Introduction

If you are unsure how to write an ISO to a USB flash drive, this guide will show you how to do this using Rufus. Many modern systems do not include an internal optical drive and require a USB drive or optical drive to boot operating system installation media.

As many laptops (and in some cases, desktops) begin to lose the internal DVD drive and your only choice is to choose between an external optical drive (with a USB performance penalty) or a USB flash drive (which can be erased and modified if firmware needs to be placed into the media after creating it, for example) without after purchase upgrades, it is typically better for most users to get a USB flash drive and not deal with optical media.

Unless your application REQUIRES a DVD, it is generally better to get a 16GB USB flash drive and avoid all of the hassles that come with using optical media since it is no longer convenient on optical drive-less laptops and now requires another purchase to do so.

Read me: Regarding other operating systems besides Linux

Important: OSes without USB boot support are not guaranteed to work. While the risk of a problem is very low, results outside of Linux are NOT GUARANTEED.

This guide was originally written just for Linux. However, it can be used with any operating system that supports USB boot and is not tied to one specific operating system in practice.

Since these operating systems may create unforeseen issues not anticipated by the author, you are on your own finding an image and if something goes wrong as there will be no in-guide help. Take these questions to Answers, as it is the only place they will be answered. This is to avoid problems and end user confusion.

Guide notes

  • If you have a used USB drive, format it outside of Rufus before use.
  • CD/DVD creation is not covered. If you need this version, refer to Revision 1.
  • This guide is on Revision 3. If you need to use Rufus 2.x, refer to Revision 2.

Tools

Parts

No parts required.

  1. A new USB drive is recommended. If you reuse a spare drive, format it before use.
    • A new USB drive is recommended. If you reuse a spare drive, format it before use.

    • Plug your USB drive in. This will make it available immediately.

    • To write the ISO to the drive, download Rufus. Place this somewhere it is easily found.

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  2. FTP is safer for most people. Torrent clients require additional configuration not covered in this guide.
    • FTP is safer for most people. Torrent clients require additional configuration not covered in this guide.

    • After downloading Rufus, download the ISO for your selected Linux distro.

    • At the download prompt, select Save file and click OK.

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    • Default download location: Windows 7/8.x/10: Downloads

    • Plug the USB drive in now if this is not done yet.

    • Locate where the ISO was downloaded to. This is typically in the default download location.

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    • This procedure will erase your USB drive. Make a backup before proceeding!

    • If you are having problems booting on legacy hardware, select Add fixes for older BIOSes.

    • Open Rufus and click SELECT.

    • Find the ISO you want to use. Once found, click Open.

    • Rufus will ask you to choose ISO or DD mode. If you are unsure, choose ISO mode.

    • After locating the ISO and selecting a USB drive, click Start and then OK.

    • Rufus will prompt a format warning. Click OK on the format warning and the image will be wrirtten to the drive.

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Finish Line

8 other people completed this guide.

Nick

Member since: 11/10/2009

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3 Comments

Link if you like or not your choice... https://www.ifixit.com/Story/20263/Creat....

tcagle53 - Reply

Unetbootin does not work anymore and is considered unstable to use when installing any Linux OS, also 4GB USB drives are more than big enough to get the job done

Will Unknown - Reply

My reasoning for saying 8GB is because 4GB sticks are all but nonexistent (8GB is more popular now), but if you already own the 4GB stick then it'll work. I even use one from 2006 in the guide, to show that reuse is possible.

Oh really? I always thought it was still a usable option - thanks for letting me know that I was wrong.

Nick -

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