There are many ways of making a bootable USB stick. Some are easy while others are a bit more complex. Regardless of the method you decide to follow, the steps are more or less the same and the process takes less than five minutes at maximum. In this article we will cover different ways of how to make pendrive bootable. This bootable pendrive will go a long way in booting your windows PC in case there is an issue with the boot system. We will also take a look at the steps that are going to work in making your USB stick bootable for a Windows PC and also for other operating systems such as the multitude of Linux distributions. The minimum size for a USB flash drive for this task is at least 8 GB.
Here is a step by step procedure to follow when creating the drive.
Creating a bootable USB flash drive using the Command Prompt on a Windows PC
- Insert a USB flash drive to a working computer.
- Open the command prompt as an administrator. Simply search 'command prompt' on the start menu. The result will bring up a command prompt option as a desktop app. Right click this and run as an administrator. The window that opens should say 'Administrator: Command Prompt'.
- Type in the disk partition command 'diskpart' and in the new window that opens type in list disk then click enter to run the command (this will show the drive letter of the USB flash drive) Note down or keep in mind the drive letter or number of the flash drive.
- On the command, type in select disk <A> where A is the drive letter or number of the USB flash drive and click enter. Remember to use the letter that the drive had been allocated.
- The next step is to simply type in 'clean' and press enter to erase all the contents of the flash drive. This is not similar to formatting but if you had formatted the drive before this process it would have erased all the contents as well.
- Next, type in 'create part pri' and click enter to run the command. This creates a new main partition in the USB stick.
- To select the newly created partition, type in the command prompt 'select part 1' and click enter.
- Proceed to format the partition by typing 'format fs=ntfs quick' and click enter. In case you encounter an error at this step repeat it using this command 'format fs=fat32 quick' and click enter.
- Next step is to type in 'active' and click enter.
- Finally exit the command prompt by typing 'exit' and click enter.
- To complete the process, save the .iso (image file) on the USB flash drive and it is ready for use. The bootable USB flash drive can be used to boot Windows operating systems or any Linux operating system.
Creating a bootable USB flash drive using Terminal on a Mac
We have looked at how to create a bootable USB flash drive using cmd commands so lets us see how the same can be done using an apple computer.
- The first step is similar to the one on Windows computers, insert a USB flash drive into the running computer.
- Ensure you have the ISO file or the image file of the OS so that it is easier to drag it to the terminal. This has to be done as on Macs. You cannot make the drive bootable then load on the ISO file later.
- Open spotlight ad and run a search for terminal. Double click on the black box in the search results to open Terminal.
- Type in 'diskutil list' in terminal and click return to get a list of all the connected drives on the computer.
- Get the identifier for your USB flash drive, usually under “external, physical” on the Terminal and can be an identification such as disk4, disk5 or disk1.
- Next type in Terminal 'diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1' if the disk number is disk1, then click return. This selects the disk for the next step.
- Next is to format the disk. Type in 'sudo dd if='. Do not click return.
- Here is where step two comes in handy. Drag the ISO file for the OS you would like to boot into from the USB drive on to the Terminal window. You can also just type in the file path and then press the space key to allow space for the next command.
- Proceed to finish the command by typing in 'of=/dev/disk1 bs=1m' and click return. Ensure that you use the correct disk number for the whole process to work.
- The final step is to type in your password, the same one used to log into your Mac, and press return. You will notice as you type the password that no letters are shown. The process of creating a bootable USB drive with the ISO file you chose will start and may take some time. You are only required to leave the Mac on and Terminal open. No further input is required at this point.
READ ALSO: How to activate windows 10
Using the Windows 10 installation tool
This method can only be used to make a USB stick bootable for Windows 10 on a windows PC.
- Go to the Windows 10 installation page.
- Insert your USB flash drive into the computer.
- Click 'Download Tool Now' on the page.
- Open the downloaded file and start installation.
- After clicking 'Accept' at the bottom of the installation window, check the “Create installation Media” box.
- Click 'next' and then at the next prompt uncheck the box for “Use the recommended options for this PC” and then click 'next' again.
- Check the “USB flash drive” box and click 'next'.
- Select a drive, in this case, the USB flash drive you intend to use and click 'next'.
The last method you could use is the bootable USB software. In this case, we will take a look at Rufus software which is a universal USB installer, this means you can use it for any OS you want to make a bootable drive for.
Using USB bootable software Rufus Software
You can download the Rufus software online. It is a relatively small tool. Run it once downloaded.
- Under device select the USB flash drive you want to use.
- For boot selection choose the disk or ISO image (please select) and adjacent to the right choose the actual ISO file in your computer.
- Under the partition scheme select the scheme that matches your hard drive partition scheme. You can find out the partition scheme used by your hard drive by going into disk management in the control panel and right clicking the disk you want to boot the OS into and then checking its volume tab in properties. The target system changes according to the partition scheme automatically. The Volume Label is basically the name of your USB flash drive so you can change it arbitrarily.
- Next step is to slick start and the process of creating a bootable USB flash drive will start.
These simple steps are how to make pendrive bootable. Keep in mind that only USB flash drives that are 8 gigabytes or more will be able to hold all the data necessary for booting an OS.
READ ALSO: List of laptop shops in Ghana