How to make a bootable flash drive

Create a bootable USB flash drive

For some reason, there is still a belief that reinstalling the system is a very complicated operation. In fact, all the work is to create an installation flash drive. Then this flash drive can be used as many times as you like to reinstall Windows. So how do you make a bootable flash drive?

Loading a disk image

To create boot partitions, you can use the built-in tools of the system. But they are not suitable for creating a bootable flash drive. How to make a boot disk from a flash drive? With the help of third-party utilities - such as UltraISO.

UltraISO allows you to burn a disk image (the same one in .iso format) to a USB flash drive. But before burning the installation flash drive, you need to get the image of the installation disk itself. You can turn to semi-legal and illegal sites to download an unofficial version of the system - please note that they are unstable, and no one guarantees the absence of spyware in such builds. If you plan to install Windows to other users (for example, working in a computer service), you should not use such assemblies - this is an offense for which you face a large fine. However, the independent use of pirated assemblies is formally prohibited.

You can make an installation USB flash drive from the official version of Windows downloaded from the Microsoft website. A free trial version is available to everyone, but you will have to buy a license or use a system with limited features.

Determine the bitness of your system (x64 or x86) and download the appropriate distribution. When choosing between variations of Windows (Home, Enterprise, and so on), consider what features you need. For example, for homework with files and games, you do not need "Corporate" - it will only take up extra disk space with functions you do not need.

How to make a disk image for a flash drive, do I need any special preparation of the image? No - the downloaded .iso file is already suitable for uploading to a flash drive. The UltraISO program will recognize it and write it to the flash drive as if it were a disk.

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Download UltraISO

UltraISO is a paid program, but it has a free trial period, which we will use. Despite the formal "paid", this software can be used in the trial period indefinitely.

Open the official website of the developer and download the latest version of the program. On the site you will see instructions on how to create a bootable USB flash drive, but they are in English and only apply to the latest versions of Windows.

Install the program following the instructions of the installer. Everything is simple there - as usual, we agree with the license, click "Next" until the program is installed, and then open it. In the first window, UltraISO will ask if we want to buy a license. Fortunately, the trial period is enough to make the installation flash drive as a bootable disk, so click "Trial period".

Create a bootable USB flash drive

The Windows Installer will require at least 8 GB of free space. Find a flash drive with 8, 16 or more gigabytes. Make sure that there is no important data on it - during the installation process, the program will format your drive and erase all files from it.

So, the necessary data is copied, the flash drive is ready for cleaning and installing the distribution. How to create an installation flash drive? We follow simple steps:

Open the downloaded distribution. To do this, in the UltraISO window, select "File" - "Open" in the top menu (or press the key combination Ctrl + O). In the window that appears, select the downloaded distribution. 

Make sure the flash drive is connected to the computer. At this stage, it may be unformatted - we will do this later.

In the top menu of UltraISO, select "Boot" - "Burn hard disk image".

A progress window will open. Click "Format" - all data on the flash drive will be deleted, about which the program will carefully warn you. Agree and proceed with the installation.

It will take several minutes to write the files to disk. If you have an old flash drive and you are using USB 2.0, then the recording can take from 15 to 30 minutes.

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How to make a flash drive bootable? It is enough to install the downloaded .iso with the installer on it, restart the computer and select the USB flash drive in the boot menu. This menu is usually called up with the F8 key - press it when the logo of the motherboard manufacturer appears on the screen when turned on. Depending on the manufacturer, the button for calling the boot menu may be different. If you press F8 and nothing happens (the system continues to boot as usual), restart your computer again. At the moment when the logo of the motherboard manufacturer is shown, at the bottom you will see the buttons that you need to press to open the BIOS and boot-menu. It can be Delete, F1, F8 - each manufacturer has its own set of keys.

The open boot menu is a window with a list of devices available for boot. How to make a flash drive installation? Simply select it from this list and the computer will boot using the Windows Installer. Further installation of a new operating system is not difficult. It is necessary, as when installing a regular program, to agree to the terms of use, choose a location for installation and wait until all the files are copied.

As you can see, there is nothing difficult in installing Windows from a USB flash drive. Creating a bootable flash drive takes about 10-20 minutes (depending on the speed of downloading data to the drive), and installing the system itself does not cause difficulties even for people without experience reinstalling the OS.

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