How-to make a bootable USB key.

Sometimes all you need is a USB key to install a new operating system on your computer (who still uses CDs btw?).

First, let’s try to understand some of the options availables and technical expressions:

  • Bootloader Options: the bootloader loads the operating system. Some ISO burners allow you to choose the Bootloader you’ll need for your desired operating system installation.
  • grub4dos: a bootloader package designed to allow users to select between multiple operating systems installed on a single system.
  • syslinux: a lightweight bootloader package designed to allow users to select between multiple Linux or Unix installations.
  • QEMU Emulator: short for Quick Emulator, is a hardware virtualization tool. In this context, it allows users to test their USB before proceeding with the burn process.
  • Cluster Size: defines the smallest available space for storing data. Instead of assigning individual disk sectors, the file system assigns contiguous groups of sectors, called clusters.
  • File System: controls how data is accessed and stored. Without it, your data would lump together with no beginning or end. A file system offers definition for easy access. There are different file systems available, though your burning tool should be discern your requirements via the ISO you use.
  • Bad Sector: Some ISO to USB tools allow you to perform a bad sector check. Before the burn commences, your USB will be scanned, fixing any irregularities to ensure your installation is smooth. Somewhat similar to defragmenting your desktop, but on a much smaller scale.

Then, download and use Rufus. It’s a very small executable with minimal options. You’ll be able to choose the partition scheme, file systems, cluster size, and the type of bootable you’ll be creating. Once you’ve selected the bootable disk type and the ISO image you’ll be burning, you can happily hit Start and wait for the process to finish.

That’s all folks!

Written on July 20, 2017