A Guide for Creating a Bootable USB Drive for macOS and Windows

USB Sticks, or as they are more commonly known as pen drives, are useful accessories that facilitate users to store, manage and transfer data between different computers. It comes in handy for users who work on multiple devices. Besides this, USB drives also facilitate users to install a new operating system on their computer. All the user needs to do is make it bootable using the operating system’s native utilities or compatible third-party tools. 

Both the major operating systems, i.e., macOS and Windows, offer users numerous ways following which they can conveniently make a USB flash drive bootable. All they need is the operating system’s installer files and a USB flash drive, which has enough space to accommodate the installer files. Using bootable flash drives to format a computer and reinstalling a new or old version of the operating system facilitates users to manually solve any issues that their Mac or PC’s OS is exhibiting. This article will cover detailed procedures following which macOS and Windows users can conveniently create a bootable USB drive on their system. Let us dive right into it:

How to Create a Bootable USB Drive on macOS:

macOS facilitates users to create not only bootable USB flash drives but also Mac boot from USB sticks. There are numerous ways macOS users can make bootable USB drives on their Mac. All the user needs is a USB flash drive with at least 14 GB of free space and the preferred installed files of macOS. Here are some of the most popular ways of creating a bootable USB drive on Macs:

By Using Disk Drill – According to CNET, Disk Drill is a macOS-compatible free recovery application that facilitates users to create a bootable USB drive with a single click. To make a bootable USB drive using Disk Drill, follow the given steps:

Step 1 – Open the application and click on the “macOS Installer” option in the sidebar. 

Step 2 – Open a tutorial video on the side to perform all the actions accurately. 

Step 3 – Select the macOS installer and upload it to the application. 

Step 4 – Choose the destination where you wish to save the file, i.e., on your external USB stick. 

Step 5 – Create the installer file. 

When creating bootable USB drives, most users prefer using Disk Drill since it facilitates them to get the job done quickly and effectively.

Using Terminal – macOS allows users to make a USB drive bootable using its native Terminal utility. Here are the steps involved in the process:

Step 1 – Insert the USB drive into any of the Mac’s USB ports and open the Terminal utility. 

Step 2 – Enter the correct command as per the downloaded version of macOS. Different versions have different commands; thus, you should use the correct command, i.e., which is compatible with the macOS version. 

Step 3 – Hit the “Return” button and enter the admin password when prompted. 

Step 4 – Press Enter and type “y” to erase the USB drive. 

Once the process is complete, the volume where you have created the installer file will show the same name as the macOS version. 

How to Create a Bootable USB Drive on Windows:

Like macOS, Windows users can conveniently create bootable USB drives in more ways than one. Here are two of the most used methods:

Using Command Prompt – The native Command Prompt application of Windows allows users to make a USB drive bootable quickly. Here are the steps involved:

Step 1 – Plug in the USB drive and open Command Prompt as an administrator.

Step 2 – Type “diskpart” and hit enter. 

Step 3 – In the new window, determine the USB drive number and letter by typing “list disk” and clicking enter. 

Step 4 – Input “select disk <x>,” where X refers to the drive number and letter and hit Enter. 

Step 5 – Input “clean” and hit the Enter button to delete pre-existing data saved on the USB drive. 

Step 6 – To create a partition, type “create partition primary: and hit Enter. 

Step 7 – Select the partition by typing “partition 1” and press Enter. 

Step 8 – Format the partition by typing “format fs=ntfs quick” and hitting Enter. 

Step 9 – Type “active” and press the Enter key. 

Step 10 – Type “exit” and hit enter. 

Step 11 – When the custom image is prepared, save it to the USB flash drive’s root.

By Using Rufus – Most Windows users use Rufus, a powerful third-party utility that allows users to make a drive bootable within just a few simple steps. It is a free application that is used by millions of Windows users across the globe. 

Besides installing a new operating system, bootable USB drives can also be used for numerous other purposes, such as booting a PC after an emergency, upgrading or downgrading to another operating system, troubleshooting, etc. If you wish to create a bootable USB drive quickly, follow the above mentioned steps.

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