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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

USB startup disk creator for Linux and Windows...

Info: If you're searching for "how to create Windows USB installer", click here.

When started playing with Linux distro, I realized that I need to have a lot of blank CDs / DVDs so that I can burn the downloaded iso image and test the LiveCD on my machine (to make sure all the devices working as expected before installing). End up with a lot of cd / dvd installers that been used once and forgotten. Then, saw an option to use USB pendrive as an installer. At initial stage the process was quite tedious, but now since the technology has matured there's a lot of tools available that can do the process easily. I'll list down a few of it for reference. Some history about Live USB.

Prerequisites:
  • Fat32 Formatted Flash Drive
  • PC that can boot from USB

Name: UNetbootin
Platform: Linux / Windows

Summary:
"UNetbootin allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for Ubuntu, Fedora, and other Linux distributions without burning a CD. It runs on both Windows and Linux. You can either let UNetbootin download one of the many distributions supported out-of-the-box for you, or supply your own Linux .iso file if you've already downloaded one or your preferred distribution isn't on the list."

My comment:
The most famous one.
Name: MultiSystem
Platform: Linux

Summary:
"Multisystem enables a LiveUSB to do everything, ideal for exploring different Linux distributions without installing on your PC, and it seamlessly; or to install the Linux distribution of your choice on your PC much faster than via a LiveCD with fast USB 2.0 ports Essential throughout the current range of netbooks that have no CD drive."

My comment:
My favorite one. Love the ability to bundle multiple distros and had a GRUB menu as a selection to which distro to be use.
Name: Ubuntu Live USB creator
Platform: Linux

Summary:
"Ubuntu Live USB creator (usb-creator) is an official tool to create Live USBs of Ubuntu from the Live CD or from an iso image. The tool is by default included in all releases after Ubuntu 8.04, and can be installed on Ubuntu 8.04. A KDE frontend was released for Ubuntu 8.10, and is currently included by default in Kubuntu installations. To run the current version on Ubuntu or other distributions, enter either usb-creator-gtk or usb-creator-kde at the command line."

My comment:
First tool that I've used for the task.
Name: SARDU
Platform: Windows

Summary:
"Shardana Antivirus Rescue Disk Utility (Sardu) is software that can produce an ISO or an IMA anti-virus bootable CD, a comprehensive collections of utilities, the most popular distributions of Linux Lite, and the best known Windows PE. It is freeware (it is licensed as an individual ISO / IMA). Once the files are extracted Sardu creates a CD / DVD or USB bootable device with a handy menu divided into four categories: Antivirus, Utilities, Linux, and PE."

My comment:
Seems to me this is the best tool available on Windows platform. You can also have the recovery disk for XP, Vista, Seven or XP (64bit, Professional or Home) in a practical multi-boot menu. Definitely going to try with this one.
Name: Universal USB Installer
Platform: Windows

Summary:
"Universal USB Installer is a Live Linux USB Creator that allows you to choose from a selection of Linux Distributions to put on your USB Flash Drive. The Universal USB Installer is easy to use. Simply choose a Live Linux Distribution, the ISO file, your Flash Drive and, Click Install."

My comment:
An option for Windows user. One Distribution can be installed at any given point in time.
Name: MultiBoot USB
Platform: Windows

Summary:
"MultiBootISOs enables each user to create their own custom Multiboot UFD containing only the Distributions they want. New Distributions can be added to your UFD each time the tool is run."

My comment:
Same feature as MultiSystem but for Windows user. One thing that attract me to this tool was the ability to put Windows Vista / 7 installation disk into the USB. I haven't try this one yet.

Update (02/04/2011)
Tested the tools for Windows platform. Personally I would say SARDU is the best tool available for Windows.

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