Monday, December 11

Take your operating system with you, create and use your portable USB distro

When you want to have several operating systems on the same memory device, we refer to a Bootable USB, something that we are going to talk about right now so that you understand it well and know how you can create it.

A Bootable USB is something that really comes in handy if you intend to take an operating system from one place to another and use it on a computer other than your own.

It is something that is very interesting and also very practical, since it also allows us to test other systems without having to install them.

You can make Windows, GNU/Linux or macOS Bootable USBs.

Table of Contents:

What exactly is a Bootable USB or Bootable USN?

Although the word Bootable is already giving us clues, the truth is that if we were to say bootable USB it would be exactly the same and maybe many people would understand it much better.

This means that we are facing a USB drive that is capable of running automatically on a computer.

Starting from there, it is evident that, if in said USB we have one or more operating systems, we will be able to work with them in any computer without having to be in the internal storage of the PC, that is, the external memory is enough to move and operate the system.

In order to create a bootable USB we need at least 3 things mainly:

  • ISO image: It is essential to have the ISO image of the operating systems that we want to be present within the USB.
  • USB drive: We know it, it’s obvious, but we must have a USB drive with enough capacity to hold all the systems we want it to have, something that doesn’t seem like a problem today. The best thing would be for it to be a USB 3.0, since it works faster, which will shorten the times.
  • software: The software with which we will make a conventional USB drive become a bootable USB for various operating systems is paramount. Currently, there are quite a few such tools on the market.

Create a bootable USB with various operating systems

The statement with which we ended the previous paragraph is totally true. Currently, there are many programs on the market that are dedicated to creating a bootable USB, so if you are not familiar with this software, it might be overwhelming.

We are going to show you how it works with one of the most used programs for this task, which does not mean that it is the best, but it does mean that it is among the most advisable.


YUMI (Your Universal Multiboot Installer) is one of the best known programs for generating this type of bootable USB with various operating systems.

It’s a free and open source programwith which we can create a bootable USB from ISO images, being able to load them manually or download them from the program itself, as is the case with Linux.

Once we have YUMI downloaded and installed on the computer, the next thing we must do is:

  • We connect the USB to the computer (It is recommended that it be empty).
  • We open YUMI and we accept everything you request.
  • At this time we must choose the pendrive where we are going to install everything. We will have the option, whenever we want to format the unit in FAT32 or NTFS.
  • Just below, where it says Step 2: Select a Distribution to put onwe will see a dropdown with a lot of options where we can choose the operating system we want, mainly Linux, although we will also have Windows or even macOS.
  • If we choose any Linux distro the program is able to download italthough we can choose to place it by hand if we have the corresponding file.
  • When we want a boot unit with Windows or macOS, we will be the ones to incorporate it from an ISO image that we have previously downloaded in the Step 3.
  • We just have to click on Browse and choose where we have the ISO to load it.
  • Now all you have to do is click on Create.
  • Once used it will show a summary with what it is going to do on the USB so that we can verify that everything is as we want and that there is nothing wrong.
  • Now the process of copying the ISO to the USB will begin.
  • At the moment that tells us that it has finished we will be able to add a second system operational if we want, since the program itself asks us.
  • By indicating yes, it will take us to the main section and we must carry out the same steps as in the previous case, but this time with the other ISO of the other operating system that we want to put on the USB and, of course, without formatting anything at all.
  • Once everything is completed, it will be the moment in which we click on Create again for timely recording to the USB to proceed.
  • When it is finished we will have a second operating system on the USB, being able to repeat this process as many times as we want.

Other alternatives

We have more alternatives to get a Bootable USB. Some of these programs are only based on one system, but there are others that are valid for all of them.

Let’s see which are the most used:

  • Rufus: It is one of the most complete and most used to create Windows bootable USB mainly, although it allows you to make them from any other operating system.
  • Etcher: another great application that allows us to create bootable USB, in addition to versions to install the operating system wherever we want, we will also have portable and executable versions of Windows, GNU/Linux and macOS.
  • SUSE Studio Image Writer: This tool is specialized in generating bootable USB for openSUSE distribution on Windows.
  • Universal USB Installer: with this example you will be able to produce any type of USB, such as GNU/Linux, Windows or macOS distributions, and even special security units,
  • MultiBoot USB: Open source application that is specific to Debian/Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSE, and Mageia distros, as well as Windows.
  • Live USB Install: This time only GNU/Linux distros can be used. It has version for Windows, but it doesn’t work to create bootable USB of Microsoft system.

Now that you know what a Bootable USB is and how to make it, surely you can think of a good reason to generate one and thus take full advantage of this type of utility.

Tell us which tool you have chosen and what you use it for, on our social networks.

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