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Burn ISO Disk Images to USB Flash Drive

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/3/2010

If you're short of blank CD ROM or DVD ROM discs and need to burn a disk image for installation, copying the image to a USB flash drive is a great solution.

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    Burn Software To USB Flash

    Thanks to changes in how we use computers and data, removable disk media has developed considerably over the last 10 years.

    Floppy disks and even higher capacity Zip disks have had their day, and been replaced almost universally by the USB flash device, often called a “pen drive" or “thumb drive." USB flash devices commonly hold upwards of 4GB, a vast increase in portable disk capacity.

    As these USB devices have become more popular, their use has extended beyond simple data storage; it is now possible to “burn" a disk image to such a device and run this on your PC.

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    Benefits of Copying Disk Image Files to USB Flash Devices

    Burn ISO files to a USB thumb drive The advantages of being able to copy an ISO disc image file to a USB flash device are clear – you can reduce wear and tear on a CD ROM, or even retain a copy of your operating system in a bootable state in the event of a system failure.

    This is a really cool way of making copies of your software portable and easily accessible and can be done with just a standard USB flash device (with suitable capacity) and a USB image management utility. It’s then simply a case of choosing the disk image you wish to use (which you might have extracted using PowerISO for instance), copy it to your USB device and then test the image works by attempting to run or install.

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    Copy a Disk Image ISO File to USB

    Using Daemon Tools Lite (a 9 MB file that can be downloaded free for domestic use) it is a quick and simple task to extract an ISO disc image and copy it to a USB drive.

    Use Daemon Tools to burn a disk image to USB Once you have downloaded and installed Daemon Tools Lite, run the application and browse to the location of your ISO disc image, or browse in Windows Explorer to the disc image and right click the file to use the context menu to add it to Daemon Tools Lite. Remember to ensure that the size of the image you wish to mount on your USB device is smaller (with a good margin) than the capacity of your USB flash disk.

    Next, insert your USB flash drive and select the drive letter assigned to this in the Daemon Tools Lite Mount’n'Drive Manager Settings screen. With everything ready, click on the Mount button to begin copying the ISO image to your handy USB pen drive.

    Test if the process has been successful by removing (using the Remove USB Device command in your System Tray) and reinserting your USB drive. If it doesn’t Autoplay, browse to the device in Windows Explorer and double-click the Autoplay icon.