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In Windows, Win32DiskImager can make a USB boot drive or an SD boot card


Win32DiskImager is a good tool to clone/flash/restore/copy an image file of an operating system to a USB drive or an SD card, that can be moved to another computer, which can boot from a USB drive or SD card.

This is actually the same process as to clone/flash/restore/copy an ISO file. The method under the hood is the same as is described for linux in the wiki page about mkusb.

This method with Win32 Disk Imager works in Windows XP -- Windows 10.


Download the compressed image file

Download the compressed image file with your operating system using your web browser or download a torrent file and get the file faster that way. Typical extensions for compressed image files are


or download a self-extracting file, for example 9w-dus-i686-persist-live_2017-06-01_4GB.exe.

Download and install programs

Download the following help programs

Install the programs (which should be straight-forward in Windows).

Run md5summer

Check the md5sums of all the downloaded files versus the listed values at the web sites, where you downloaded them.

Extract the image file

Run 7-zip

7-zip is a free program. It is also possible to use WinZip, if you have that program. There is a demo video and screenshots at

Extract the image from the compressed image file to a 'raw' image file with the extension img. This will usually be much larger that the compressed file, and you need enough free space in order to succeed.

If the image file is not compressed, you need not use 7-zip.

Self-extracting image file

The intention with 9w-dus-i686-grub_2017-05-25_1GB.exe is to provide a quick method to get a very small portable linux system with the tool dus (alias mkusb-dus alias guidus), that can create persistent live systems in Ubuntu and Debian and systems developed from them. It can also be used for other system tasks and can be a first step from Windows. This system expands to 1 GB and contains a live-only system.

The file 9w-dus-i686-persist-live_2017-06-01_4GB.exe expands to 4 GB and contains a corresponding persistent live system.

See more details including download links at /9W-DUS_i686.exe

Run Win32 Disk Imager


The following screenshots are 'borrowed' from the description of using it with ISO files, but if you replace 'iso' with 'img', they would be the same. (An ISO file is an image file with the ISO 9660 file system.)

Ignore this warning

There can be a warning, that you need to format the disk in drive

This is because Windows might not recognize the file system on the pendrive. But do not worry! The process to clone/flash/restore/copy the iso file will overwrite the target drive anyway, so it is completely meaningless to format it.

Select file

Select the img file (that you extracted and want to use) in the Win32 Disk Imager window. Click on the symbol, and get the file selector (in the right bottom corner). The default is to show image (IMG) files. If there is another extension, it will be displayed when you select all kinds of files *.*


Check device and Write


Check very carefully, that the device (F: in the picture) is really the USB pendrive, that you want to use. The best method is to have only the intended target USB drive connected to avoid the risk to overwrite a USB hard disk drive with all the family pictures and video clips !!!


When you are sure, you can click on the Write button to start the process.


Confirm overwrite alias Final Warning


Progress view

This demo uses a Sandisk Cruzer Blade 4 GB as target drive. It is slow (5 MB/s) but reliable for booting. A USB 3 pendrive in a USB 2 port can be 6 times faster due to faster flash memory. See this link.


Work done :-) Remember to eject the pendrive safely

It is important to flush the buffers, to finish writing before pulling the pendrive. This is done with 'Eject safely'. It is also done at a correct shutdown or reboot.


Good luck and welcome to the linux world!

Re-use the pendrive

In order to re-use the pendrive after installing the operating system, just format it completely (including MBR) using gparted in Ubuntu or Disk Management in Windows. See details in this link.


You find more information at the following wiki page (and links from it)

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Win32DiskImager/compressed-image_2_USB-or-SD (last edited 2017-06-02 21:44:09 by localhost)