4 Tools to Build Bootable Windows 7|8|10 Installation USB Flash Drive

You downloaded a Windows 7, 8, and 10 installation image in ISO format officially and legally direct from Microsoft. And now you want to use it to install the system onto your computer. But the problem is that before you use it, you will need to convert it into a bootable device, either on a USB drive or a DVD disc.

Building a bootable DVD disc is easier as most of the DVD burning software such as ImgBurn or the native Disc burner utility have the feature that burns a bootable DVD directly from an ISO image. But what if the computer I am about to install doesn’t have a DVD drive, like those ultrabooks out there on the market? Here are 4 tools that can help you out and don’t cost you a dime.

Windows 7 USB/DVD Tool

Windows 7 USB DVD Tool

Windows 7 USB DVD Tool

This free tool was originally offered by Microsoft but was later open sourced due to some license conflicts. It’s a tool that verifies the source image file before making the bootable media on both USB drive and DVD disc.

The tool now can be downloaded directly from Microsoft here.

WinUSB Maker

ZOTAC WinUSB Maker - 2016-02-23 23_10_34

WinUSB Maker

WinUSB Maker, developed by Josh Cell Softwares, is a free utility that makes bootable USB drive not only from ISO images but also file folder that contains the Windows setup program. It’s essentially a tool that dynamically makes any removable devices as bootable with Windows Setup.

Here are some features of this application:

  • Fastest file copy from directory or file using a dedicated memory stream allocation.
  • Solid UI Design made to have the best performance inside all computers.
  • Drag and Drop based for all the functions that need of user data.
  • 100% written in .NET to avoid false positives problems.
  • Compatible with all DPI scales (100% +).
  • Taskbar progress for Windows 7 and higher.
  • Smooth GUI with nice animations.

It’s also a portable tool that runs right away after you download it, compatible with Windows XP and higher with .Net Framework 4.0 installed, including Windows 8, and 10.

Rufus

Rufus

Rufus

Rufus is a small utility that formats and creates bootable USB flash drives, but not DVD discs. What makes Rufus different is that it offers 3 different partition scheme to target the system type, such as those UEFI-based computers. You can make a bootable drive that can directly boot off on a UEFI computer without turning the Secure Boot off.

Rufus - 3 partition schemes

Rufus – 3 partition schemes

It’s also worth nothing that you can use Rufus to make no only Windows installation media but also Linux ones as well. And it’s fast.

ISO2Disc

ISO2Disc

ISO2Disc

ISO2Disc is another simple small utility that not only makes bootable USB flash drives but also burns the ISO image files onto CD/DVD discs and Blu-ray discs as well. It’s absolutely free and supports all Windows systems, both 32-bit and 64-bit editions.

It’s also worth noting that ISO2Disc makes bootable USB flash drive with either GPT or MBR partition table.

Overall

Making a bootable USB device from ISO image isn’t rocket science, and you can even make one without these tools. But having tools like the ones listed in this post does make the job easier. All tools are equally nice and easy to use and do get the job done nicely.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 07/12/2016

Posted in: Tools , Windows 8
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