Create a Bootable USB From an ISO With These 10 Tools

Gavin Phillips Updated 28-01-2019

Creating a bootable USB from an ISO file is easy if you have the right tools. Here’s how to make a bootable pendrive.


Why You Need a Bootable USB Drive

Installations from a USB flash drive have become one of the easiest ways to update your computer with a new operating system. A USB installation is quick, extremely portable, and has the bonus of reverting to a storage device following the install. See our introduction to using flash drives on Windows 10 How to Use a Flash Drive on Windows 10 Got a new USB flash drive but not sure how to use it? Here's everything you need to know about how to use a flash drive. Read More if you need some background.

You’ll find a fair few ISO to USB tools out there, and they feature a range of tools for beginners and advanced users. Let’s take a look at the burn time, and the resources available to each software. For science!

Note: To keep this test fair, I’m going to burn a copy of Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17713 x64 to an 8GB Integral USB flash drive, formatting the drive between each burn.

A Mini-Glossary of ISO-to-USB Tool Terminology

Before we plow into the testing phase, there are a handful of acronyms I’d like to spell out, and a few other bits of ISO to USB jargon we’ll clear up.

Now, in no particular order, here are the ISO to USB burning tools with their respective times.


Want the TL;DR? Check out the best ISO to USB comparison video below!

1. Rufus

Rufus image burning app can create a bootable USB from an ISO file

Features: Partition schemes, file systems, automatic ISO detection, target system type, mode of bootable, bad sector checks, ISO write mode

First up, Rufus. Rufus is a very small executable that has consistently improved its offerings over the years. Along with standard ISO to USB options such as cluster size and file system, Rufus now automatically detects settings for the ISO you select and fills in the optimal settings. Furthermore, Rufus has a hidden Advanced Mode with a bunch of extra options.


Rufus clocked in at 21m12s which is definitely not the fastest. Regardless, Rufus is an excellent ISO to USB tool.

2. Windows USB/DVD Download Tool

Windows USB/DVD Download Tool can create a bootable USB from an ISO file

Features: None

Such an eloquent name. You select your ISO. You select your media type; USB or DVD. You click Begin Copying, and off it goes. In what is the most basic of basic UIs, and with only two options, the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool is almost sublimely simple, comparable only to ISO to USB. This makes it a fine tool when installing Windows 10 from a USB drive How to Install Windows 10 From a Bootable USB Drive Need to install a fresh copy of Windows? Learn how to make a bootable USB stick with UEFI support. Read More .


Windows USB/DVD Download Tool came home in 17m51s which puts it toward the top of the ISO to USB timings board.

3. RMPrepUSB

RMPrepUSB can create a bootable USB

Features: Bootloader options, file systems and overrides, grub4dos, syslinux, QEMU

RMPrepUSB is one of the most complete ISO to USB packages on this list. Aside from the features above, it comes packed with a host of other bootloaders, DiskDoctor, Speed Tests, and individual user configurations for frequently prepared drives.


RMPrepUSB clocks in with a 21m38 putting it firmly toward the top of the timings board but, like Rufus, the features more than make up for the slightly slower time.


YUMI can create a bootable USB from an ISO file

Features: Multiboot, ISO auto-download

YUMI (Your Universal Multiboot Installer) is another multiboot ISO to USB installer with settings for a vast range of Linux, Windows, and system utility Boot Multiple Live CDs From One USB Disk With YUMI [Windows] Put multiple bootable tools onto one USB drive, then pick which one you want to boot when your computer starts up. Whether you want to try out various Linux environments at once or put together... Read More ISOs. YUMI is easy to use. You scroll down the distribution list and check for the ISO you want, then select the corresponding ISO on your system from the box below. Don’t have the ISO? YUMI will take care of that for you.

YUMI clocked in at 17m46—slower than the first time I ran these tests some five years ago (it was 14m50s back then!), but still ahead of the rest.

5. Novicorp WinToFlash [No Longer Available]

Novicorp WinToFlash can create a bootable USB from an ISO file

Features: Multiboot, grub4dos, bootloader options, burning wizard, file systems, burning profiles, ISO auto-download

Novicorp WinToFlash is a popular ISO to USB utility that features a handy burning wizard. The wizard guides you through the burning process, although it isn’t unique to the utility (Rufus fills in all the information you need, for example). WinToFlash also allows you to create multiboot USBs as well as an auto-downloader for any ISO files you’re missing.

WinToFlash clocks in at 22m01, decent speed for a tool that guides you through the ISO to USB process.

6. UNetbootin

UNetbootin can create a bootable USB from an ISO file

Features: grub4dos, ISO auto-download (Linux only), syslinux

UNetbootin is primarily a Linux LiveUSB burning tool, but it works sufficiently well with Windows that it deserves inclusion in this list. The UNetbootin utility isn’t flashy, but it does come with a few nifty features. For instance, it has an auto-download feature for Linux distributions, letting you select from a range of popular distros and system utility tools.

UNetbootin came home in 22m01, exactly the same as WinToFlash and again, a decent time for a useful tool.

The ISO-to-USB Winner Is…

Create a Bootable USB From an ISO With These 10 Tools iso to usb burning tools time test

The winner regarding speed is YUMI. The winner regarding features and ease of use is Rufus, which was only 3 minutes slower than YUMI. Furthermore, both burning tools cater to slightly different markets; Rufus is for one-off ISO to USB creation whereas YUMI is excellent for multiboot tools.

Let’s not discount the other USB to ISO tools. The range of burn times didn’t vary much, so it really boils down to the features you need and find in a specific utility.

Other ISO-to-USB Tools We Tested…

I tested many more ISO to USB tools for the sake of competition—and to bring you the best overall picture possible. There were a few tools that didn’t make the grade, for one reason or another. Here are the fallen few:

  • XBoot is another multiboot tool featuring an inbuilt download, but other options were faster and somewhat easier to use. However, XBOOT’s QEMU function is excellent.
  • WinToBootic fits comfortably into the basic features category and clocked a decent time, too.
  • Passcape ISO Burner is a multifunction burning tool, but it wouldn’t work for me. I have read other positive reviews, so it could be worth a look for other individuals.
  • ISO to USB is another very basic tool. However, it didn’t make the cut through a slow time and lack of features.
  • FlashBoot has a decent UI and a burning wizard to guide you through, but I gave up on the test as it had not even hit 50% after nearly 40 minutes.
  • UltraISO burned the ISO to USB at a reasonable speed and has the bonus of being able to mount ISOs before burning to check their files.

What’s Your ISO-to-USB Tool of Choice?

Hopefully, you now have a better overview of the best ISO to USB tools available to you. Furthermore, you can pick your tool based upon its raw speed, its functionality, or a combination of both. If you need a guide to creating a bootable USB to install Windows from an ISO file How to Make a Bootable CD/DVD/USB to Install Windows Need installation media to reinstall Windows? Our tips show you how to create a bootable CD, USB, or DVD with an ISO from scratch. Read More , look no further:

For macOS users, we’ve also looked at how to boot your Mac from USB.

Got a load of USB flash drives and that you don’t know what to do with? Here are five use you might not have considered 7 Uses for a USB Stick You Didn't Know About You've used USB sticks to transport files between computers and back up files, but there is much more you can do with a USB stick. Read More , such as installing multiple operating systems on your USB stick How to Install Multiple Bootable Operating Systems on a USB Stick Want to install and/or run multiple operating systems from a single bootable USB stick? You can with these tools. Read More .

Related topics: File System, ISO, USB Drive.

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  1. tim
    September 30, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    why does everyone avoid using the built in tools of the os to make a bootable usb? diskpart in windows does it in about five commands and dd uses the one in linux. no need for any aftermarket tools. so, typing in either one or five commands, gets the same thing done, usually much quicker and without relying on the kindness of strangers not to install a bitcoin miner because you used a 3d party tool.

  2. Suyash
    December 16, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Try Etcher

    • Aldo
      January 11, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      I've had all kinds of errors trying Etcher...dll errors, etc.

  3. Thomas F. Goodwin
    November 3, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    In reply Col. Panek. I use Firefox with Duckgo as my search engine. Type Mint Stick into the search field. You should a list of options. Select mint stick download. Select the second one: Mintstick Download (Deb) -
    From there you can download the deb. package you need.

  4. Thomas F. Goodwin
    November 2, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    I am a diehard Linux user. My favorite USB burning tool is mkusb. It is availible from both Ubuntu and Debian. Next Unetbootin, Mint stick and USB Image Writer.

    • Col. Panek
      November 2, 2018 at 11:37 pm

      I'm running Mint now, and I wondered where MintStick went to. When I type it in the menu search, USB Image Writer comes up, so maybe that's its new name.

      I'm newly enthused about Yumi so I can carry many distros in my pocket.

  5. L
    October 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    thanks for this.

  6. Larry
    October 5, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    We've downloaded Microsoft Windows 10 directly from official sources, the ISO named as "Win10_1809_English_x64".
    Now, We've to face with problem occurs when we try to creating bootable media such as USB.
    We tried on many tools like Rufus, WUDPT, ISO2USB etc.
    We also tried by simply copying.
    But, at all no any method will work. We also try different USB Flash drives.
    But, all gets error-ed, and processing stucked.
    Every time I run Rufus, I get the same error. "Error: ISO image extraction failure"
    We change many of PCs in which some are running on 32-bit and some are on 64-bit. Some have Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10.
    But, all got failed.
    Any body help me how to get rid, how can we solve our problem.

    • Papa
      September 21, 2019 at 10:41 am

      Have you tried the Win 10 media creation tool? It works very well for what you are trying to do.

  7. Edi
    October 4, 2018 at 8:11 am

    Hirens 2018 New Generation is Back All In One Boot Disk!
    this is my open source project 2018 check this guys >>

    IT Tools Pack Solution 2018 Rescue Edition

    (Site in Indonesian language) - Include Acronis 2018 + Norton Ghost + Partition Wizard & Other Tools


  8. Tokarev
    September 15, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Using Etcher on Linux & Win and it ROCKS!

  9. William
    September 13, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Yes. How can you forget Etcher? It is only the fastest, easiest to use software for making bootable thumbdrives ever.

  10. John
    September 13, 2018 at 5:46 am

    You forgot Etcher!!!