Quite a few free tools out there to help you create bootable USB drive from Windows ISO file. While using the native Command Prompt method remains to be the best method to prepare bootable USB thumb drive and install Windows from it, not all users are comfortable with command line and prefer using third-party software for the job.
When it comes to transferring contents from ISO to USB and make the drive bootable with the help of third-party tools, users have a couple of good software to choose from. One can either use the official Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool from Microsoft or go for other third-party tools.
While most of the tools out there function as advertised, not all tools support creating USB from ISO file and instead requires setup files extracted from ISO file. For instance, the popular WinToFlash tool doesn’t support ISO files, meaning you need to extract the contents from ISO file before running the tool. To help Windows users, we have compiled a list of four free tools that help you prepare bootable USB flash drive from ISO file.
In no particular order, below are the four best free tools available to create bootable USB from ISO file.
Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool: This is the official tool to prepare Windows bootable USB from downloaded ISO file. Even though the tool was originally developed for Windows 7, it’s compatible with Windows 8 as well. Interface is fairly simple and easy-to-use.
Rufus: Probably the best tool out there for the job. Rufus lets you check your USB drive for bad blocks before transferring the contents of ISO file and also lets you create bootable ISO file from Windows installation files. It’s fully compatible with USB 3.0 drives and faster than its competitors. Rufus is portable and requires no installation.
Windows 8 USB Installer Maker: While this tool is similar to other tools mentioned here, it doesn’t offer advanced options, which means both novice and power users who need a bootable USB drive maker without those confusing options will find this tool useful. As the name suggest, it’s designed for Windows 8 but works on Windows 7 as well.
WinUSB Maker: This tool not only lets you transfer the ISO file contents to your USB but also lets you create a full backup and restore of the USB. Just like other tools, it’s also portable and supports Windows XP as well.
If you ask me to select the best one from above list, I would go for Rufus.