Create bootable USB drives with WinUSB Maker

Start or install Windows from a USB drive or similar device with this free utility.

Once upon a time, creating a bootable floppy was high on the list of "things to do when installing Windows." Bootable floppies made system recovery much easier. WinUSB Maker creates a bootable startup disk on any removable USB drive or similar location. It does much more, too, such as creating bootable ISO image, GRLDR, and DOS disks as well as full drive backups. And it's extremely easy to use. You'll need your Windows installation disk or an existing setup disk, ISO image, or folder to use the program, and be sure to use a USB drive with enough capacity.

WinUSB Maker's user interface is about the size of a smartphone on the screen, and all its options and controls are right there up front. The default Functions selection, Setup Folder Bootable Disk, creates a bootable drive that can start a sick PC and restore or, if all else fails, reinstall the operating system. We could specify Normal Detection Mode, which identified all our removable drives and their capacities, or Fixed Detection Mode, which showed our hard drives. WinUSB Maker also includes check boxes to force either NTSB or FAT32 file systems, which certainly expands the range of compatible devices. With our USB drive selected, we browsed to our Windows installation disk, though you can also use an ISO image if your copy of Windows didn't come with a disk, such as Netbook installations. WinUSB Maker can identify valid source files.

When we'd made all our selections, we clicked the button labeled Make It Bootable, and WinUSB Maker did the rest, formatting our drive and copying the files, tracking the job with a green progress bar. When the job was done, we tested our bootable drive, and it worked fine. To use your bootable USB drive, insert it and start your computer, then select your bootable drive from your system's boot menu (which is different for every BIOS). You should then be able to restore or reinstall your operating system. Be sure to label your bootable USB drive, and don't lose it!

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