Back in the days, to install an operating system or to create a rescue disk we had no other option other than to burn the whole system into a CD or DVD. Though we have nothing against CD/DVD, the method is clunky, time-consuming and not user-friendly while most of the manufacturers are on their way to bury the CD/DVD writer.
Thankfully, we have USB flash drives to our rescue. They are easier to carry and comfortable to use. Also, we can reuse a USB Flash drive unlike CDs or DVDs and after using it we can format the drive and store something else on it. But to use make a USB bootable we would need a Bootable Software.
To help you create a USB bootable Drive, we have selected 10 best USB Software for Windows/Mac.
How to Create a Bootable USB from an ISO file
Installing an OS is simple; all you need is to burn the ISO to a USB Flash drive with any one of the software from the list. After finishing, restart your computer and change the boot order from USB. Now, follow the onscreen instructions and you are good to go. Once your work is done, you can format the drive and use it as a regular flash drive.
Also read: How to Create Bootable Pendrive using CMD?
List of Best USB Bootable Software for Windows/Mac
Here are the top 10 best USB Bootable Software for Windows and Mac:
1. Rufus (Windows)
When it comes to creating a bootable USB drive in Windows, Rufus is undeniably the best one out there. It is free, open-source and easy to operate. Along with creating a bootable USB for different kinds of operating systems, we can also use it flash BIOS, firmware and run low-level utilities. Additionally, compared to other bootable software this is the fastest in creating a bootable USB drive.
When you are creating a bootable windows drive, you will notice that this software provides you with different advanced options like creating the partition scheme file system and cluster size. These options are going to prove very beneficial while creating BIOS firmware or other low-level devices. Rufus also allows you to check the USB drive for any bad blocks and all you need to do is select the checkbox and go to “check device for bad blocks” under the format option. The software might take time depending on the drive size, the number of passes and USB drive speed.
Rufus is good for people who are looking for a fast and free bootable USB creator. The best thing about this software is that it doesn’t require an install and can run directly from a portable exe file.
2. Windows USB/DVD Tool (Windows)
If you happen to be a Windows user and in need of a bootable USB drive for Windows, this is the official tool for you. As the name suggests, this software allows you to create both bootable USB and DVD drives.
The specialty of this tool is its ease of use. All you have to do is insert the USB drive, select the ISO and click the Next option. After the initial format, the software will create the bootable USB drive within minutes.
However, it lacks options to personalize the bootable USB drives. For instance, you cannot change the file/partition scheme or create an extended level or check for bad blocks. If you don’t mind the lack of advanced options, go for this one.
3. Universal USB Installer (Windows)
Universal USB Installer, as its name says allows you to create any type of Bootable USB media. It is easy to operate and can create any type of bootable USB media, be it Linux and Windows, special antivirus rescue drives, penetration testing drive or other low-level bootable drives.
The interface is very easy to understand. Simply select the operating system from the drop-down menu, select the ISO file, and hit install. Further, the software will handle all the processes of making directories, boot partition and more.
Another useful feature of this software is that it allows creating USB bootable devices with persistence storage. You can select the amount of persistence store storage while creating the bootable USB drive, but this feature is only available for selected Linux distributions.
4. RMPrepUSB (Windows)
If you want a highly customizable and feature-rich bootable USB creator, RMPrepUSB is the one you are looking for. It allows you to create almost any type of bootable media. There is an option for testing, partition, support for multiple image formats, quick format, customize bootloader, file system and QEMU Emulator.
With this software, you can quickly boot into a bootable USB drive using QEMU Emulator right on your Windows machine without rebooting the system. This comes handy when we want to verify if the bootable USB has been created properly. Along with that, you can install various bootloaders like grub4dos, syslinux, bootmbr, WEE and more.
As good as the tool sounds, it is not so easy to use. It has a steep learning curve and is intended for advanced users. But the good news is the official website offers a ton of detailed and handy guides for your assistance.
5. Etcher (Windows/Mac)
Etcher is the new kid on the block and is the easiest one to use in this list. The main idea behind building this software is to remove the complexity of selecting multiple options and settings with different operating-system. You just need a few clicks to convert our USB flash drive or SD card into a bootable drive. It runs on Windows, Linux based OS and even macOS.
Etcher is also available with a Pro variant that is targeted towards enterprises where 100+ drives need to be flashed simultaneously. The app is open-source and you can head to GitHub repo for more information. Future plans of Etcher include support for persistent storage allowing live SD or USB flash drive to be used as a hard drive,
6. YUMI – Multiboot USB Creator (Windows)
YUMI – Multiboot USB Creator is designed by the creator of the Universal USB Installer. While the Universal USB Installer is made to create regular bootable drives, YUMI or Your Universal Multiboot Installer is designed to create multiboot USB drives.
Multiboot USB drives allow you to install multiple operating systems, firmware, antivirus tools and other utilities in a single drive limited only by its memory. Like the Universal USB Installer, YUMI can create Persistent storage to back up necessary files between reboots.
7. WinSetUpFromUSB (Windows)
WinSetUpFromUSB is another windows-based feature-rich bootable media creator. The tool is specially designed to create bootable Windows drive, but there is also an option to create bootable Linux distributions using SysLinux or IsoLinux. It is capable of creating bootable media for WinBuilder, WinPE, BartPE, UBCD4Win, etc.
Though the user interface is simple, you can access the advanced options under the “Advanced Options” checkbox. Further, it also can test bootable media in QEMU emulator along with various other useful tools like 7-Zip, RMPrepUSB, Bootice and more.
8. DiskMaker X (Mac)
Diskmaker is built with AppleScript and can be used with various versions of OS X/macOS to build a bootable USB drive from the OS X/macOS installer program. As soon as you launch the application, it tries to find the program with the spotlight and then proposes to build a bootable install disk.
Using this tool is one of the easiest ways to build an OS X/Mac OS installer in just a few clicks. Then you can install drive or fully re-install the OS on the freshly formatted drive and install in multiple macs without having to re-download the entire installer.
9. UNetBootin (Windows/Mac)
UNetBootin is a free USB Bootable Software that has a collection of predefined distributions and system utilities. It is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux but with a separate file for each OS. The tool is specifically designed to create bootable Live USB drives for Ubuntu, Fedora, and other Linux distributions.
UNetBootin lets you create bootable media by the use of ISO file and allows downloading the Linux distribution directly from the user interface. This software is perfect for users who do not require advance options and looking for an easy to use USB bootable software.
10. EaseUS (Windows/Mac)
EaseUS is an all-in-one software that integrates all the bootable USB and ISO images allowing users to create portable Windows 7/8/10. This will keep your mind at ease in case of any accidental failure, crash and similar disaster that causes a complete shutdown.
So this is the list of the Best Bootable USB software for Windows/Mac 2020 with which you can create a bootable USB drive. If this concept is new to you, Etcher seems to be a good option. On the other hand, if you deal only with Windows, you can go for Rufus or Windows USB/DVD tool. For everything else, YUMI or Universal USB Installer is a good option. If you think there is better USB bootable software, share your views in the comment section.