How to Use Rufus to Create a Bootable Flash Drive

It is very difficult to find a CD/DVD rom nowadays, so most people prefer to use a bootable USB drive instead of a CD/DVD drive to install an operating system or software edition. With Windows, there are a ton of software programs to help you create bootable USB drives. Even Microsoft has its own tool. Of all the available tools, Rufus, a free and open-source application, is one of the best. In fact, Rufus is one of the few necessary tools that every Windows user should have in their software catalog. The following steps show how you can use Rufus to quickly create a bootable flash drive in Windows.

Note: this tutorial assumes you already have the ISO file. If you don’t have the ISO file, you can download it from the developer website. SourceForge is a leading reliable repository of such ISO files. Also, make sure the USB drive you are using is at least 8 GB and that it has no important data in it.

Use Rufus to Create a Bootable USB Drive

1. Download Rufus if you haven’t already. Scroll down the page to where you can select the latest updated links,or any older versions. Along with a regular installer, Rufus also comes in a portable variant. Download the portable version if you don’t want to install Rufus on your system. In this case, I downloaded the portable version. After downloading the .exe file, install and open Rufus.

Rufus Download Page
Rufus Download Page (Portable version selected)

You will get an alert asking whether you would like to allow Rufus to check for updates online. Click “yes” to proceed.

Rufus Updates Alert
Rufus Updates Alert Notification

2. Plug in the USB drive, and you will instantly see it in the top drop-down menu. Once you see the drive, click on the “Select” button.

Rufus Click Select Drive Properties
Rufus Drive Properties

3. On the Browse window menu, locate the folder where you’ve stored your ISO file. Select it and click on the “Open” button. In this case, as I wanted to create a Linux Lite bootable USB drive, I chose the ISO.

Rufus Select Iso
Rufus Select ISO

4. (Optional) If you want, click on the little “Check” icon next to the “Boot Selection” drop-down menu to compute and see the MD5, SHA1, and SHA256 checksums of the ISO file. This is used to verify whether the ISO file was tampered with previously.

Rufus Iso File Checksum
MD5, SHA1, and SHA256 Checksums

Wait a few seconds for the computation to be over. If no red flags show up, it means the operating system/software edition is safe to use on your PC.

Rufus Iso File Checksum Calculations
Checksum Calculations

5. Select “MBR” from the Partition Scheme drop-down menu and “BIOS or UEFI” from the Target System drop-down menu. If you are trying to use this bootable USB drive on an old system, select the “Add fixes for old BIOSes” checkbox under the “Advanced Drive Properties” section.

Rufus Choose Partition Size Target System
Rufus Select Partition Size and Target System

6. (Optional) You can change the USB drive name using the “Volume Label” field. Additionally, under “Advanced Format Options” make sure the “Quick Format” checkbox is selected. As the name implies, Quick Format formats the drive quickly by skipping the check for bad sectors.

Rufus Format Options
Rufus Format Options

7. Click on the “Start” button.

Rufus Start Formatting Operation
Rufus Start Formatting Options

8. Depending on the ISO file, Rufus may prompt you to download additional files. For instance, to create a bootable Ubuntu drive, Rufus prompts you to download the newer version of Syslinux. Just click on the “Yes” button, and Rufus will take care of everything.


9. In the next prompt, select the recommended “Write in ISO image mode” option and click on the “OK” button. You may also see a drive format warning – click on the “OK” button.

Rufus Iso Hybrid Image Mode
Rufus Hybrid Image Mode

10. As soon as you start the process of formatting, you will get a warning that all data on the device will be destroyed. It’s nothing to worry about, as you can recover the data later, so click OK. If you wish to re-use the USB drive again for data storage, follow the steps in this tutorial.

Rufus All Data Destroyed Warning
Rufus All Data Destroyed Message

11. As soon as you click on the button, Rufus starts to create the bootable USB drive. Depending on your USB drive, it can take a few seconds or minutes to complete the creation process.

Rufus Iso Created Usb Drive
ISO Being Created

12. Once done, you will not see a completion message but will hear a completion sound, and the progress bar will turn fully green.

Rufus Bootable Drive Ready

13. From the File Explorer, you can verify whether a new bootable drive was created.

Rufus Bootable Drive Created

As you can see, it is pretty easy to create a bootable USB drive using Rufus. No matter how complicated the operating system/software edition is, Rufus will convert it into a usable drive provided the drive has enough space. Apart from Rufus, there are other tools, such as BalenaEtcher, WinToFLash, UNetbootin, and Yumi, which also provide the same outcome.
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Sayak Boral
Sayak BoralSayak Boral is a technology writer with over ten years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.