Rufus – Creating bootable USB drives from ISO images

Have you ever downloaded software as an ISO image and needed to burn it to a CD or DVD to be able to install it? ISO files are complete images of a CD or DVD which when burned to an optical disc, a CD or DVD, create a copy of the original disc.

It is possible to install the ISO image onto a USB drive instead using software tools created for this task. This is useful for installing software on computers that do not have a working optical drive.

I found Rufus back in 2013 when I installed a preview version of Windows 8.1 to give it a try. I downloaded the installation software as an ISO image file.

Now the obvious thing to do would have been to have burnt the Windows ISO file to a blank DVD but as I was only likely to use it once this seemed a waste, so instead I decided to create a bootable USB flash drive from the ISO image, that way once I had done the Microsoft Windows install I could format the USB pen and reuse it.

There are various free computer programs available that facilitate copying ISO images to USB pen drives, the one I chose to use is Rufus from Akeo Consulting, a stand alone program which is simple and straightforward to use and did the job in hand quickly and without fuss.

Once created it was just a case of plugging the drive into a USB socket onto the computer and then booting from it. On the Dell computer I was installing on this is simply achieved by pressing the F12 key after starting the machine whilst the Dell logo is on the screen, this takes you to the boot menu where you can select which drive to boot from.

The Windows install worked a treat from the USB drive, and I have also installed Linux from a bootable USB pen created using Rufus and an ISO image too.

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