How to make a bootable USB flash drive

Most new computers use a BIOS that supports booting from a USB device. Use a bootable USB flash drive as a recovery disk, a diagnostic tool, run virus software, back up and save files or try a new operating system. In all cases, the USB drive will need at least some system files and a “boot sector” area. The manual process involves knowledge of disk partitioning, master boot record commands, and operating system files. The open source utility, Unetbootin , automates this process. Unetbootin also supports many open source programs that run from USB drive. Instructions
Check your computer’s BIOS for compatibility. Computers have different methods of accessing the BIOS. Restart your computer and, before the operating system starts, look for text instructions similar to “Press DEL key to enter setup”. Navigate to the boot sequence options and check for a USB reference. Read your computer’s documentation for the exact procedure.

Check the USB flash drive documentation for compatibility. Some drives cannot be made boot-able.

Visit the Unetbootin website (see Resources) and download the appropriate version for your operating system.

Click on the downloaded file to run the program.

Insert the pen drive into the computer’s USB port.

Click on the “Distributions” button, then click on the arrow in the first drop-down menu and choose from over 25 different open source systems to boot. Many of these programs include diagnostic utilities and other software. You must be connected to the Internet.

Click the arrow in the second drop-down menu and select System Version.

Click the “Disk Image” button instead of the “Distribution” button if you already have a system ISO image file to load

Click the drop-down arrow list next to it. to “Type” in the lower left corner, and choose “USB Drive”.

Click the drop-down arrow next to “drive” and select the drive letter associated with the USB drive and click “OK”.


Restart your computer and access the BIOS setup program. Set the boot sequence option to access the USB drive first. See your computer’s documentation for instructions.

Save BIOS settings and continue booting to USB drive.

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