Troubleshooting a broken OS most of the time ends up reinstalling it. This is not fun when you mess up your system. If you need to reinstall the OS or you want to fresh install an OS, you need a Bootable Flash Drive to boot from.
For any general user, it may sound tough. But in reality, creating a bootable USB flash drive is fairly easy when you have the right tool.
When you download a Linux ISO or a Windows ISO, you need to flash that ISO to a USB flash drive. Without a bootable flash drive, you can not install an operating system on your PC.
An 8 GB Pendrive is enough for this process. Most Linux ISOs are less than 3 GB in size and Windows is around 5 GB in size. So 8GB flash drive is more than enough.
Or if you have a larger USB flash drive, then you should follow my other blog on ‘How To Create A Multiboot USB Flash Drive In Linux? – Easy Method‘. This tutorial will help you to create a USB flash drive that can contain multiple ISO files and let you boot from an ISO file you want.
There is plenty of free software available to create a bootable USB flash drive. In this article, I will show you the two most popular applications that you can download for free.
- BalenaEtcher (Linux, Windows, and macOS)
- Rufus (Windows Only)
Creating A Bootable Flash Drive Using BalenaEtcher
BalenaEtcher is a free and open-source project maintained by Balena. It’s a free utility to flash Linux images to storage media for creating a bootable USB flash drive. It’s a cross-platform application that supports Linux, Windows, and macOS.
You can download this free utility from the official website of your operating system. If you are a Linux user, an AppImage file will be downloaded. AppImage does not require any installation.
If you are a Windows user, an executable file will be downloaded. Install the .exe file and use Etcher on Windows. Click the button below to download BalenaEtcher.
BalenaEtcher offers three ways to choose ISO files: Flash from file, Flash from URL, and Clone drive. To create a bootable flash drive using BalenaEtcher, follow the steps below.
- Select an ISO image. I will be using the “Flash from file” option to choose the ISO.
- Click on “Select target” to choose your specific flash drive. Be careful not to select the wrong storage. It will erase everything from the storage media.
- Click the “Flash” button to start the flashing process. It will ask for administrative privileges. If you are using Linux, approve the root permission. Or click Yes on Windows when asking for administrator access.
- After approving root access, BalenaEtcher will start flashing the ISO file.
- Wait for some time while BalenaEtcher completes the Flashing process and verifies the media.
- Close the window after you see the “Flash Complete!” message.
Now your USB flash drive is bootable. You can go to the UEFI/BIOS firmware and select the bootable media to boot from.
Creating A Bootable Flash Drive Using Rufus
Rufus is also a free and open-source project maintained by Akeo. It is a great utility to create bootable USB media. It is a very simple and easy-to-use application. Rufus is only available for Windows. So if you are using Linux, it will not work for you.
You can download Rufus from the official website for Windows 10. Download the .exe file from the website. You do not need to install this executable file. Just open the application and start using it. Click the button below to download Rufus.
To create a bootable flash drive using Rufus, please follow the steps below.
- Run the executable file and click Yes to Run as administrator.
- Select the Device from the dropdown menu that you want to use.
- Choose Disk or ISO image from Boot selection.
- Click the SELECT button to locate the ISO file you want to burn. I am using ubuntu-21.10-desktop-amd64.iso for this tutorial.
- Choose GPT Partition scheme for UEFI targeted system and MBR for BIOS or UEFI targeted system.
- After that, click the START button to start the process.
- If you are using a Linux ISO file to burn, you will encounter the following ISOHybrid Image Detected window. Rufus recommends ISO Image Mode to write the image on the disk. But DD Image Mode works better for Linux ISOs. If you are using ISO Image Mode, you may not be able to boot from that USB. So, I recommend using the DD Image Mode.
- In this step, Rufus will show you a Warning that all the data of the selected device will get destroyed. This means Rufus will format the drive and create appropriate partitions. This process will delete everything on the selected drive. Click Ok to continue.
- Now, Rufus starts writing the ISO on the disk. Wait for some time to complete the process.
- When you see the Status is Ready. Click the CLOSE button to exit Rufus.
Now the device is bootable. You can go to UEFI/BIOS firmware settings to boot from the USB flash drive.
You will find many other tools and utilities to create a bootable flash drive. But I have chosen the best two that work for both Linux and Windows. If you face any difficulty or problem when creating a bootable thumb drive, please comment down below to get help. I am willing to help you. And if you think this article is helpful, do not hesitate to share this with your friends and family. Take care and have a nice day.