Create a bootable USB flash drive

Most of us have a USB flash drive laying around somewhere not being used. Why not give it a shot?

Posted by Ryan Desmond on December 05, 2013

If you have been in the IT profession for any length of time I know you have used an operating system CD or DVD to repair a PC. And, the truth be told, there is nothing wrong with doing so. However, you don't need to anymore. Instead, you can make a bootable USB flash drive. This is a good idea for two reasons: One, it's much more portable. And two, it will help speed along the install or repair process.

For me, portability and saving time are two very important factors when working in the field to resolve user issues. Most of us have a USB flash drive just laying around somewhere not being used. Why not give it a shot?

Follow these steps to create a bootable USB flash drive:

  1. Insert your USB flash drive
  2. Open Command Prompt as an Administrator
  3. Type: diskpart and press Enter
  4. Determine the USB flash drive number, you'll need it for a couple of the next steps
  5. Type: list disk and press Enter
  6. Type: select disk # and press Enter       (# = the disk number identified from step 4)
  7. Type: clean and press Enter       (This command deletes all data from the USB flash drive.)
  8. Type: create part pri and press Enter
  9. Type: select part 1 and press Enter
  10. Type: format fs=ntfs quick and press Enter
  11. Type: active and press Enter
  12. Type: exit and press Enter
  13. Copy your OS files (or whatever it may be) to the flash drive

Now you have yourself a bootable USB flash drive.

One last note: Do not copy an ISO to the flash drive because the steps above have more or less made the USB flash drive appear as an ISO.  Copy the individual files to the flash drive and you will be all set!