How to Extract an ISO File to a Flash Drive

By J.S. Copper

An ISO file is an exact image of a disc, be it a backup of your favorite DVD, an exact replica of an audio CD or a digitally delivered OS. Many operating systems these days are being delivered over the Internet in the image file format. In order to use this file, you will need to burn to a disc or mount it on a flash drive. Avoid wasting the physical DVD and keep the whole process digital by mounting the image to USB flash memory. The simplest way of doing this is by using Apple's Disk Utility.

Things You'll Need

  • Disk Utility application

Apple

Step 1

Double-click the ISO file to mount it on your Mac OS X computer and insert the USB drive into your computer.

Step 2

Open Disk Utility. Disk Utility can be found in the Utilities folder within Applications. Alternatively, you can select Go > Utilities from within Finder.

Step 3

Highlight the USB flash drive in Disk Utility's sidebar. Select the Restore tab.

Step 4

Drag the ISO file from the sidebar into the Source box. Drag the USB flash drive from the sidebar to the Destination box.

Step 5

Select "Restore." You will be warned that the flash drive's contents will be erased, this is OK. The ISO file will then be extracted to the USB flash drive. The time it takes depends on the size of the image file and the speed of the flash drive.

Windows

Step 1

Download the WinToFlash utility via link provided in Resources. Run the application.

Step 2

Select your ISO in the Windows Source Path box. Select your USB flash drive in the USB Drive box.

Step 3

Set the USB Drive type to "Flash stick." Set Format to "USB-HDD" and set File System to "Fat32."

Step 4

Select "Run" to begin the process of mounting the ISO to USB flash drive on your Windows PC. This process can be used for Microsoft Windows ISO files, as well as Linux LiveCDs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Microsoft provides a Windows 7-specific ISO to USB flash drive utility. For more information, see References and Resources.