Create Bootable USB Drives from ISO Images with balenaEtcher

There was a time when only Linux distributions were available in the form of bootable ISO images. Knoppix Linux was the first one to make Live CD ISO images available for everyone. This method of distributing operating systems has become to popular that few years ago Microsoft also started to make Windows ISO available for everyone. But once you download the ISO image, what can you do with it? A few years ago, people used to burn the ISO image to a blank CD or DVD to create bootable optical disks. But now USB flash drives are more popular and can be used for your bootable media.

Everybody knows about Rufus that can be used to create bootable USB drives from ISO image files. But Rufus has too many options that can confuse you. If you want a simpler and easier to use tool, then you can try balenaEtcher. It is the extremely easy to use – you simply have to select an ISO image, select a target USB drive and then it will take care of everything else.

balenaEtcher

In the user interface, you can begin simply by clicking on Select image button. You can choose ISO, IMG, ZIP and many other types of images that are more popular with Linux users. After this you can click on the Select drive button to pick a USB drive attached to your PC. And finally click on the Flash button to create the bootable USB drive.

balenaEtcher

Through this process, balenaEtcher guides you by giving you useful information, for example, if you select a Windows ISO image, it tells you to use other better tools like Rufus instead. And if you select a non-bootable ISO image, it informs you that resulting USB drive won’t be able to boot.

balenaEtcher

Conclusion: balenaEtcher uses Electron framework for development which makes the download around 75MB which is huge compared to other similar tools like Rufus which is less than 1MB in size. Besides it may not be able create working bootable Windows USB drives. However, it works flawlessly for Linux ISO images such as Ubuntu and Mint.

You can download balenaEtcher from https://www.balena.io/etcher/

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