If you’ve ever built a desktop or are interested in knowing what goes on inside the box of wonder that is a laptop, you might know a thing or two about an Operating System (or, an OS for short). The OS is the missing link between software and hardware, the agent that brings harmony between the two and allows a person unfamiliar with any programming jargon to make use of a computer. In technical terms, an OS controls the working of the hardware and manages everything from storage to input-output operations to page files to overclocking profiles. On the software end, an OS is concerned with the management of drivers, file systems and directories, and user interface. 

Depending on the type of OS, the user interface can be as simple and intuitive as Windows, with its simple graphical user interface that is beginner-friendly, or a more convoluted one such as Raspbian Lite, which doesn’t have any sort of Graphical User Interface whatsoever! It can also be a mixture of the two, as in the case of Linux and its derivatives (Kali Linux, Ubuntu, and so on).

Now imagine a scenario: you wish to assemble a desktop from scratch. You carefully select all the components required to do so, and they arrive in pristine condition. Say you were able to put it together without any hassle. This is when all the physical turmoil of inserting CPUs and PCIe cards ceases, and the real problem begins.

Even if you did everything correctly, the system wouldn’t boot up because it lacks an operating system and would only show the BIOS settings, something that is far more complicated to understand with its countless number of settings.

In order to get the system to work properly without running into any errors, you’d need an operating system. In order to do so, you’d need to create a bootable disk or a bootable pendrive first and foremost. After getting your hands on one, the next step is setting it up by burning the ISO file. Be sure to make a backup of all critical data on the pen drive. 

The question now becomes: which software do you use from the myriad pool of applications to burn the ISO onto the Pendrive? After all, some of them offer more features than the others, which may or may not be helpful for you and might end up making things a lot more baffling! But fear not, for we have compiled a list of the best programs that you can use to make a bootable pen drive!

1. Windows USB/DVD Download Tool

If you wish to install Windows on your system, the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool is your best bet. All you need to do is download the Windows ISO image file and then install the tool and let it convert your pen drive into a bootable disk. The process is straightforward, which makes it extremely simple for even a beginner to create the bootable drive without facing any trouble. The tool has been made by Windows, and hence, it is fully secure, and you can rest easy that it won’t mess up your system.

The only problem is that this tool only works with Windows, and this means that you can’t run the wizard and expect it to work with any other operating system.

2. Etcher

Etcher or balenaEtcher is another application that allows you to create a bootable drive. Etcher is extremely simple and requires no prior knowledge to run properly. All you need to do is select the ISO file, the storage device that you plan to convert into a bootable disk, and hit enter. Etcher will take care of the rest of the process without requiring any input from the user. 

If you wish to install an operating system for a passion project like a raspberry pi and want to flash multiple operating systems into separate devices, Etcher is the best option available.

3. Rufus 

Rufus is a free, open-source, and light application that allows you to burn the operating system of your choice into an SD card or a Pendrive. It’s a lot less flashy than the other tools mentioned in the article, but make no mistake, Rufus gets its job done and offers some other utility services. It can check the drive for bad sectors by scanning it, and you can change the partition size and file system if you wish to experiment around a bit.


YUMI or YUMI Multiboot USB Creator is a convenient software that allows you to flash multiple operating systems onto the same disk. This feature is exceptionally nifty if you dabble in more than one OS and wish to install them all on your PC. The only thing that limits you is the size of your storage device, and you can use YUMI to burn as many ISO files as you want! 

5. Linux Live USB Creator

If you’re a pentester and want an application that has some advanced features such as virtualization built-in, you should keep an eye out for Linux Live USB Creator or LiLi. This tool is best used for creating bootable pen drives for operating systems like Kali Linux, which require the user to run a number of hoops to run properly. The built-in features of LiLi make things a lot simpler and convenient if flashing a Linux-based OS is the objective. 

6. UNetBootin

UNetBootin is ideal if you wish to install the Ubuntu OS onto your system. It’s open-source and allows the user to download the ISO file right from the Linux servers, furthering the task. What’s more, you don’t need to be on an Ubuntu system to utilize this application; UNetBootin is cross-platform and can be accessed from any OS!

7. Ventry

In case you have a system that runs a Linux-based system and wish to create a copy of your system’s OS for recovery and backup purposes, Ventoy is the ideal option. It flashes the OS onto the pen drive only once, and this pen drive can be used to install the OS on as many systems as you please. Ventry also supports multiple BIOS versions such as UEFI, x86 Legacy BIOS, ARM64, and so on.

8. Gnome MultiWriter

Gnome MultiWiter supports writing the same ISO file to multiple pen drives simultaneously. This is a neat feature if you want to create several bootable disks without worrying about saturating the USB Bus. It supports a pen drive with a maximum size of 32 GB and can flash the OS even if the USB port is USB 2.0.

9. XBoot

When you need to install multiple ISO files onto a single pen drive, XBoot is a worthy alternative with its features and easy-to-use interface. The process is as simple as dragging and dropping the ISO files onto the XBoot window and then clicking on Create USB. With its small size and minimalistic interface, XBoot is great for burning multiple operating systems onto a single pen drive.

10. UUByte ISO Editor

UUByte ISO Editor makes creating a bootable pen drive extremely simple with its blazing fast speed and simple user interface. It also works on mac apart from Windows. It doesn’t feature overly complicated and unnecessary options and can flash any OS within a few minutes!