Make Bootable USB flash drives. Install, boot, and run Linux on USB or even boot from USB Windows 10 or 11. Multiboot ISO files from one thumb drive, pendrive, jump drive, or flash memory stick. Run Linux on Windows as a VirtualBox (VM) Virtual Machine, and more.
On this site you'll find simplified tutorials, software, and media creation tools to help you easily boot from a USB drive. Create portable Linux Live USB sticks, install or make Windows boot from USB, run antivirus programs, backup utilities and system diagnostic tools from a flash memory stick or SD card, perform virtual machine (VM) or kernel-based (KVM) emulation, cloud computing, etc.
Additional information is also provided to help you access UEFI or BIOS to boot from USB. Setup, configure and get started using Linux, along with shell script commands and coding examples to assist you along the way.
Table of Contents
How to boot from USB drive?
To make a bootable USB with Windows, and get your flash drive booting quickly, you can use one of the following utilities. Both tools provide a categorized list of example bootable distributions, information on where to download the ISO files, along with links to each corresponding project page. If you are just getting started, I recommend using YUMI exFAT as it supports Multibooting from both BIOS and UEFI systems and is frequently updated.
Updated: 18 Oct, 2023
YUMI is multiboot USB bootable software. This boot from USB maker is the successor to our singular Universal Installer. As you've probably already guessed, it is a multiboot tool created for the purpose of multibooting. In that it allows you to boot multiple ISO distributions and system diagnostic tools from one multi bootable USB drive.
Updated: 19 Oct, 2023
UUI is a popular Live Linux bootable USB maker. The original version was made over fifteen years ago, and was one of the first automated tools that could make ISO distributions boot from USB. It was recently updated to support an exFAT file system for storage + USB multibooting and now works like YUMI.
Boot and run your favorite operating systems and tools from a flash drive. Copy ISO to USB and take your portable operating system with you to run at any computer that can USB boot. You can also automate the process and boot multiple ISO files from one flash drive or micro sd card by using a multiboot installer media creation tool like YUMI to create a multisystem UFD.
What is a Multiboot USB?
Multibooting allows you to store and run several Linux operating systems, Windows installers, Windows to Go, Windows PE, system diagnostic utilities, antivirus scanners, penetration testing, cloning tools, backup tools, and more, all from the same removable device. Resulting in your own custom personalized bootable diagnostic tool kit that you can put on a keychain or carry in your pocket.
Top reasons to boot from USB
USB booting has several benefits, including but not limited to:
- Portability and Convenience: Flash drives are small and easy to carry around in your pocket, which makes them convenient to use for booting an operating system or system tool from — while on the go. For example, you might use one to temporarily boot and run your own portable OS on a computer at a friend's house, while at school, from your work PC, or when traveling.
- Boot from Multiple Operating Systems: A variety of operating systems including Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD can be USB booted from a flash drive. Making this a versatile option for troubleshooting, running specialized software, testing out new operating systems, and installing them.
- Boot from USB for Privacy and Security: Booting from a USB can be more secure than booting from the computer's local hard drive because it isolates the operating system and any files on the removable drive from the computer's internal storage. This can be useful if you are working from a computer that you don't trust or if you are worried that you might encounter malware or other security threats.
- Operating System Recovery from USB: If your computer's operating system is corrupted or you're experiencing other issues, you can boot from USB into a recovery environment to perform a fix or install a fresh copy of the operating system.
- Fast Solid State Speed: In some cases, a removable drive can be faster than booting from the computer's internal hard drive, especially if you're using a super fast SSD flash drive and the internal hard drive you are working with is old or slow.
- Cool Factor of USB Booting: The ability to bring your own custom Live portable operating system with you to plug in and run from any computer brings about envy because it's just so satisfying and cool. Once others see what you can boot, they want to do it too!
As you can see, USB Booting can be a convenient, versatile, fun, and secure option for a variety of useful tasks.
Helping you make a Linux bootable USB since 2006
Since 2006, Pen Drive Linux has been providing simplified tutorials and media creation tools that make booting a computer from a removable UFD, easy. Enabling you to walk up to any available PC, insert a flash drive, do your work, shut down, unplug the removable device and carry on with your day. By default this usually happens while attempting to leave no traces behind on the host computer system that the removable media was booted from.
I would like to extend my personal thanks to those who have provided continued support and feedback over the years. It is because of you that the bootable pendrive software, projects, simplified bootable USB Linux and Windows tutorials, and related how to boot from USB device information provided throughout this website remain accessible to this day.
This site was originally established as a simple means to experiment and share useful information about booting Linux from USB. This was done in hopes that by sharing whilst learning, I might help others who may also be looking to find ways to easily boot and then run their Live ISO files, Windows installers, PE, antivirus scanners, cloning software, and various other useful diagnostic tools - all from a UFD.
Why the Linux Penguin?
The cartoonlike Penguin (Tux) is historically known as the official Linux Mascot. What better way to represent portability than to have Tux carry his flash drive with him! A special thanks goes out to Marcio dos Santos (Aicrom) — the artist who originally created our Pen Drive Tux Mascot.
Fast forward 17+ years later, Pen Drive Tux is still alive and kicking. Continuing the mission to help you easily live boot from USB flash drives, thumb drives, jump drives, micro sd cards, and other types of removable storage devices.