How Do I Create a Bootable USB Thumb Drive from an ISO?

ISO files are disk images often used to distribute software. In years past, we burned them to CDs. As the ISOs themselves became larger, we’d burn them to DVDs instead. In either case, we would then boot from the CD or DVD to run whatever the software provided. A good example might be operating system installation DVDs.

More and more machines are coming without optical drives — that is, they don’t have the ability to read a CD or DVD, much less boot from it.

Fortunately, there are tools we can use to take an ISO that contains a bootable image and place it on a USB thumb drive from which you can boot.

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How Do I Burn ISO Files?

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Can you show me how to burn ISO files? I downloaded this game and it arrived as an .ISO file. Windows keeps saying that it doesn’t know how to open it. Someone told me that I need to burn it to a disc. How do I do that?

The ISO format is a popular way to distribute large packages of files that would normally appear on a CD or DVD. The reason is simple: an ISO file is typically a bit-for-bit image of a CD or DVD.

There are several ways to get at the contents of an ISO file. The most common way is to burn the ISO’s content to an actual disc.

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Where Can I Download Windows?

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I’ve lost my Windows 7 installation disk, but I possess the product key. What should I do if I want to reinstall Windows on my computer? Can I download Windows somewhere?

First: take a full system-image backup as soon as possible, and use that as a fallback. You can always restore to that image in lieu of a reinstall, and you’ll be back to where you were at the time the backup was taken.

You could also get in touch with the vendor who sold you the computer. They provided you with a copy once; perhaps they’ll be willing to get you a replacement copy.

You could, I suppose, go buy a new copy. Most people aren’t interested in doing that, because they don’t want to pay for something they feel they’ve already purchased.

That’s when most people resort to finding a place from which to download Windows. Depending on the version of Windows and where you find it, it might even be legal.

Or it might not.

Read moreWhere Can I Download Windows?