed about this earlier here.



11. XBoot
This is more than just a bootable USB maker. You can create a rescue CD or a disk having multiple operating systems or tools like antivirus rescue CD. It combines multiple tools in ISO image making it more useful than just a USB creating tool. XBoot can create ISO image from files and then write these files to USB drive for booting or installation. 

Download XBoot here

12. Windows Bootable Image Creator 

This is a straight forward and ultra small tool that accomplishes its job as you expect. It has a super simple interface and minimum buttons to avoid confusion of new users. This is a tool from AskVG.



 
There are only basic buttons and only one task to do. Just create a bootable USB drive to install or try new operating systems. I wonder how it is so small and light. It is just 160KB in size.

Download Windows Bootable Image Creator


Other Tools

There are other tools like Novicorp WinToFlash, Passcape ISO Burner, Windows official USB disc creation tool, Ubuntu startup disc creator and Flash Boot.
  • Novicorp WinToFlash is also a tool that will help you to recover deleted boot loader apart from creating a bootable flash drive. 
  • Passcape ISO burner is also a simple and small utility to create bootable USB drive. 
  • Windows official USB creation tool is an official tool to create a bootable USB drive to install downloaded Windows 7 and Windows 8 ISO images without burning it to traditional discs.
  • The Ubuntu startup disc is also a tool for Linux fan boys. 
  • FlashBoot is a bit tool having around 24 MB is download size. It has more options than any other tool, but is actually a paid tool, but anyone can use it for free. The drive prepared with FlashBoot free version can be used only for 30 days from date of creation and then you have to format it and recreate the drive. It has more options like log-in password recovery of any Windows OS like Windows XP, 7 and 8, extract Windows XP recovery console from Windows disc. It claims that drive prepared with FlashBoot 99.99% of computers, even if your computer BIOS does not have the option to boot from USB drive.
  • If you want to try out Google Chromium Operating system, you have to use a recommended open source tool Image Writer for Windows. It is also a small but useful too without any garbage features. A simple and straight tool.

Verdict:
  • If you want an all in one, plain and simple tool to boot your Windows or Linux from USB pen drive, go for 'Rufus'.
  • If you want a Linux Specialist, 'LiLi' is a good choice.
  • 'WinSetup From USB' is for installing multiple OS in one USB drive and 'RMPrep USB' is for making partition in USB drive along with Windows.
  • If you want to clone a complete partition with OS 'WinUSB Maker' is the best choice.
What you think? I would like to hear from You. Please comment if you want to say anything....
Author : Pravin
TopTrix, Updated at: 3/01/2012 12:55:00 AM

46 comments :

  1. Have a look at Sardu. With it, you can create a multi bootable USB drive that has Linux and Windows.

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  2. I will not take advice from articles that don't clearly publish the date of the article written, The info is usually old and useless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for the reply. You are correct. I should display the date of article. But dont want to hide the date of publication. The blogger date has a problem with SEO which create multiple and duplicate description tag. that is the reason to disable the date. But still the I will try to find a different way.

      Delete
    2. I'm trying to install KolibriOS, the world's lightest and fastest OS. But I don't understand the technical stuff on their forum. I'd appreciate if you could make an article with a runthrough of what needs to be done for USB booting.

      Delete
    3. Hi, I will try to help you for sure. I have downloaded the OS and trying to install it using various USB booting software listed above. as soon as I succeed i will let you know.

      Delete
    4. Well? Any progress on KolibriOS?

      Delete
    5. Hi. I tried to install all the tools listed above. But the problem is that, as per the forums of the developer of KolibriOS, It is not a Linux OS at all and a completely different built so the all these tools will be of no any use. But as per the same forum the procedure is too simple.
      You just have to extract the downloaded archive and copy and paste all the files to a formatted usb drive. This will surely make your drive boot to KolibriOS.

      Delete
    6. Copied the operating system onto a formatted pendrive, didn't work.
      Set Master Boot Record on a formatted pendrive and tried again, didn't work.
      Downloaded the ISO version of the OS called "svn2978-iso". Used YUMI, selected the ISO file and it booted in 3 seconds.

      Thanks for helping.

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Used Rufus to create bootable Xp USB and it worked like charm!!!
    Thanks for nice article

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome. Rufus is really a great software that can be used by anyone, newbie as well as advanced user to create a bootable usb drive.

      Delete
  5. Hi.
    There are also multiboot programs that allows you to have several bootable isos at once and choose which one to boot from.
    * Yumi, very good.
    * Xboot, I think Yumi works better but this one allows you to emulate the booting process from Windows.

    Anyway, sometimes other tools work better.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Yumi is really a good tool. I will surely include it. Thanks for the information. Will try the Xboot also.

      Delete
  6. Windows 7 SBB Tool, Passcape ISO Burner and Novicorp WinToFlash are another great tools. Well thanks Pravin for listing all the useful tools. I have used Rufus among all these. It is working beautifully for me.

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  7. You may add SUSE Studio ImageWriter to the list.

    You can find the download link here: http://en.opensuse.org/SDB:Live_USB_stick

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    Replies
    1. Hi, the tool is more of Linux world, so not yet used it, but will surely try it. Thanks for the information.

      Delete
  8. Hello and thanks for this article. I would like to know if Rufus is good for installing a bootable usb window xp intall. I used Rufus and it formatted my 8 GB usb then copied the XP iso into it. The whole operation went very well. But when booting using my prepared usb I got a hal.dll error message. Please help. Thank you.

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  9. everithing is good, i think...

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  10. Maybe I prefer Rufus. however, wintobotic is good although it can't run in linux. but, with wine, you can do it

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  11. hey guyz which one iz da best for win8?? i need that one plz..

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  12. hhey guyz which one iz da best for win8.. i need that one..

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    Replies
    1. If you want a straight forward way, use Rufus. Its the best.

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  13. What about LinuxLive USB Creator?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Benn, that is already included in the post. It is also called as LiLi. Short for Live Linux USB.

      Delete
  14. Hi, Thanks for the reviews

    I have a windows PC with a virus. I was thinking I would make a bootable USB with antivirus software, boot and then clean the hard drive.

    Which of this USB utilities do you think would work best? Or do you have another suggestion.

    Thanks a lot

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  15. Thanks a lot man.. Top 1 worked. Installed my windows.

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  16. I THINKS YOU'VE FORGOT TO PUBLISH ULTRA ISO TOO ; )

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    Replies
    1. Hi, I think Ultra ISO is a paid software and we have included only the completely Free applications and not the trial versions. That is why, Ultra ISO is not in the list.

      Delete
  17. So useful! Keep works to reduce complexity! Thank you from Indonesia.

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  18. Nice post! ISO2Disc is my favorite USB creating tool.

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  19. Tried a few of them but YUMI did the job ! :)

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  20. IHi I am looking for easy way to remove additional(unused and corrupt) operating system from my pc..everytime i boot my system i get 4 option to choose my operating system..all windows xp.. I am currently booting from drive E...also my D drive got 2 windows files and c drive 1 file .. all these are basically error and non usable...kindly advise how to remove it without affecting the system..thanks---Jay

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  21. Hi, my pc has got more than 1 operating system(windows xp) due error...i want to get rid of inactive operating system,,advise me the easy way...i currently boot from drive E. which is ok.. i want to delete corrupt windows file from drive C(1 windows) and D(2 windows)...I dont want my pc to get hanged again..kindly advise me the safest way..thanks..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jay, better way is to delete and format those partitions C and D while you are installing the OS. You get that option when you install new OS.

      But if you already have installed it and you format the partitions now, you may get the boot partition not found error.
      I suggest you to install it once more and clean with deleting and formating the C and D drive.

      Delete
  22. For a multiboot USB drive checkout Easy2Boot on the RMPrepUSB website.

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  23. flash to win doesnt work in laptop

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  24. Thank you, this post was very useful as a reference.

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  25. It's a good article, but the reason I refused to "like" this site on Facebook (when the annoying pop-up asked it of me), and also the reason I may never use this site again, is because of little opportunistic tricks you play on your readers using links like the one you used for RUFUS in this article. There's a reason why things like...

    http://adf.ly

    ...are blocked by the HOSTS file managers (hpHosts, MVPSHosts, Peter Lowe's AdServers, etc.) and many anti-adware/anti-malware browser extensions and utilities.

    Shame on you for using it; it makes you and this site untrustworthy. If you cannot understand that, and why, then that, too, is part of the problem.


    __________________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
    Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for this your sharing,good....

    ReplyDelete