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Place a bootable ISO on a USB drive?

What is the best way to burn an ISO image onto a USB flash drive?

  • Not sure if this will help or not, but to make your ISO "bootable" on Windows: slysoft.com/en/virtual-clonedrive.html
    – Domenic
    Dec 23 '09 at 22:36
  • Could you clarify if you want it bootable or just to extract the contents?
    – Goyuix
    Dec 24 '09 at 3:24
  • The answers on this question are better than the other one. The other question should be closed. 38k views vs 2k views. This is the question people have.
    – Ian Boyd
    Jul 23 '11 at 15:22
  • I think this question is not really a duplicate. The other refers to making the USB bootable, whereas this asks for a sector-by-sector copy of any binary data.
    – jiggunjer
    Jan 4 '16 at 5:00

For some variants of Linux, UNetbootin does this without any extra configuration or work.

  • well, the only bad thing is, it changes some of the screens and I'm not sure if it works everywhere
    – phunehehe
    Dec 24 '09 at 3:52
  • Another option is usb-creator-gtk, which is what I used in order to install Linux on my netbook.
    – Elle H
    Dec 24 '09 at 4:09

Depending on the ISO image, I recommend WinToFlash for anything Windows.

For Linux distributions, see Anonymous' answer.

  • 3
    badam-PISH. I should upvote this just for the punchline ;p
    – Journeyman Geek
    Dec 24 '09 at 0:04
  • I don't see anything in WinToFlash that lets you select an ISO to use
    – Brad Mace
    Jun 13 '13 at 2:27
  • WinToFlash is completely adware ridden. I wouldn't recommend it. Aug 1 '13 at 7:36
  • Chrome blocks the download. Jul 15 '14 at 8:48

You can use the dd command to "burn" an ISO image to a USB drive from the command line:

dd if=file.iso of=/dev/sdb

Change /dev/sdb to the mount point of the USB drive.

Be careful, as this will destroy the original contents of the USB drive.

Additionally, if the ISO is bootable (such as in installer image) then the USB drive will boot the same way.

  • 2
    This does only work with specially crafted ISO images. Mar 26 '14 at 18:33
  • Do you have a windows version for this?
    – jiggunjer
    Dec 30 '15 at 5:35

Use 7-Zip and just extract the contents onto the USB drive.

When extracted, you'll see the same contents you would if you browsed to the disc.

  • 5
    But will 7-zip make it boot-able?
    – Greg
    Dec 23 '09 at 22:28
  • No, probably not. You might want to put that in your question when you migrate it to Superuser. Making it bootable will require some additional steps.
    – The Matt
    Dec 23 '09 at 22:31
  • 1
    This answer is no good. An ISO is more than just a file archive.
    – jiggunjer
    Jan 4 '16 at 4:57

You can't really "burn" an ISO image to a USB flash drive.

If you want a bootable USB from an ISO image, there are a couple of things you need to do

  1. Create a FAT32 partition on the USB drive (perferably, the first partition)
  2. Mount the ISO image to access its contents
  3. Copy the contents of the ISO image to the partition you just created.
  4. You need the SYSLINUX utility to make it bootable
  • You can "burn" an ISO to a flash drive, byte-by-byte. Maybe just not with windows ;)
    – jiggunjer
    Dec 30 '15 at 5:35

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