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Is there a "universal" way of how you can make a bootable USB drive out of a bootable dvd or cd? What makes a USB drive bootable? What makes a dvd and cd bootable?

For example there is a program called UNetBootin which can make bootable USB drives, but seems like it only works with various linux distributions. (Tried it with a Win7 image and the SystemRescueCD, which didn't work so well...).

Main reason I ask is that I have a Support DVD which came with an Asus EEE, and it of course doesn't have an external dvd drive. So I am curious if I can sort of move that dvd over to a USB drive so that I can use it without buying one.

Not asking just specifically about this one case though, I am curious to know a bit more about this in general. So, if you have a general bootable DVD or CD (Or a DVD or CD image for that matter), could be linux distro, windows install disk, support disks, etc., is it possible to "move" it over to a USB drive and make that work like the DVD or CD did? (Being bootable and all).

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8 Answers 8

See this post for instructions for how to take stuff that's on a bootable DVD and placing it on a USB drive that's bootable.

A USB Thumbdrive is just a hard drive, and if it's got the right boot files and the BIOS supports booting from an external USB hard drive it will work fine.

To understand what makes a CD or DVD drive bootable see this post on the El Torito (CD-ROM standard).

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Bart's mkbt utility works well.

There are other tools too, this is a nice link if you are wanting to make it bootable but not windows (only, or neccesarily)

http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm

Do note though that computers you use this on will have to be set to boot from the USB in a high enough order of precedence to be picked up before the hard drive.

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The most "universal" tool I've used is WinSetupFromUSB available here:

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/120444-how-to-install-windows-from-usb-winsetupfromusb-with-gui/

This tool allows you to create a Windows XP, Windows Vista/7, some Syslinux ISO and some other bootable (even multiboot), including some cool integrated tools from a single GUI (not very pretty), which even allows you to test the bootable USB key in a VM (QEMU) without the need to reboot a machine.

This is my first answer, hope it helped.

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There is an official Windows 7 utility from Microsoft available out there.

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Use MultiSystem if you're creating the USB drive from linux. YUMI if you're on windows.

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/multiboot-create-a-multiboot-usb-from-linux/

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Both MultiSystem and YUMI allow you to put multiple boot images on on a single USB drive. –  Mark Stosberg Nov 3 '13 at 17:21

I've used this HP utility in the past, but I'm intrigued by the above.

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I have used the Win2flash utility to make my USB boot able and it did worked very well. I installed windows XP, 2003 and Windows 7 using this utility.

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I couldn't get these other apps to work under XP, the documentation doesn't say. I finally resorted to Bootsage, which worked for me the first time. http://firesage.com/bootsage

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