Create a Bootable USB Drive With Windows

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5805-1[1] I find myself Bing-ing this every few months to make sure I included each and every step.  So often, that I can’t believe I still Bing it.  So below is a manual for anyone (mostly me) to follow in the future.

USB Boot Linux, Windows or any other operating system

You will be creating a bootable usb drive with Windows 7 or Vista’s diskpart utility.  Even though you are using Windows to create the bootable device, the source disk should not matter as long as the os supports booting from fat32.  You can have a Linux iso mounted as the source, and the usb stick will end up being a Linux bootable usb.

Without further ado, on with the steps.

Creating a bootable USB device

In Windows 7 or Vista, open a command prompt.  A shortcut is to press WINDOWS-KEY + R and then type CMD, press ENTER.

C:\Users\eduncan911> diskpart

DISKPART> list disk

Inspect the list and note which one is the USB drive.  Tip: It’s most likely the last one.

DISKPART> select disk 1

Where 1 is the disk number from the list disk command above.

DISKPART> detail disk

The detail disk step above lists the details of the selected disk.  Make sure the correct one is listed.  If not, go back to list disk and start over.


DISKPART> create partition primary

DISKPART> select partition 1

DISKPART> active

DISKPART> format fs=fat32 quick label=“USB_16GB”

DISKPART> assign

DISKPART> detail disk

Note the drive letter listed in the column labeled LTR.


C:\Users\eduncan911> xcopy d:*.* g:\ /E /F

Where d:\ is your mounted ISO or DVD you want to copy from, and g:\ is the USB device to copy to.

C:\Users\eduncan911> exit

And that’s it.  Go stick it in something and boot it.

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