FREE Tools To Make Bootable USB Flash Drive Windows & Linux

USB flash drives are getting popular for two reasons: first for its cheaper prices and second its getting easier for everyone to carry even in the pocket (easy to handle). Previously we have share How To Create Bootable USB Pen Drive for Windows 7 and Bootable USB Pen Drive for Windows 8, but here we are sharing 5 tools to create bootable pen drive not only for Windows but also for Linux OS.

To use USB Pen drives instead of traditional CD/DVD drives because USB pen drive is more portable, fast in data transfer rate means install faster than DVD installation, easy to handle and you can format it then reuse it for your other purposes. Also you can put multiple operating systems in single USB flash drive instead of carrying 4-5 CD/DVD with you. Also CD/DVD got damaged easily than USB flash drive and to recover data from damaged CD/DVD is possible but time taking and annoying.

There are a number of softwares or tools available online to create your bootable pen drive for all Windows versions and Linux but we are going to cover here the easiest and popular tools.

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
Download WinToBootic

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.
Download RMPrepUSB

4. 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. Just browse to the ISO disk and select the appropriate USB flash drive to make it bootable.
The extra feature 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

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

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.
Download UNetbootin

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.
Download LiLi Creator

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.
Download Koala

9. 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 XP, Windows Vista, Windows 2000, Windows 7, Windows 10, 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.
Download WinUSB Maker

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.

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