The best software for creating bootable flash drives

In articles about how to install Windows from a flash drive I have already described some ways to create a bootable flash drives, but not all. Below are listed separate instructions on this subject, but I recommend to start with the article itself under spisok— in it you will find new, simple and interesting ways to make a bootable USB flash drive, sometimes even unique.

  • Bootable flash drive Windows 10
  • Bootable flash drive Windows 8.1
  • Bootable flash drive Windows XP
  • Bootable flash drive Windows 8
  • Bootable flash drive Windows 7
  • Creating multiboot flash drive (for installation of various OS Live CD recording and other purposes)
  • Bootable flash drive DOS

This review will consider the free utility that allows you to create bootable USB drive to install Windows or Linux, as well as programs for writing a multiboot USB flash drive. Also presents options for creating a USB drive to run Windows 10 and 8, without installing and using Linux in Live-mode without restarting the computer. All references to «download» in the article lead to the official sites of programs.

Update 2016. Since the writing of this review of programs for creating bootable flash drives, there are several new treatment options USB drive to install Windows, which I think necessary here to add. The following two sections, these new ways and then described has not lost relevance «old» ways (first Pro multi-boot drives, then specifically about creating a bootable Windows flash drives of different versions, as well as a description of several useful auxiliary programs).

Bootable flash drive Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 without software

Those who have a modern computer with a motherboard with UEFI (a Novice user can identify a UEFI graphic interface when you access «BIOS»), and who need to make a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 on this computer, can not use any third-party software to create bootable flash drives.

Everything you need to use this method: support EFI boot, USB thumb drive formatted to FAT32 and preferably the original ISO image or drive with these versions of Windows (not original are safer to use create UEFI flash drive using command prompt, which is described later in this material).

Details this method is described in the instructions a Bootable flash drive without software (opens in a new tab).

Microsoft Windows Installation Media Creation Tool

For a long time, Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool was the only official Microsoft tool for creating bootable flash drives (originally intended for Windows 7, described below, in the same article).

After more than a year since the release of Windows 8, was released the next formal program — Windows Installation Media Creation Tool to write the installation USB drive with Windows 8.1 desired version. And now came out and a similar Microsoft utility for writing the boot flash Windows 10.

Using this free program you can easily make a bootable USB or ISO image, selecting a professional, single language or basic version of Windows 8.1 and the installation language, including Russian. Thus there is a download of the official distribution site with Microsoft that may be important for those who want just the original Windows.

Detailed instructions on how to use this method and how to download the program from the official Microsoft website for Windows 10 — here, for Windows 8 and 8.1 here:

Multiboot flash drive

First of all will tell about two tools for creating multiboot flash drive is an indispensable tool for any wizard, computer repair and, if you have skills, a great thing for the average computer user. As you can tell from the title, multiboot USB flash drive allows you to boot in different modes and for different purposes, for example, on one thumb drive can be:

  • Install Windows 8
  • Kaspersky Rescue Disk
  • Hiren’s Boot CD
  • Installing Ubuntu Linux

This is just an example, actually set may be completely different, depending on the goals and preferences of the owner of this stick.


The main window of WinsetupFromUSB 1.6

In my personal opinion, one of the most convenient tools for creating bootable flash drives. Program features wide — you can prepare a USB drive for subsequent transformation into a bootable, formatted in a variety of options and create the necessary boot record, check a bootable USB flash drive in QEMU.

The main function, which is also implemented quite simply and clearly — the writing to the boot flash of images Linux installation, disk utilities, and install Windows 10, 8, 7 and Windows XP (Server Versions are also supported). The use is not as easy as some other programs in this review, but, nevertheless, if You more or less know how are made this kind of carriers, You will not be difficult to understand.

Will study a detailed step by step instructions for creating bootable flash drives (and multiboot) for beginners and not only, but also to download the latest version of the program: WinSetupFromUSB.

Free program SARDU for creating multiboot flash drive

SARDU is one of the most functional and simple, despite the lack of Russian interface, software that allows you to easily record a multiboot USB flash drive with:

  • Images Windows 10, 8, 7 and Windows XP
  • Images of Win PE
  • Linux Distributions
  • Antivirus boot disks and boot drives, utilities for the resuscitation of the system, configure partitions on your hard drives, etc.

For many images the program has a built-in Downloader from the Internet. If all tested to date how to create the stick with the boot you have not yet reached, we strongly recommend to try: Multiboot flash in SARDU.

Easy2Boot and Butler (Boutler)

Program to create the boot and Easy2Boot multiboot USB drive and Butler are very similar in terms of operation. In General terms, this principle is as follows:

  • A special way you prepare the USB drive
  • Copy bootable ISO image to the created folder structure on USB stick

The result is a boot drive with the distribution images of Windows (8.1, 8, 7 or XP), Ubuntu, and other Linux distributions, recovery home or treatment computer viruses. In fact, the number Onotria you can use is limited only by the size of the drive, which is very convenient especially for people who really need it.

Among the shortcomings of both programs for beginners is the need to understand what you are doing and be able to manually make the changes to disk if needed (they don’t always work the way you want by default). With Easy2Boot, given the presence of reference only in English and the lack of a graphical interface a bit more complicated than Boutler.

  • Boot USB in Easy2Boot
  • Using Butler (Boutler)


XBoot is a free utility for creating multiboot flash drive, or ISO disk image with multiple versions of Linux, utilities, antivirus packages (for example, Kaspersky Rescue), Live CD (Hiren’s Boot CD). Windows is not supported. However, if we want a very functional multi-boot flash drive, you can create ISO in XBoot, and then use the resulting image in the utility WinSetupFromUSB. Thus, combining these two programmes, we can get a multiboot USB flash drive for Windows 8 (or 7), Windows XP, and everything we wrote in XBoot. To download on the official website

The Linux images in XBoot

Creating bootable rescue media in this program is done simply by dragging the desired ISO file in the main window. The final step is to click «Create ISO» or «Create USB».

Another opportunity provided by the program to download the necessary disk images by selecting them from a fairly extensive list.

Bootable flash drive Windows

In this part of the programme, the aim of which is to transfer the installation files of the Windows operating system on a flash drive for easy installation on netbooks or other computers that are not equipped with drives for reading optical compact discs (someone says that?).

Microsoft Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool

Tool Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool is an official freeware from Microsoft that is designed to write bootable stick with Windows 7 or Windows 8. Despite the fact that the program was produced for the previous version of the operating system from Windows 8 or Windows 10 it also works fine. Download on the official Microsoft website here

Select ISO image Windows utility from Microsoft

The use poses no difficulties — after the installation, You will need to specify the path to the disk image file with Windows (.iso), to specify which USB drive to write (all data will be deleted) and wait for the operation to complete. That’s all bootable flash drive with Windows 10, 8 or Windows 7 ready.

Bootable flash drive in Windows command prompt

If you need USB to install Windows 8, 8.1 or Windows 7, you do not need to use any third-party program to create it. Moreover, some of these programs simply represent a graphical interface, performing all the same thing that you can do yourself using the command line.

The process of creating bootable flash drives in Windows command prompt (including UEFI support) looks like this:

  • You are preparing the flash drive using diskpart in the command prompt.
  • Copy all the installation files of the operating system on the drive.
  • If necessary, make some changes (for example, if you want to support UEFI when installing Windows 7).

Nothing complicated in this procedure and no by following the instructions even a novice user. Instructions: UEFI Bootable USB flash drive in Windows command prompt

USB flash drive with Windows 10 and 8 in WinToUSB Free

Program Free WinToUSB allows you to make a bootable USB flash drive is not for installing Windows 10 and 8, and for their run from a USB drive without installation. In this case, in my experience, copes with this task better than peers.

As the source for the system, recordable on a USB can be used an ISO image to a CD with Windows already installed on the computer OS (though the latter option if I’m not mistaken, is not available in the free version). More info about WinToUSB and other similar tools: Run Windows 10 from a flash drive without installation.


Another free and well working utility to create a bootable stick with Windows 8 or Windows 7. Just a little known, but, in my opinion, worth the attention of the program.

Creating a bootable USB WiNToBootic

WiNTBootic advantages compared to Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool:

  • Support with Windows ISO images, unzipped the folder with the OS or DVD
  • No need to install on your computer
  • High speed

The use of the program as simple as the previous utility — specify the location of files for installation on Windows and kind of stick them record, and then wait until the end of the program.

Utility WinToFlash

Tasks in the program WinToFlash

This free portable utility enables you to create a bootable USB flash drive from the CD setup disk Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003 and 2008. And not only that: if You had a bootable flash drive MS DOS or Win PE, You can also do it using WinToFlash. Another option is to create your USB flash drive to remove banners from the desktop.


Rufus is a free utility that allows you to create a bootable USB flash drive Windows or Linux. The program works on all current versions of Windows and, in addition to his other functions, can check the drive for bad sectors, bad blocks. It is also possible to place on a flash drive various utilities such as Hiren’s Boot CD, Win PE and others. Another important advantage of this program in its latest version — easily create a bootable USB drive UEFI GPT or MBR.

The program itself is very easy to use, and, in recent versions, among other things, can do the Windows To Go drive to run Windows from a flash drive without installation. Read more: how to create a bootable stick with Rufus

Boot USB using UltraISO

Given the fact that many users in Russia is not very paying for the program, use UltraISO to create bootable flash drives is a common one. Unlike all the other programmes described here, UltraISO costs money, and allows, among other available functions, to create a bootable USB flash drive Windows. The creation process is not entirely clear, so I will describe it here.

  • When connected to the computer flash drive, start UltraISO.
  • Select menu (top) Self.
  • Specify the path to the boot image distribution, which must be stored on the flash drive.
  • If necessary, format the stick (which is done in the same window), then click burn.

That’s all bootable flash drive Windows or Linux, created by using the programs UltraISO, ready. Read more: Bootable flash drive using UltraISOOther utilities related to bootable flash drives

Below are additional programs that can help in creating a bootable flash drive (including Linux), as well as offer some features that are missing from the already mentioned utilities.

Linux Live USB Creator

Distinctive features of the program to create the bootable flash drive Linux Live USB Creator are:

  • The ability to load the Linux image using the program from a pretty good list of distributions, including all popular options Ubuntu and Linux Mint.
  • The ability to run Linux from a USB drive in Live mode in Windows using Portable VirtualBox, which is also automatically installed Linux Live USB Creator on the drive.

Of course, the opportunity simple download of a computer or laptop with the USB drive Linux Live USB Creator and install the system as there is.

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For more information about using the program: Create bootable flash drive Linux Live USB Creator.

Windows Bootable Image Creator — create bootable ISO

WBI Creator

WBI Creator is somewhat distracting from the overall number of programs. It creates a bootable USB flash drive, and boot the disk image .ISO from folder with files for Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows XP. All you need to do is select the folder that contains the setup files, pick the version of the operating system (Windows 8 specify Windows 7), select the desired label DVD (disc label is present in the ISO file) and press «Go». After that, you can create a bootable USB flash drive other tools from this list.

Universal USB Installer

The window of the program Universal USB Installer

This program allows You to select one of several available Linux distributions (and download it) and create the flash drive with him on Board. The process is very simple: choose the version of the distribution, specify the path to the file location with this distribution, specify the path to the flash drive, pre-formatted in FAT or NTFS, and click Create. That’s all you can do is wait.

It’s not all programs designed for these purposes, there are many other for various platforms and purposes. For most normal and not really problems listed utilities should be enough. Recall that a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10, 8 or Windows 7, simply create without using any extra tools — just the command line, I wrote in detail in the relevant articles.

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