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Create a Bootable USB on Windows for Any Linux OS from ISO File


From an ISO file containing Linux (almost any Linux OS distribution), you can create a bootable USB installer disk on Microsoft Windows easily. If you downloaded your favorite Linux Operating System, most likely, it will be an ISO file (archive, disk image). Software distributed on bootable discs is often available for download in ISO image format and is written on, or “burned” to, a CD, DVD, or a USB flash drive with any capable software. Use this guide to easily create an installer for your favorite Linux operating system (not larger than USB drive size) on a USB drive.

Pendrivelinux provides easy method to install, boot, and run a variety of Linux OS distributions from a portable USB drive. Supported Linux operating systems are Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Puppy and many other Linux distributions. Not just the Linux, but it also supports creation of bootable USB disk containing non-Linux based software (e.g. Microsoft Windows Installer USB disk).

Detailed software support is given below:

Linux Distro

  • Ubuntu Desktop
  • Xubuntu Desktop
  • Kubuntu Desktop
  • Lubuntu Desktop
  • Edubuntu Desktop
  • Ubuntu Studio
  • Ubuntu Server Installer
  • Ubuntu Alternate
  • Mythbuntu Desktop
  • Blackbuntu
  • Linux Mint
  • Debian Netinst
  • Debian Live
  • Kali Linux
  • Backtrack
  • Fedora Desktop
  • OpenSUSE 32bit
  • OpenSUSE 64bit
  • Fatdog64
  • Lighthouse Puppy
  • Lucid Puppy
  • Precise Puppy
  • Puppy Arcade
  • Puppy 4.3.1
  • Racy Puppy
  • Slacko Puppy
  • Wary Puppy
  • DouDouLinux
  • Qimo 4 Kids 2.0
  • Sugar on a Stick
  • AOMEI (Disk Cloning and Backup Tool)
  • Acronis Rescue CD
  • Android
  • AntiX
  • ArchBang
  • ArchLinux
  • ArtistX
  • Aurora
  • BackBox
  • Baltix Linux
  • BCCD
  • BlehOS
  • Bodhi
  • Boot Repair Disk
  • Carmedia
  • CentOS
  • Chakra
  • Clonezilla
  • Crunchbang
  • DBAN 2.2.X
  • Deft Linux
  • Deepin Linux
  • DRBL
  • DSL 4.4.10
  • Dreamlinux
  • Dynebolic
  • EASUS Disk Copy
  • EasyPeasy
  • Elementary OS
  • Elementary Unleashed
  • Feather Linux
  • Finnix
  • Fuduntu
  • Fusion Linux
  • Gamedrift
  • Gentoo
  • gNewSense
  • GRML
  • gOS gadgets
  • GParted
  • Jolicloud
  • Kiwi
  • Kororaa
  • KXStudio
  • Leeenux
  • Liberte
  • LinHES
  • Linux XP Like
  • LPS
  • Macbuntu
  • Mandriva One 2011
  • Matriux
  • MCNLive Toronto
  • Meego
  • MicroCore
  • Netrunner
  • Ophcrack
  • OSGeo Live
  • Pardus
  • PartedMagic
  • PCLinuxOS
  • Pear OS
  • Peppermint
  • PING
  • Pinguy OS
  • Plasma active
  • PLoP Linux
  • Porteus
  • Redo Backup
  • Rescatux
  • RIP Linux
  • Runt Linux
  • Sabayon Linux
  • SalineOS
  • Satux
  • Simply MEPIS
  • SLAX
  • SliTaZ
  • Sn0wL1nuX
  • SolusOS
  • System Rescue CD
  • Tails
  • Terralinux
  • TinyCore
  • Trisquel
  • Uberstudent
  • Ultimate Boot CD
  • Ultimate Edition
  • WifiWay
  • WifiSlax
  • xPUD
  • XBMC
  • XBMCbuntu
  • StartOS
  • wattOS R5
  • Zenwalk Live
  • Zorin OS

Live Antivirus Rescue CDs

  • AOSS (Malware Scanner)
  • AVG Rescue CD
  • Avira Antivir Rescue Disk
  • Bitdefender Rescue CD
  • Comodo Rescue Disk
  • DrWeb LiveCD
  • F-Secure Rescue CD
  • G DATA Antivirus
  • Kaspersky Rescue Disk
  • Panda Safe CD
  • Trinity Rescue Kit

Non Linux Based Software

  • Falcon 4 Boot CD
  • Hiren’s Boot CD
  • Kon-Boot
  • Windows Vista Installer
  • Windows 7 Installer
  • Windows 8 Installer

Create Bootable USB Disk Containing Linux Installer from ISO

We take example of Ubuntu that is widely being used. When you download Ubuntu, it will be downloaded in ISO format. Universal USB Installer can create a bootable USB drive containing Ubuntu installer, on Microsoft Windows. You can use that bootable USB to install Ubuntu on your PC.

Universal USB Installer

How Universal USB Installer Works

Download your favorite Linux operating system (In our case it is Ubuntu – ISO file). Download Universal USB Installer and run it (its portable and can run without being installed on PC) on PC. In case of Ubuntu, select Ubuntu in step 1, where it says ‘Select Linux Distribution’. In step 2, browse and open the Linux ISO file that you downloaded. Select your USB drive carefully. Go to computer to see the USB drive letter so that you may be able to correctly select the USB drive from Universal USB Installer. Click ‘Create’ button and let this software finish its task. After that you will have a Linux operating system ready to be installed or used from USB drive.

You can also choose to format USB drive before creating bootable disk. Your USB drive must be Fat16, Fat32 or NTFS formatted, otherwise your drive will not Boot. For Ubuntu Linux, you need a USB of at least 2GB capacity.

When you are done, your USB will show like this:

ubuntu installer USB

Installing OS from Bootable USB

Change the PC setting from BIOS and configure it to run from USB drive. Restart the PC and it will pick the installer or package from the USB drive to install or run Linux on your PC.

Caution: If you are not familiar with the Linux file systems and you have not installed Linux before then you probably should get an expert’s help in installing Linux. In worst case, you might end up losing all your previous partitions during Linux install. In case of Ubuntu, read installation instructions carefully. It is not like FAT32 and NTFS. You won’t just be selecting a single NTFS partition to install Linux on. You will have to determine root, bootloader and swap portions. DO NOT CHOOSE ‘REPLACE WINDOWS WITH UBUNTU’ BECAUSE IT WILL ERASE ALL PREVIOUS PARTITIONS. Always choose ‘something else’ and choose partition to install Linux on. DO NOT CHOOSE WHOLE HARD DISK FROM ‘DEVICE FOR BOOTLOADER INSTALLATION’. If your hard disk is empty and this is a fresh Linux install then do whatever you like. But if hard disk has already got partitions and data, be very careful.

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