How to Create a Bootable USB Stick

By Garrett Unglaub

With the trend of smaller, lighter and cheaper laptops dominating the market, chances are that your next computer might not have an optical drive. This creates the problem of fixing the computer if it will not boot up, or upgrading the OS when the only copy you have is on DVD. To counter this, most computers now have the ability to boot up from a flash media device, such as a USB stick.

Things You'll Need

  • USB stick
  • Computer with USB ports

Windows 7 Bootable USB

Step 1

Download the \"A bootable USB,\" from \"Tweaking with Vishal\" (See References for link). Note that this tool will only work with 4 GB flash drives and an official version of Windows 7. Also, you must be upgrading from either Vista or Server 2008.

Step 2

Open the program and agree to the license agreement.

Step 3

Plug the USB stick into the USB port and insert the Official Windows 7 DVD into the DVD drive of the computer.

Step 4

Click the \"Check the USB drive\" button. This will make sure the USB drive is compatible.

Step 5

Press the \"Format USB drive\" button. Make sure there aren't any important files on the USB stick, or they will be erased.

Step 6

Click \"Choose DVD.\" Navigate to the proper DVD drive letter and select it.

Step 7

Click \"Start the Process,\" and the program will begin copying the DVD to the USB stick. Now you can use the USB stick to install Windows 7 on to computers without a DVD drive, such as on a computer with just a CD drive or on a Netbook.

Ubuntu Bootable USB

Step 1

Download the latest Ubuntu release (See References for link). If you have a Netbook, get the Netbook remix; if you have a desktop, get the desktop version (See Resources for link). Make sure your USB stick is at least 1GB for Netbooks and 2GB for desktops. Also, make sure to download the flash-compatible \".img\" file.

Step 2

Download Disk Imager and plug your USB stick into the USB port on your computer. Auto-play should pop up. When it does, remember the letter of your USB stick. Example would be \"Drive E:\\.\"

Step 3

Open Disk Imager and click the \"...\" button. Navigate to where your Ubuntu .img file is stored (the one you downloaded) and select it.

Step 4

Select the drive letter of your USB stick in the section labeled \"Device.\"

Step 5

Click the \"Write\" button. This will copy the contents of the .img file on to your USB stick and allow you to boot from it. When the process is finished, remove your USB stick and use it as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a USB stick which is at least 4GB to make sure all of the files are able to fit.
  • Make sure there aren't any important files on the USB stick before making it bootable. The steps listed above will format, or erase, those files.