Making a USB Boot an ISO Image

Novice: dl dl dl

This article will detail how to make a USB drive boot an ISO image without the use of annoying third party Bootable USB applications. I have not ran into a single instance where this did not work properly. I have tried it with 10+ distributions of Linux, all of them worked flawlessly.

NOTE: ensure that your USB drive has enough storage space to hold the contents of the ISO image or else this will be a waste of time

Software Requirements:

  • Windows OS
  • Admin level access to cmd.exe (command prompt)
  • Diskpart (preloaded with Windows)
  • An archive manager such as 7zip or winRAR

Quick Reference:
Below are the Diskpart commands we will enter within command prompt (See below for further explanation).

DISKPART
LIST DISK
SELECT DISK #
LIST DISK
CLEAN
CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
SELECT PARTITION 1
FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK
ACTIVE
ASSIGN

Step 1: Open cmd.exe as adminstrator and type diskpart [Hit Enter]. You should see something similar to the following:

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

C:\Windows\system32>diskpart

Microsoft DiskPart version 6.1.7601
Copyright (C) 1999-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: ARKNET-PC

DISKPART>_

Step 2: Type list disk [Hit Enter]. You should see the following:

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online          931 GB  1024 KB
  Disk 1    Online          232 GB      0 B
  Disk 2    Online          485 MB      0 B

DISKPART>_

 Step 3: Type Select Disk ‘#’ [Hit enter]. Then type ‘list disk’ [Hit enter] once more to ensure you have the right disk number selected. Pay close attention to the disk size here if you have difficulty determining which disk is your USB drive. Notice how the selected disk is represented by an asterisks symbol, we selected disk ‘2’

DISKPART> Select disk 2

Disk 2 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
   Disk 0    Online          931 GB  1024 KB
  Disk 1    Online          232 GB      0 B
* Disk 2    Online          485 MB      0 B

DISKPART>_

Step 4: Type ‘Clean’ [Hit enter]. This will remove all data that is on the selected disk

DISKPART> clean

DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.

DISKPART>_

Step 5: Type ‘create primary partition’ [Hit enter], then type ‘select partition 1’ [Hit enter]. This will create the partition and select it for the next step

DISKPART> create partition primary

DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.

DISKPART> select partition 1

Partition 1 is now the selected partition.

DISKPART>_

Step 6: Type ‘format fs=ntfs quick’ [Hit enter]. This will format the selected partition with the NTFS file system

DISKPART> format fs=ntfs quick

  100 percent completed

DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.

Step 7:  Type ‘active’ [Hit enter], then type ‘assign’ [Hit enter]. This will mark the partition as active and assign it a drive letter

DISKPART> active

DiskPart marked the current partition as active.

DISKPART> assign

DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.

After Assigning the drive letter to the partition, Windows autoplay should prompt you, letting you know that it has detected your newly formatted USB.

autoplayUSBbootable

Lastly: Using your archive manager of choice, extract the contents of your ISO image onto your newly formatted USB drive. With ALL of the contents of the ISO image now on the USB drive, you should be able to boot from it without any complications.

This technique works great with all types of ISO images, including: Games, Software, Linux and Windows ISOs


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