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Easy steps to create a bootable USB drive [tutorial]

Almost all brand new computers (desktops and laptops) released for the last 3 years no longer sport a CD/DVD reader so formatting a machine can only be done by either downloading the installer files directly, or by using a USB flash drive. But if you think copying ISO files to a USB flash drive makes that drive bootable, which means that your computer will read it after a restart instead of the hard drive, think again. You’ll need to burn an ISO file to your USB drive in order to make it bootable. If you haven’t tried it before, below are the steps that you can do.

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How to create a bootable USB drive using DISKPART Command

Diskpart, short for Disk Partition, is a utility tool within Windows that can be used to prepare a USB drive and make it bootable. Before you do the steps below, make sure that you have at least 4 GB for the 32-bit version and 8 GB for the 64-bit version.. The bigger the better though.

Once you’re all set, follow the steps below on how to create a bootable USB drive.

  1. Plug in your USB flash drive to your computer. Keep in mind that this process will erase everything in the USB drive so make sure to back your files in it before you proceed.
  2. Click on Start button and search for CMD in the search field.
  3. Right click on CMD.exe and select Run as administrator.
  4. If a User Account Control (UAC) box appears, click Yes to confirm.
  5. In the Command Prompt, type in DISKPART and press the Enter key. This will open the Diskpart utility.
  6. If you want to know the disk number of your USB drive, you can type in LIST DISK in the Command Prompt, then press Enter key. Your USB flash drive should be here in this list so take note of the number next to it.
  7. Select the disk number (USB drive) by typing in SELECT DISK #.   # should be the number of your USB drive from the previous step.
  8. Wipe the drive by typing in CLEAN, then press Enter key. This will tell disk management utility to verify the integrity of the USB drive. This will also delete all data in the drive.
  9. Then, type in CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY, then press Enter key to create a bootable partition.
  10. Select the new partition by typing in SELECT PARTITION 1 then press Enter key.
  11. Then, type in ACTIVE and press Enter key to activate the partition.
  12. Format the partition by typing in FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK then press Enter key.
  13. If you want to assign a drive letter, type in ASSIGN then press Enter key.
  14. To exit Diskpart utility, type in EXIT.
  15. The last step is to copy the operating system (from the ISO file). Once the USB drive has been made bootable, you can copy over the installation files for the operating system you want to install. You can do this by dragging and dropping using your preferred file manager/explorer. Copy over any drivers you might need during the operating system installation to make the process much smoother.

If you don’t want to use the built-in Windows DISKPART utility to do the job, there are other third party programs that you can use as well like Rufus, RMPrepUSB, WinSetupFromUSB, or UltraISO.


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