12 Best Bootable USB Creation Tools / Software

01 March, 2012

Creating and using bootable USB devices for installing new operating system have many advantages over installing from bootable DVD. 
The USB drive is 
  • Easy to create, erase and reuse.
  • Can install multiple OS on same USB at a time.
  • Faster booting and installation speed.
  • Portable and easy to handle. 
  • Using the bootable USB for testing Live Linux OS, you can install temporary software.
  • Preparing the Bootable usb drive is easy and straight forward and any of these 12 software can make your device ready within 5 minus and 2 clicks.
12 Best Bootable USB creation tools software
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.

Windows 7, 8.1 and now Windows 10 technical preview can be easily installed from bootable usb. 

1. Rufus
 
If you don't want to hunt for separate tool for every operating system to test this is for you. Rufus is a simple and easy to use It automatically detects your drive letter and capacity so you can easily identify which device you are formatting.


  • Select the appropriate drive, select file system (For Windows keep it NTFS) and give appropriate name .
  • Locate the 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 
  • Download Rufus

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....
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