There is a lot better way of installing and formatting windows computers without the use of CD or the CD ROM.
I will be showing you how to make a bootable Pendrive and also, fixing errors in the partition table, so you get two packages in one.
I am putting this up for free, although there are a lot of bloggers who have written a similar article like this, this article will be a lot easier to understand and explanative. This article will also save you time and money.
CD Rom is known as a good way of getting data into a computer and transferring data, but currently, Pendrive has almost, if not replaced the work of a CD ROM.
You can transfer files easily using a Pendrive, you can also install applications using a Pendrive. The good part of it all is that you can use your Pendrive as a bootable Pendrive.
This means your Pendrive can now act as a bootable CD.
Table of Contents
What is a bootable CD?
A bootable CD is a CD that contains operating system (OS) files capable of troubleshooting, wiping, and fresh installing an OS into a computer. If we put it the other way round, a bootable Pendrive contains an operating system file that can also be used to wipe and install an OS on a computer.
The question would be, what do I need, and how do I convert my Pendrive into a bootable Pendrive? A quick one, copying or moving operating system (OS) files from a bootable CD to a Pendrive is quite easy, right? But that shortcut won’t take you to know where, because windows installation won’t be completed if you follow this shortcut.
This is because if you start your windows installation using this method your computer needs to reboot to continue the installation. And when it does that it will read your Pendrive as removable storage and not a bootable Pendrive. As such you won’t be able to complete your installation.
What you need to make a bootable Pendrive
Below are the things which are needed to make a bootable Pendrive.
- Windows OS files
- Pendrive 8GB and above
- Rufus software
- A computer
Before you think of formatting or installing a fresh Windows OS you must be able to identify which of the windows OS you would like to install. Windows operating systems versions include windows vista, windows XP, Windows 7,8,10, 11, and older versions which are absolute. once you have picked a version of the windows OS, you must be able to identify your computer Bit. I wrote an article about knowing your computer Bit you can check it out.
You can download Windows 10 iso file here or google to download the other versions.
The main aim of this article is to replace or make your Pendrive a bootable source, so for sure you need a Pendrive. In my list, I stated 8GB and above if you checked my list properly, this is because windows OS are large and compressed. A single OS can take up to 6GB, Imagine unzipping these large files, it will increase in size right? So we need adequate space in other not to run into an error.
Why is this software on our list? Because it is one of the free and easiest software to move OS to Pendrive. Rufus is free and can be used anytime and anywhere.
You can download Rufus software here.
We will also need a computer to be able to carry out this operation.
Before we move into the procedure on how to make a bootable Pendrive, we need to know the partition table on the disk you want to install your windows OS on.
How to check my disk partition table
In my previous article, we talked a little bit about creating partitions and partition tables. You can check the link to know more. Let’s take a brief one, there is two known partition table they are Master Boot Record (MBR) and GUID Partition Table (GPT). The MBR partition table has been in the game for a very long time and it is used on almost 70% of computers. But most new computers come with GPT partitions. It will be difficult to install windows with an MBR partition table to GPT and vice versa unless you modify the partition table on the disk or the computer.
Most Windows bootable CDs which are been sold out by unauthorized dealers are mostly MBR partition tables. I bought 5 windows bootable CDs from different roadside sellers, and none comes with a GPT partition table.
It’s really important to know your current partition table in other to know how to modify or which to flash into your Pendrive. Back to the question on how to check my disk partition table.
Click on your Windows key + X simultaneously
Click on disk management.
Move your mouse to disk 0, it could sometimes be named disk 1, right-click on it, then you click on properties.
A new window will pop up, move over to volumes on the top menu click on volumes.
There you go, you should be able to see which partition style is currently programmed on your disk and also all the partitions created.
How to turn your Pendrive into a bootable Pendrive
I believe we now know our computer Bit and also the partition on our computer. Don’t forget to download the things we need to make a bootable Pendrive. If you have completely downloaded all we need to carry out this operation then we proceed.
NOTE: Make sure you have backed up the files which are on your Pendrive because your Pendrive will be formatted once we start the process. For those looking for how to solve invalid partition tables follow this procedure, try out each of the partition tables.
Plug your Pendrive into your computer.
If you’ve successfully installed Rufus software move to the software icon, right-click on your mouse, and run as an administrator.
Now we should be able to see the option available on the Rufus software displayed on your screen. If you still have your Pendrive plugged in it will automatically indicate the device at the top of the windows.
Move your mouse to the right side, click on select. Here you will need to provide the Windows ISO file you downloaded from the Windows website.
Select your partition scheme. Remember the partition table you saw when we checked your partition table? That is what you will select here. You either use MBR or GPT partition table.
Finally, we are ready to flash. Cross-check the options you’ve selected and click on the start button. Once you do so Rufus will format your Pendrive and start installing the windows OS into your Pendrive.
Once you are done the “READY” bar will change to green, you can unplug your Pendrive. And there you go, your Pendrive is now a bootable Pendrive.
Advantages of bootable Pendrive over bootable CD
Most people might be wondering why the stress? Why not get a bootable CD and do your thing. Well below are the reasons why I prefer bootable Pendrives over bootable CDs
- It doesn’t wear out quickly: This is my number one reason, it doesn’t wear out quickly. For CDs, when it gets scratched too much the computer lens won’t be able to read data from the CD. You will be left with no option but to get another CD. But in the case of Pendrive, if you purchase a good one you can use it for years without no problem.
- It gives room for the partition table option: As I said earlier most roadside bootable CDs contain an MBR partition table so if your computer is GPT you will need to modify the table which might give you stress or take much of your time. As you’ve seen with your eyes you have the options to choose either GPT or MBR, there’s always an option.
- It is fast: If you have an old bootable CD with some scratches here and there you will notice your computer might take more of your time trying to read or copy what’s in the disk. But in the case of Pendrive there are no scratches your files are safe but don’t crush your Pendrive.
- It can serve multiple purposes: I have a bootable Pendrive of 32GB I also have files and folders inside for drivers and applications. So my Pendrive serves me for different purposes. Installing Software, installing drivers and windows on just one Pendrive. It’s a good one right?
- It saves money: As we said earlier you don’t need to buy a bootable CD here and there for any slight scratch or so.
The option of a bootable Pendrive has been available for years but some people are yet to take advantage of this. Bootable Pendrive serves for multi-purpose, saves time, saves money, it also gives room for partition table option when you make use of the Rufus application.
I was once called to install Windows OS on over 20 desktops, I came the next day with just my Pendrive. My client thought I wasn’t serious because I was holding nothing but a Pendrive.
I told her I will finish the installation that day but she didn’t believe me, instead she gave me a single unit for a trial for me to install the Windows OS. Then she sat down and watch, I finished the first installation in less than 20min I even installed some core apps which she needed, she was amazed, and I was paid.