Programs for creating a bootable flash drive seek to facilitate the transformation of the USB flash drive into a bootable disk. These devices are increasingly replacing CDs and DVDs, either to recover from a failed system or to install from scratch.
The following list brings together the best software for Windows, macOS, and Linux distributions. Check out!
Available in Portuguese, Rufus is an executable file that doesn't even need to be installed on your PC to use it. The application allows you to make a bootable flash drive to create installation media from an ISO file.
It is also possible to make a means of updating the BIOS, firmware or programs in a low-level language. The application also has the option to check the flash drive for bad sectors. The developers guarantee that the software is up to two times faster than the main competitors.
- Rufus (free): Windows | Linux
2. Universal USB Installer
Universal USB Installer stands out for its simplicity of use. Just select the operating system, ISO file, and USB stick. Then go to Create and soon. The program can be used not only for system installation, but also as a recovery drive, security.
The software allows you to create boot devices with persistent storage on some Linux distributions. The feature gives you access to system settings and file backups.
If you are going to use it for a portable version of Windows, the pendrive must be formatted as NTFS and have 20 GB of free space. In other cases, the device can also be formatted in Fat16 or Fat32.
- Universal USB Installer (free): Windows | Linux
From the same developer as the Universal USB Installer, YUMI stands out for being a multiboot installer. What does that mean? That allows you to install several operating systems, firmware, store antivirus units and cameras, among other resources, on the same pendrive.
The only impediment is the device's ability to accommodate all of these. The application also offers the possibility of creating a pendrive with persistent storage. To use it, it must be formatted in Fat16, Fat32, or NTFS.
- YUMI (free): Windows | Linux | Mac OS
4. Windows USB / DVD Tool
The Windows USB / DVD Tool is Microsoft's official tool for creating a bootable flash drive to install Windows 7 or 8. The program allows you to make a copy of the ISO file, which brings together all the Windows installation items combined.
Easy to use, just insert the media drive into the USB port, select the ISO and click Move along. Then just follow the instructions. If you are not looking for any additional functionality or customization options on your boot drive, this may be the application for you.
- Windows USB / DVD Tool (free): Windows 7 and 8
Etcher stands out for its ease of use, although it has compatibility with various systems. With just a few clicks, it lets you turn a flash drive into a bootable media, whether it's for Windows, macOS, or Linux distributions. It is a good option for people with little experience in the field.
- Etcher (free, but also has a paid version): Windows | macOS | Linux
WinSetupFromUSB allows you to create multiboot flash drives with any version of Windows, from XP to Windows 10. Although the name focuses on the Microsoft system, the program is also compatible with some variants of Linux.
In addition, it offers the option of backing up software drives, such as antivirus, and recovery discs from different manufacturers. Even with so many functions, it stands out for having an intuitive and easy-to-use interface.
- WinSetupFromUSB (free): Windows | Linux
What is a bootable flash drive for?
Previously, it was common to use CDs, DVD-ROMs, and even floppy disks as bootable media. As many of today's computers no longer support these media, the USB flash drive and SD cards have been gaining space with substitutes.
Besides being more portable, the pendrive is also faster. By making it bootable, you can use it as an external OS installer. The installation program on the boot disk has full control of the PC and can overwrite the existing system or install a new one from scratch.
The device can also be used as a recovery disk, capable of resolving system failures. In this case, a very light version of the system is used, but with enough drives and resources to fix the problem or at least be able to back up important data.
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