Rufus is the most popular tool for preparing the USB pendrives as the installation media for Windows or Linux operating systems. It comes as a small portable tool and can work with the ISO images of Windows and almost all the popular Linux variants. You can read our older article on how to use Rufus to create bootable USB drives from ISO images.
In the new version 3.5 of Rufus, they have added two new features – one is the ability to download Windows ISO images directly from within Rufus, and the second feature allows you to use external USB hard drives as the installation media (this option was already available in older versions, but required the use of a hotkey).
Here is how you can use Rufus to create bootable USB hard drives for installing Windows or Linux:
- Download latest version of Rufus portable from https://rufus.ie/.
- Launch Rufus and select the option List USB Hard Drives.
- Select your USB hard drive, select an ISO image (Windows or Linux) and click on the Start button.
- You will be shown a warning that it is going to destroy all the data on the target storage drive. If you want to continue, click on the OK button.
- After a few minutes (depending on the ISO file size), your external hard drive is ready for installing operating system.
Since external USB drives are way faster than any USB pendrive, they are ideal for using as the bootable installation media for installing Windows or Linux on any computer. But if your USB hard drives already contain some data, then you should not use Rufus and prepare external USB hard drives as mentioned in how to install Windows 10 from an external hard drive.