How to create a bootable USB stick

usb drive

If you want to install or test an operating system on a computer, you must need a bootable media. Say you want to try a brand new Ubuntu OS or Windows 10 Preview build. At first you will need the ISO file which can be downloaded from their respective official sources. Once you get the ISO file, then it needs to be loaded into an installation media like DVD or USB drive. Each time you want to try a new OS, it requires a new bootable drive. So, burning the ISO on a DVD could be an expensive choice. It’s also a slower one compared to a USB stick. That’s why you should go for a USB drive instead of DVDs. Let’s see how to make a USB drive bootable.

To do it, we will need a Windows (XP or later) computer, a USB drive (pen drive), the operating system ISO file and an application to load the ISO components into the USB drive so that it can boot. Here I will use a small piece of software called Rufus as the bootable USB maker. You can download Rufus from this official link. It’s free and open source.


While you are downloading Rufus, insert the target USB drive into your PC. When the download completes, run the software and it will automatically point your USB stick. If there are more than one USB drives, choose the target one manually from the drop-down list.

You will get several partition scheme options in Rufus. To create a standard OS installation media, leave it default. There are other options as well. You can customize them too.

Now it’s time to select the ISO file and click the ‘Start’ button so that Rufus can initiate operations. You will be warned that the target USB drive will be formatted and your existing data will be lost. If you have any valuable stuff in the USB drive, then copy them in a safe place.

Clicking the ‘Start’ button initiates the process of making the USB stick bootable. Once it’s completed, you are ready to use the USB drive (pen drive) to install/try the new operating system. Restart the PC and select the USB drive from boot option. That’s it.

I hope you will find this post helpful in installing/trying operating systems on your computer. If you face any problem with the process, please comment here. And also share your experiences with us. Thanks.

Image Credit: Rufus

Arafat Bin Sultan

Arafat Bin Sultan is an MBA graduate who loves to learn and write everything about science, technology and business with a special focus on trending topics. Follow on Twitter , Follow on Google+ .

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