Rufus: How to Create USB Installation Media from Bootable ISOs (Windows, Linux, UEFI, etc.)
Rufus: A Powerful Tool to Create Bootable USB Drives
If you need to install or run an operating system or a program from a USB drive, you will need a tool that can format and create bootable USB drives from ISO files. ISO files are image files that contain all the data and instructions for a specific system or software. One of the best tools for this purpose is Rufus, a free and open-source application that works on Windows.
In this article, we will introduce Rufus and its features, benefits, and alternatives. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about Rufus and provide some tips and recommendations for using it.
What Is Rufus and What Can It Do?
Rufus is a utility that helps format and create bootable USB flash drives, such as USB keys/pendrives, memory sticks, etc. It can be especially useful for cases where:
You need to create USB installation media from bootable ISOs (Windows, Linux, UEFI, etc.)
You need to work on a system that doesn't have an OS installed
You need to flash a BIOS or other firmware from DOS
You want to run a low-level utility
Rufus is a small but powerful program that has many options and features. It supports various file systems, partition schemes, boot modes, and ISO formats. It can also download ISO images of Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11 directly from Microsoft's servers. It can also create Windows To Go drives, which are portable versions of Windows that can run on any computer.
What Are the Main Features of Rufus and How to Use Them?
Some of the main features of Rufus are:
Boot Selection: This feature allows you to select the source of the bootable data, which can be an ISO image, a disk image, or a non-bootable device. You can also download an ISO image of Windows or Linux from the Internet using this feature.
Device: This feature allows you to select the USB drive that you want to format and create bootable. You can also see the device information, such as capacity, file system, label, etc.
Partition Scheme: This feature allows you to select the partition scheme for the USB drive, which can be MBR or GPT. MBR is compatible with BIOS or UEFI systems, while GPT is compatible with UEFI systems only.
Target System: This feature allows you to select the target system for the USB drive, which can be BIOS or UEFI, UEFI (non CSM), or UEFI (CSM). BIOS or UEFI is compatible with both legacy BIOS and modern UEFI systems, while UEFI (non CSM) is compatible with modern UEFI systems only. UEFI (CSM) is compatible with modern UEFI systems that support legacy BIOS emulation.
File System: This feature allows you to select the file system for the USB drive, which can be FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, UDF, or ReFS. FAT32 is compatible with most systems and devices, while NTFS is compatible with Windows systems only. exFAT is compatible with newer systems and devices that support large files. UDF is compatible with optical media such as CDs and DVDs. ReFS is compatible with Windows 8 or later systems only.
Cluster Size: This feature allows you to select the cluster size for the USB drive, which can affect the performance and space efficiency of the drive. The default cluster size is usually optimal for most cases.
New Volume Label: This feature allows you to enter a new name for the USB drive.
Status: This feature shows the progress and status of the formatting and creation process. You can also see the log of the operations and any errors or warnings that may occur.
To use Rufus, you need to follow these simple steps:
Download Rufus from its official website:
Run Rufus and accept the user account control prompt if it appears.
Select the Boot Selection option and choose the source of the bootable data. You can browse your computer for an ISO image or a disk image, or you can download an ISO image of Windows or Linux from the Internet. You can also select a non-bootable device if you want to format it without creating a bootable drive.
Select the Device option and choose the USB drive that you want to format and create bootable. Make sure you have backed up any important data on the drive before proceeding, as Rufus will erase everything on it.
Select the Partition Scheme, Target System, File System, Cluster Size, and New Volume Label options according to your preferences and needs. You can also click on the Advanced Options icon to access more settings, such as checking for bad blocks, adding fixes, or using a custom ISO label.
Click on the Start button to begin the formatting and creation process. Rufus will ask you to confirm your choices and warn you about any potential issues. Click OK to proceed.
Wait for Rufus to finish the process. You can see the progress and status in the Status section. You can also see the log of the operations and any errors or warnings that may occur in the Log section.
When Rufus is done, you will see a message saying "READY" in the Status section. You can now close Rufus and safely remove your USB drive.
You can now use your USB drive to install or run an operating system or a program on any compatible computer.
What Are the Advantages of Using Rufus Over Other Tools?
Rufus has many advantages over other tools that can create bootable USB drives. Some of them are:
Speed: Rufus is very fast and efficient in formatting and creating bootable USB drives. It can perform the process in a matter of minutes, depending on the size and speed of the USB drive and the source of the bootable data.
Compatibility: Rufus is compatible with various file systems, partition schemes, boot modes, and ISO formats. It can create bootable USB drives for Windows, Linux, UEFI, DOS, and other systems. It can also create Windows To Go drives, which are portable versions of Windows that can run on any computer.
Reliability: Rufus is reliable and safe to use. It checks for bad blocks and fixes any errors that may occur during the formatting and creation process. It also warns you about any potential issues or risks before proceeding.
Simplicity: Rufus is simple and easy to use. It has a user-friendly interface that shows all the options and features clearly. It also has a built-in ISO downloader that can download ISO images of Windows or Linux from the Internet directly.
Portability: Rufus is portable and does not require installation. You can run it from any location on your computer or from a USB drive. You can also carry it with you and use it on any Windows computer.
What Are Some Other Tools That Can Create Bootable USB Drives and How Do They Compare to Rufus?
There are many other tools that can create bootable USB drives from ISO files or other sources. Some of them are:
NameDescriptionComparison to Rufus
A tool that can create bootable USB drives for Linux distributions or other operating systems.- Supports fewer file systems, partition schemes, boot modes, and ISO formats than Rufus.- Does not support Windows To Go drives.- Does not check for bad blocks or fix errors.- Has a built-in Linux distribution downloader that can download various Linux distributions from the Internet directly.- Works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
A tool that can flash OS images to SD cards or USB drives.- Supports fewer file systems, partition schemes, boot modes, and ISO formats than Ruf us.- Does not support Windows To Go drives.- Checks for corrupted images and validates the flashing process.- Has a simple and minimal interface that shows only the essential options.- Works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
A tool that can create bootable USB or DVD drives from Windows ISO files.- Supports only Windows ISO files and FAT32 file system.- Supports only MBR partition scheme and BIOS or UEFI boot mode.- Does not support Windows To Go drives.- Does not check for bad blocks or fix errors.- Has a simple and straightforward interface that guides you through the steps.- Works on Windows only.
Rufus is a powerful and versatile tool that can format and create bootable USB drives from ISO files or other sources. It has many features and benefits that make it superior to other tools. It is fast, compatible, reliable, simple, and portable. It can create bootable USB drives for various systems and purposes, including Windows To Go drives. It can also download ISO images of Windows or Linux from the Internet directly.
If you need to create a bootable USB drive, Rufus is one of the best tools that you can use. You can download Rufus from its official website: . You can also check its documentation and FAQ section for more information and help.
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