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How to “burn” ISO/img/cue+bin to USB drive?

I'm struggling with "burning" an ISO to a USB memory stick. I've come across many tools that accomplish this, sort of. A popular choice seems to be MultiBootISO. I've seen other applications that are quite similar, but there's a thing I don't understand with all of these - why do they require you to choose a specific ISO? Why cant they burn any ISO? If I had a CD or DVD and wanted burn an ISO, all I'd have to do is burn it. Simple as that. It would work. But for USBs, it seems like you have to specify a lot of things, as even the wizards ask for information about what you're burning. Why?

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marked as duplicate by Diago Oct 14 '10 at 21:11

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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This is not a discussion forum. This is a Q&A site for questions that can be answered. All this seems like is a rant. –  Diago Oct 14 '10 at 18:38
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I cannot answer it properly, so making a comment. Generally, the code necessary to boot from ISO and from USB are wildly different. Different bootloaders, different code needed to find OS files later. So you cannot just write the ISO on a pendrive--you need to modify it, and the necessary modifications really depends on the OS you want to boot--specific Windows version, specific kernel options, kernel modules and initrd code in case of Linux. –  liori Oct 14 '10 at 19:03
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@Diago, although it looks like a rant, it can be answered properly. –  liori Oct 14 '10 at 19:08
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@quano. Loose the rant. Put together a technical question, and it can be reconsidered. Contrary to other commenters I am not at all convinced there is a feasible answer to this question, and it is still just a rant. Why? doesn't mean it is a question. Improve the quality of the question, and don't treat Super User like a discussion forum, and we will be happy to accommodate the question. –  Diago Oct 14 '10 at 20:52
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@Diago: it's going to be a related/possible dupe superuser.com/questions/55989/… –  Sathya Oct 14 '10 at 21:01

1 Answer 1

ISO files are images of optical disks. In order to have the files on the disk boot on the USB you need to alter the boot sector (MBR) of the USB drive, and format it in NTFS format to have it become "bootable" by the BIOS. You would then simply copy the files from the disk/disk image to the usb and reboot.

More info (for Vista/Win7 OS)

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Please note that it's not necessary to format the disk with the NTFS file system to make it bootable. Whether or not the disk itself is bootable has nothing to do with the file system(s) stored on it. –  Martin Törnwall Oct 14 '10 at 18:59

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