I'm having trouble here because of my PC got infected today and I've tried everything to get it back to normal, but the only option left for me now is to do a clean install.

Now, what happens is that I have MacBook Pro with 8GB USB.

I've downloaded Windows 7 from my college website [With license not pirated] and wanted to make a bootable USB, so I can format my PC to get it working again.

My question is how to create a bootable USB to install Windows on my Mac OS X without using DiskUtilities.

  • There is no way to do this, at least if trying to use Windows 8.1. (All answers posted here at the moment are not working) Nov 23, 2014 at 14:16

7 Answers 7


OK. Here are some instructions from Gizmodo that will put the ISO onto the flash drive with a Mac... they won't make it bootable though... read on...

  1. Open a Terminal (under Utilities)

  2. Run diskutil list and determine the device node assigned to your flash media (e.g., /dev/disk2)

  3. Run diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskN (replace N with the disk number from the last command; in the previous example, N would be 2)

  4. Execute sudo dd if=/path/to/downloaded.iso of=/dev/diskN bs=1m (replace /path/to/downloaded.iso with the path where the image file is located; for example, ./windows7.iso)

  5. Run diskutil eject /dev/diskN, and remove your flash media when the command completes (this can take a few hours on slower drives)

Now... after you read all that, on the Gizmodo page it says that if you want to make it bootable you should use a utility called Live USB helper they link to (which isn't there any more) and use a Mac mounting tool (which isn't there either!) to force the ISO to mount on the Mac so you can copy the files over. So... that article may prove useful, but probably not. I can find other copies of Live USB helper out there, but they are all Windows executables.

One method that will work is to swap the hard drive out of the PC and into the Mac. Put your Windows 7 installation disc into the Mac optical drive, and install Windows 7 on that drive. Once it is up and running (don't worry about drivers yet), follow these steps.

  1. Run Command Prompt as administrator
  2. Type to Command Prompt: %windir%\System32\Sysprep\Sysprep.exe, and hit Enter
  3. In sysprep dialog that opens, choose “System Cleanup Action” as “Enter System Out-of-Box-Experience (OOBE)”, select “Generalize”, and select “Shutdown Options” as “Shutdown”. Click “OK”
  4. Sysprep generalizes now your Windows 7 setup and shuts down your computer. Do not run any other programs during this phase!
  5. Remove the drive from your Mac. Put it back into the PC.
  6. Boot the PC from sysprep generalized hard disk. You will notice Windows booting as if it was the first boot after installation, installing default and updating registry. One or two reboots are needed, depending on your system specifications
  7. When Windows finally boots up, you will need to enter all information as if this really was a new, fresh installation

All that is from here, but it applies in this situation a well, since you would be moving a Windows 7 installation from one computer to another. Considering that trying to make a Windows bootable USB stick with a Mac requires tools that either don't exist any more or are not being developed any more... this second method will most likely prove more dependable.

  • 1
    Bootcamp is to allow you to install Windows alongside MacOSX and have a dualboot. There is at least one question here on SU where a person installed Windows 7 without Bootcamp, replacing their OS... and wanted to know how to get MacOSX back.
    – Bon Gart
    May 7, 2012 at 2:35
  • 1
    Vista and Windows 7 can both make use of EFI, and there are tons of sites out there with walkthrough instructions for installing both Vista and Windows 7 on a mac without using Bootcamp (wiping the drive, etc). derekhat.com/install-vista-on-a-macbook-without-bootcamp there's a Vista one, for example.
    – Bon Gart
    May 7, 2012 at 2:42

Assuming you have burnt your Windows CD into a ISO file with the tools like:

1. Jump into a folder here http://sourceforge.net/projects/unetbootin/files/UNetbootin/
2. Get the latest version of zip archive with the keyword "mac" in the filename.
3. Download and open it up on your Mac OS X desktop.
4. On Unetbootin interface, choose [Diskimage]->[ISO] and then select the Windows ISO file on your local hard drive.
5. Select the right USB Drive and then click [OK] to start writing ISO data onto your USB drive.

Once done, you're ready to boot your computer with this bootable USB drive, like a DVD installation disk.

  • I made a .dmg from CD, renamed to .iso and used this utility. And it didn't work -- when I boot PC, it says 'syslinux can't find <smth i don't remember>'
    – Nakilon
    Nov 30, 2013 at 9:56
  • 2
    This did not work with my Windows 8.1 iso.
    – 2rs2ts
    Jul 11, 2014 at 15:20
  • 2
    Not working for me, trying to install Windows XP in an old laptop.
    – fguillen
    Feb 23, 2015 at 20:07
  • 3
    Tried it with Windows 7 install DVD, didn't work. Windows and Linux boot mechanisms are sufficiently different, this will not work for non-Linux OSes. Jun 22, 2015 at 16:55
  • 1
    WARNING: THIS DOES NOT WORK!!! I'm not sure why this answer has so many upvotes. From the UNetbootin official description: "Bootable live USB creator for Ubuntu, Fedora, and Linux distributions." Notice that Windows is not mentioned. I.e. UNetbootin runs on Windows, but THE MAC VERSION DOES NOT SUPPORT WINDOWS!! Mar 4, 2018 at 8:14

You could also use VirtualBox on your Mac and install Windows quickly, then use Windows to create the media for the PC. You just need to allow windows to read from the USB port.

Microsoft published free to use Windows virtual machines for Internet Explorer testing purposes, but you can also use them to create a bootable USB stick.

To allow Windows to read from the USB port you'll need to install the VirtualBox Extension Pack. Then you can enable the USB 2.0 (EHCI) Controller in the virtual machine's settings (Ports -> USB).

Then when you insert the USB stick, it will probably first be detected by OS X, and since only one OS at a time can acces the port, you should eject it in OS X. Then it should automatically show up in Windows. If it's not, try to click the USB cable connection icon at the right bottom in the virtual machine. The USB port should be listed there and when you click it it should be mounted.

Then you can use a tool such as Rufus to create a bootable USB stick.

  • I went through this about a month ago, and this was the only way that ended up working for me. The one tricky bit is that you need to install virtual box extension pack to get USB drives to work. Use Microsoft's Tool to set up the USB stick. Aug 5, 2012 at 18:45
  • Newer Macs come with USB 3.0 ports which are currently not properly supported under VirtualBox (tried also with 5.0 RC1). Windows just "fails to start" the USB device. Jun 22, 2015 at 16:57

There is another method that I found myself that is also useful (for someone else too I hope)

If you have Windows installed on your mac like in Parallel or Vmware

You can download those software like Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool which is from Microsoft website. This will make a bootable for you and you can use it with your PC.

And there are plenty to choose out there, but you still need windows.


As none of the answers I found on the internet worked for me, here are the steps that I ended up following.

First of all, brief description of my setup:

  • I want to install Windows 7 (32-bit) on a PC (not on a Mac) using a USB removable media (8GB)
  • I have an ISO image of the installation DVD
  • I want to prepare the USB media on my Mac (OS X 10.10 Yosemite)
  • my MacBook Pro only has USB 3.0 ports

What I tried:

  • the typical suggestion of using hdiutil to convert ISO to UDRW IMG and then using dd to copy it to the USB. While I did not encounter any errors, the resulting USB media was not bootable.
  • using UNetbootin to create the media (supplying Windows installer ISO as custom ISO). While I did not encounter any errors and the resulting USB media seemed to be bootable, it just crashed during boot (started to boot then halted the system, no error).
  • using Windows inside VirtualBox to write to the USB stick did not work either, as VirtualBox does not support USB 3.0 yet (I even updated by VirtualBox to 5.0.0 RC1 but still no luck. Maybe newer versions will work)


As none of the above worked, I ended up first installing Ubuntu and then used that Ubuntu installation (it has GRUB2!) to create a bootable USB stick.


If you search the web for "windows 7 unetbootin", there are various hits that claim that UNetbootin works fine for installing Windows 7, even though this utility is typically used for installing Linux distributions via USB. You may want to give it a try. UNetbootin is supposed to run on Mac OS X, though I have no direct experience with that.

  • 3
    Tried it with Windows 7 install DVD, didn't work. Windows and Linux boot mechanisms are sufficiently different, this will not work for non-Linux OSes. Jun 22, 2015 at 16:57
  • didn't work for me Jun 12, 2019 at 20:35

Both Etcher and UNetbootin are unable to create bootable USB from latest Windows 10 ISO. So please don't waste time on it. And burning feature is disabled in Disk Utility since macOS Mojave.

To create Windows bootable USB on Mac, the first choice is Boot Camp Assistant, the stock app on macOS. This app helps you create a Windows partition along with macOS and is also capable of creating bootable USB from Windows 10 ISO.

The second suggestion is UUByte ISO Editor, the only GUI app available currently for doing this. And it is capable of burning latest Windows 10 to USB and fix the install.wim too large issue in recent version. Most importantly, it works on macOS Big Sur.

If you are familiar with commands, then you can use dd command combined with wimlib to get this job done. However, it takes more time on low specs Mac.

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