Nowadays it’s pretty common to create a bootable USB Drive to install Windows, and you have a wide range of applications to achieve that with ease. The price per gigabyte of Flash storage became cheaper than ever.
Rufus, a simple yet powerful tool, is one of the best you have to create a bootable USB. It comes in multiple flavours. In addition you can download a portable version which is more practical for some.
For Windows, just make sure you’ve at least 4GB available on your USB Drive!
Also, Rufus includes an integrated feature where you can download different ISO’s for Windows 10 and 8.1
Let’s start with Drive Properties section
Get the latest version of Rufus from https://rufus.ie/. After you’ve installed or run your portable version from .exe, just plug-in your USB Drive. It will be shown in Devices list. Downside, there’s a Select Button which you can click and select the .ISO of your choice. Or Download to choose from multiple Windows builds that program supplies.
From Image Options you can choose between Standard Windows Installation – For installing into a Hard Drive or Solid State Disk – Or Windows To Go – To create a bootable “live” version which you can deploy and run from USB but without touching your computer Local Storage.
You can select between MBR and GPT for Partition scheme. For instance, the first is more recommended while using older operating systems that doesn’t support the most modern scheme, like Windows Vista & XP. Or if you have an old motherboard with traditional BIOS. The second one is prefered if you have a modern BIOS that allows support for mouse inside it’s interface. As known as UEFI BIOS.
So we have covered the basics of this section. Let’s go to Format Options.
Continue with USB Format Options
In Volume Label field, you can set the desired name for your bootable USB drive.
Talking about the File System. With MBR there’s only option for NTFS. With GPT you can choose between NTFS and FAT32. NTFS is the most recent from the two, but it’s not that recommended for Flash Drives, because it tends to make additional writes that could shorten your drive’s life span. And if you are used to plug your unit in more than one PC, it could lead to issues with file permissions. FAT32 doesn’t even support this feature, so you’re safe.
Regarding Cluster Size, default setting is suitable in most cases for USB Drives. It depends if you need to store large files or smaller ones. Larger cluster sizes are more recommended if you handle bigger files, and access time is faster, however, it can lead to more wasted space. On the opposite, smaller cluster sizes are slower, but recommended if you have a lot of smaller files to take better advantage of storage capacity.
Last step to get your bootable USB ready!
If all is ok, the Status section will be shown as Ready. After you click start, it will show a Warning saying that all the data inside your USB drive will be deleted in the process. So make sure you’ve previously made a backup if you have valuable information.
If all was successful, a sound will play, and the “Ready” bar will turn green, indicating that it has been completed.