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How to create a bootable USB to install Windows or Linux

26 mayo, 2021

If you have ever been asked or needed to install an operating system on another computer, you may have found yourself in the need to create a bootable USB for easy installation anywhere. And of course, although doing it is relatively simple, you may not have the necessary knowledge to do it.

So today we are going to explain to you how to do this process, and we are going to try to do it in a simple way so that anyone can do it without problems. We are going to do it on the one hand with Windows 10, which has the simplest method, and on the other with Ubuntu because it is one of the reference GNU / Linux distributions.

How to use Rufus to create a Windows 10 bootable USB disk

First of all you have to take one thing into account. In some tools you will not need it, but in general, in most cases you will have to have the ISO image downloaded of the operating system you want to install. For example, in the case of Ubuntu, getting it is as simple as going to its download website and downloading the version you need.

Microsoft also has a web page enabled to download Windows 7 disk image, and in the case of Windows 10 we can only do it with a specific application, although do not be afraid because it is precisely the same that we are going to use to create the bootable USB.

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Windows 10 has its own tool

Windows 10 installation

Let’s start with Windows 10, Microsoft’s current operating system. Here the process is easy, since as we have said those from Redmond have designed your own tool to create bootable USB with which to install your system. It’s called Media Creation Tool, and you just have to click on Download the tool now to download it.

Once the file is downloaded, run it and it will start working. It will first ask you to approve the license terms, and then it will ask you if you want to update your equipment or create installation media for other teams. It is this second option, that of creating an installation medium, which you have to choose before pressing Next.

Before continuing, you will have to choose the characteristics of the version of Windows that you want to transfer to the disk drive. Default they will come preselected recommended for your computer. But since they do not have to be the same as in the other one in which you are going to install the system, you can change the language, the edition or the architecture by deselecting the option Use the recommended options for this team.

Next you will be presented with two other options. You can create a USB flash drive, what is what we are going to do today, but in case you need it, you can also only download the Windows 10 ISO disk image. Connect the USB you want to use, choose the flash drive option and click next to go to the menu where you will have to choose the letters of your USB and follow.

From now on the application will take care of everything else automatically. First, it will download the image of the operating system from Microsoft’s servers, and without your having to say anything else, it will install it on the USB. Depending on your connection the process may take a while, but once it is finished you will have a USB with Windows ready to be booted from it. Now you will only need to start the computer from it and you will be able to install Windows 10.

For everything else … UNetbootin


But if you want to install a GNU / Linux distribution, the tool you will need is UNetbootin. It is cross-platform as it is available for Windows, GNU / Linux and macOS, and you don’t even have to install it. Just download it from its website in the version you need and run it normally.

UNetbootin is a fairly veteran project, but it stays in shape thanks to its extreme ease of use. Its main function is that in many cases you won’t even need to download the ISO of the operating system you want to install, as there is a default list of some popular GNU / Linux distributions.

When you run the application, you will see that it presents you with two options to proceed. The preselected will be Distribution, which will allow you to choose a distro from the list. First you will have to choose the one you want to use from the distribution drop-down and then open the versions next to it to choose the one you want.

In the event that you cannot find the distro you need, either because it is not listed, because you want a more modern version, or simply because you prefer to create a USB with Windows 7, there is a second option called DiscImage what will allow you to use one that you have already downloaded in advance.

In this case, choose the ISO option in the drop-down menu, and on the right click on the icon with the three dots to open a file explorer, go to the folder where you have it and double click on it to select it. Then, in the dropdown Kind choose USB option, as it is in one of these units that you want to install it, and in the Unit choose the letter of your USB. Once the parameters have been configured, just press the button Create and the app will take care of the rest

Don’t underestimate YUMI or other alternatives


If you are not entirely satisfied with what UNetbootin offers or if it seems too complicated, you have other options. The most interesting of all is YUMI of which we could say that it’s even easier to use. Its main objective is that you do not need to complicate your life looking for the distros.

The mechanics are simple, first you choose the unit in which you want to install and then the operating system you want to install on it. They can be from GNU / Linux to Windows, through other applications such as antivirus or system tools. When you choose the distro you want, you will see a link to the project page to download its ISO, and once done you will only have to choose it in the explorer and start the installation process.

You have to keep in mind that if you choose Windows will not offer you the links to download the ISOs, so you will have to pull links from Microsoft or the Windows 10 tool to get them. But for the rest, you only need to choose if you want to format the drive you are going to use and click on the button Create to start the process.

And if you need a slightly more advanced tool you have to RUFUS, which is another of the most recommended to install ISO images of Windows, GNU / Linux or UEFI. In addition, you also have others like Linux USB Creator to create USBs of Linux systems on Windows, or a specific SUSE Studio ImageWriter to create SUSE discs on Windows.

Cover image | NOGRAN