Thursday 13 November 2014

Create a bootable USB drive

After so all these years I’ve never booted a machine from a USB drive—or, more specifically—had the need to create my own bootable USB drive. I’d just burn an ISO to DVD and call it done. Since I keep all of my ISOs for, like, ever, and tend to hang on to the DVDs “just in case” I’ve got a lot of crap lying around.

I’ve been on a mission to de-crap my life lately.

I also made two coasters today when a Windows Server 2012 ISO failed to burn successfully. Since I don’t like plastic, a better solution was required.

I opted to use Rufus to have a go at making my first bootable USB drive and it worked exactly as advertised. There’s no install required, which I like, and no extra Microsoft prerequisites to locate and install. I popped a big enough USB drive into a port, Rufus detected the insertion, I left the defaults as they were, selected the .iso file to use, and a few minutes later it was all finished.

On the target side (i.e. the computer I was booting with the USB drive), I did have to fiddle with the boot settings in the BIOS slightly to not only enable the machine to boot from USB but also make it extra aware of my intentions. You know what those BIOS developers can be like—your system will be specific so I won’t include the gory details.

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