I have a bootable ISO designed to be burned to a double-layer DVD. I don't have a double layer DVD burner, so I would like to stick the ISO image on a 50 GB partition on a USB hard drive I have. How do I get the boot info onto the hard drive?

Attempt 1:

  1. booted into Ubuntu 9.04 LiveCD
  2. deleted the partition on my existing USB hard drive
  3. sudo dd if=/path/to/image.iso of=/dev/MyUSB
  4. booted to USB drive
  5. error: Error Loading OS

Atempt 2:

  1. booted into Ubuntu 9.04 LiveCD
  2. deleted the partition on my existing USB hard drive
  3. sudo mkdosfs -I -v -n iPC /dev/MyUSB
  4. sudo syslinux /dev/MyUSB
  5. sudo dd if=/path/to/image.iso of=/dev/MyUSB
  6. booted to USB drive
  7. error: Selected boot device not available - strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility

3 Answers 3


The first thing required is -- your system should be able to boot from USB -- many older ones can't.

Then, you could use the dd utility from a unix installation (or Ubuntu LiveCD).

dd if=/path/to/image.iso of=/dev/YourUSB

This will low-level copy the ISO to your USB.
Of course, the ISO has to fit into the USB :-)

Couple of more references,

Using DSL distribution -- Creating a bootable USB from an iso.
And, Using Ubuntu 9.04

I think the syslinux step is missed in my description, which is what caused your problem.

On Windows there used to be Daemon Tools -- don't know if that is free today (think it was sometime).

  • I followed this route, and when booting to my device I got Error Loading OS and that's it. Not sure if that's an OSx86 error or a problem with copying the bootable ISO to the hard drive... Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 4:41
  • I expect a ISO copy problem.
    – nik
    Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 4:46
  • still not working - see updated post Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 17:27
  • Would like to know how you confirmed USB boot works. Can you boot the Ubuntu 9.04 and from its starting menu, install Ubuntu on your bootable device to successfully boot that from your USB? Unless I am missing something critical, your second attempt looks very like a non bootable path (either the USB cannot boot or the USB Media was not properly made bootable). Be careful where you install the Ubuntu (don't kill your primary boot).
    – nik
    Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 19:16
  • I'm not trying to install Ubuntu. I'm trying to install OSx86. Commented Aug 26, 2009 at 11:26

I have followed this article to do exactly what you want: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2041234,00.asp

  • Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change.
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 4:27

I've had success using WinGrub on a machine that only had net access. (No bootable usb, broken cd drive.) The site has changed since then: https://gna.org/projects/grub4dos/.

I don't have the details any more, but I was able to boot GParted off of a USB key on that old broken machine. You can also use it to boot ISO images. You may not even need WinGrub if you have GRUB on your machine already.

  • Interesting reference. It might be easier to get hold of a bootable CD drive these days.
    – nik
    Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 4:45

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