Make A Flash Drive Bootable From An Iso File

You can create a customized bootable flash drive from a bootable ISO image file.

A USB flash drive is useful for data storage, and you can also use it as a boot disk. If you have an ISO image file that you wish to boot from and writing to a CD is not convenient, you can extract the image to a USB drive instead. This is especially useful because you can always add software to the flash drive at a later date. Depending on your version of Windows, you may need to download external utilities, but as long as your computer supports booting from a USB device you should not have any difficulty.

Instructions

Creating the Boot Sector In Windows 7/Vista

1. Open the command prompt by choosing “Start,” then “Run” and type “cmd.” Type “diskpart” and press “Enter.”

2. Type “list disk” and press “Enter.”

3. Choose the flash drive that you wish to make bootable. For example, if your flash drive is displayed as “Disk 1” type “select disk 1” and press “Enter.”

4. Type “clean” and press “Enter.” This will remove any existing data from the flash drive.

5. Type “create partition primary” and press “Enter.” This creates a new partition on the drive.

6. Type “select partition 1” and press “Enter.” Type “active” and press “Enter.” This makes the new partition active and thus bootable.

7. Type “format fs=ntfs” and press “Enter.” The formatting process will take a few moments.

8. Type “assign” and press “Enter.” This cancels any drive letter reassignments that may have occurred.

9. Type “exit” and press “Enter” to close the Diskpart utility.

10. Insert your Windows disc and type “D:” (or the appropriate drive letter) and press “Enter.”

11. Type “cd boot” and press “Enter” to switch to the “boot” directory.

12. Type “bootsect /nt60 F:” (replacing “F” with the drive letter of your flash drive) and press “Enter.” This copies a fresh boot sector to the flash drive. The flash drive is now bootable.

Creating the Boot Sector With the HP Drive Key Boot Utility

13. Download the free HP utility (see Resources.) Open the download and click the “Install” button.

14. Once the setup program loads, click “Install” again. When the installation is complete, click “Close.”

15. Start the HP Drive Key Boot Utility. Click “Next” and choose the flash drive that you wish to make bootable. Click “Next.”

16. Select “Create New or Replace Existing Configuration” and click “Next.” This will write new boot files to the flash drive.

17.Select “Hard Drive” and click “Next.” This will allow you to use the flash drive as a bootable hard disk.

18. Select “Create New Filesystem” and click “Next.” This will reformat the flash drive, which may take a few moments.

19. Select “HP Firmware Flash Package” and click “Next.” The flash drive is now bootable.

Creating the Boot Sector With the MKBT Utility

20. Insert a blank floppy disk into your floppy drive. Right-click on your floppy drive in My Computer and select “Format…”

21. Check the box labeled “Create an MS-DOS startup disk” and click “Start.” Windows will make the floppy disk bootable. Wait for the format to finish.

22. Format your flash drive. Right-click on the drive in My Computer and select “Format…” Click “Start” and wait for the format to finish.

23. Download the MKBT Utility (see Resources). Open the downloaded ZIP file and copy the contents to a separate “mkbt” folder (for example: “c:mkbt”).

24. Open the command prompt by clicking “Start,” then “Run” and typing “cmd.” Change to your new “mkbt” directory (for example: “cd c:mkbt”).

25. Type “mkbt -c a: c:bootsect.bin” and press “Enter.” This will copy the boot sector from your bootable floppy disk to a file on your hard drive.

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Type “mkbt -x c:bootsect.bin F:” (replacing “F” with the letter of your flash drive) and press “Enter.” MKBT will copy the boot sector to the flash drive. The drive is now bootable.

Copying the ISO File To the Flash Drive With WinRAR

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Download the free WinRAR utility (see Resources). Open the download and click the “Install” button.

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Check the box next to “ISO” in the “Associate WinRAR with” section and click OK. This will allow you to open ISO files with WinRAR by default.

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Open WinRAR by clicking “Run WinRAR” on the next screen. Navigate to the folder containing your bootable ISO image.

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Click “Extract To” and select your USB flash drive as the destination. Wait for WinRAR to finish extracting the contents of the ISO image, and your bootable flash drive is ready.

Copying the ISO File To the Flash Drive With Microsoft Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel

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Download the free Microsoft Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel (see Resources). Open the download, choose a destination folder and click the “Unzip” button.

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Navigate to the folder where you unzipped the files. Open VCdControlTool.exe and click the “Driver Control…” button.

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Click the “Install Driver…” button. Browse to the folder where you unzipped the files, select VCdRom.sys and click “Open.” Click “Start” and “OK.”

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Click “Add Drive.” A new drive letter will appear in the list. Click “Mount” and browse to the folder containing your bootable ISO image. Click “Open” and “OK.”

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Open My Computer. Your mounted ISO drive will appear under the relevant drive letter. Open this virtual drive and copy the contents to your flash drive. When all files have been copied, your bootable flash drive is ready.

Copying the ISO File To the Flash Drive With IsoBuster

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Download the free IsoBuster utility. Open the download, select your language and click “OK.”

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Click “Next,” read the license agreement and click “I agree.”

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Read the information about IsoBuster and click “Next.”

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Select an installation folder or accept the default and click “Next.”

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Check the box next to “(*.ISO) Image files” and click “Next.” This will allow you to open ISO files with IsoBuster by default.

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Choose your desired icon installation options or accept the defaults and click “Next.”

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Choose whether to install the IsoBuster Toolbar and click “Install.”

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Click “Finish” to start IsoBuster. When prompted for registration information, click “Free funct. only.”

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On the File menu, choose “Open Image File.” Navigate to the folder where your bootable ISO file is located and click “Open.” The contents of your ISO will appear on the right side of the program window.

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Select the entire list of files, right-click and choose “Extract Objects.” Select your flash drive as the destination and click “OK.”

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Wait for IsoBuster to copy the contents of the ISO. When all files have been copied, your bootable flash drive is ready.