Trying to create a Hiren's BootCD on a USB. Not needing anything else such as a dual boot of Ubuntu and Haren or Window's and Haren. All the programs that I can find to complete this either end up directing me on how to create a Ubuntu boot on a usb, or how to do it on Windows. But since it is my Windows computer that I'm trying to fix I need an alternative. Please Help?


9 Answers 9


Unetbootin does the job of making a bootable USB, but for recent versions of Hiren's CD to work, a small fix must be made for the menu to work:

  • Open the Software Center and install UNetbootin .

  • Create the bootable USB using the Diskimage option and selecting the downloaded ISO.

  • After the USB is created, mount it in Nautilus (just click the USB drive icon), go into the HBCD folder, rename the isolinux.cfg file to syslinux.cfg and copy it to the root of the USB, overwriting the existing file. Change the first line of syslinux.cfg from DEFAULT /HBCD/Boot/menu.c32 to DEFAULT menu.c32.

Now the USB boots and menu works fine :)

  • This is THE ANSWER that works in 2015. It should be upvoted.
    – shivams
    Apr 27, 2015 at 13:45
  • It doesn't always work...I get the same failed to load menu.c32 stuff...
    – decvalts
    Jul 25, 2015 at 16:44
  • On recent versions, there is no HBCD folder nor isolinux.cfq. Probably because it’s made for UEFI now. May 19, 2022 at 22:38

None of the below methods will work. Although you will get a bootable USB, it doesn't chainload anything out of the Grub Menu. This is especially true for the 'revised' edition of Hiren's Boot CD (the one with the mini-version of Windows XP)

Here is the correct procedure:

Insert your USB drive into your PC and start Ubuntu's partition Manager. Format the drive to FAT32, primairy partition and give a nice label. While you are at it, note the device's mount location (for example /dev/sdb)

When it is done, close the partition manager and start a terminal.

sudo grub-install /dev/device location

Where 'device location' is the location of your USB drive you noted earlier.

Now place the Hirens Boot CD iso-file in a new folder. Right-click the file and choose 'extract here' When it is done, delete the iso file and copy all the rest of the content to the root your USB drive.

There should be 1 folder called HBCD on the drive now, and 4 small other files. Now open the folder called HBCD and copy the files 'grldr' and 'menu.lst' to the root of the drive. Be sure to copy them, do not cut.

That is it, you're done. It should work now as a bootable USB drive aswel as a tool you can use inside a MS Windows environment.

  • How is this an answer? We want to know what works not what doesn't Apr 24, 2013 at 13:37
  • I tried exactly the steps, booted from the USB stick I get error: no such device: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx grub rescue>
    – Montaro
    May 22, 2013 at 21:49
  • 3
    grub-install: warning: File system fat' doesn't support embedding.` Then, grub-install: error: embedding is not possible, but this is required for cross-disk install. sigh Oct 9, 2014 at 17:45
  • @YanickRochon: Same error here, both when trying device as /dev/sdd (the USB drive itself) or /dev/sdd1 (its first partition).
    – MestreLion
    Feb 7, 2015 at 20:28
  • Notice that on UEFI-based machines you may need to install the grub-pc-bin package (not grub-pc) to make grub-install succeed. Aug 31, 2016 at 12:27

Open the Software Center and install UNetbootin . From there you just run it and the rest explains itself.

  • 1
    Following this approach I only get an error message "Failed to load COM32 file menu.c32" when booting from the usb (using Hiren’s BootCD 15.2 and UNetbootin v. 603-1).
    – Wonko
    Dec 28, 2014 at 18:44
  • UNetbootin solution needs a little tweak as provided here: askubuntu.com/a/582853/351841
    – shivams
    Apr 27, 2015 at 13:47

Ok I found a solution here

This approach use grub2 and so it is very convenient if you want to do a multi boot usb

  1. install grub 2 on the usb driver ( grub-install --force --no-floppy --boot-directory=[PATH_TO_USB] /dev/sd[X]
  2. extract Hiren iso files on the usb ( you should have a folder /HBCD in the root of the usb )
  3. copy grub.exe (can be found in hbcd\dos\dos.gz, inside the .img file)
  4. copy menu.lst from the hbcd folder to the root of the usb drive
  5. add the following menu entry to grub.cfg on the usb:

Here the menu entry:

menuentry "HBCD" {  
    linux16 /grub.exe --config-file="find --set-root /HBCD/menu.lst; configfile /HBCD/menu.lst"  

Once compleated you can reboot or test it with qemu:
qemu-system-x86_64 -hda /dev/sd[X]


get hiren's Iso into your HDD. insert your USB pendrive or whatever, download rufus http://rufus.akeo.ie/ and proceed with burning the hiren.ISO file into the USB. once you succeeded, you need to restart your pc and check that your BIOS is configured in such a way that your boot order has your harddrive as the last thing to boot from. Also make sure, that as you reboot your pc again, and you have your USB burned and plugged, you dont have anything else that your pc might boot from. Hope it helps (btw, i just did this 30 minutes ago...) Cheers!

  • 1
    rufus is for windows... (.exe)
    – user56673
    Aug 1, 2016 at 18:51

There is a easy way of installing Hiren's Boot CD 15.2 on Linux (Ubuntu, Linuxmint, etc.).

Download the Universal USB Installer


and open in WINE. Choose Hirens Boot CD and everything is working like you would do it under Windows.

  • 1
    WINE Is Not an Emulator. Jan 28, 2020 at 20:36

Another unusual approach that just saved me in this situation and hence should be mentioned here, is, that GRUB2 can boot ISO images directly!

The Ubuntu help describes it as such:

  1. Install grml-rescueboot.
  2. Place your ISO in /boot/grml/.
  3. Run sudo update-grub

This will automatically create a boot entry for every ISO in that directory, using loopback and chain-loading.

So as long as you got a working Linux partition of any kind that has GRUB2 (wich is much easier and reliable to achieve), you can boot any ISO, even if it’s a problematic one.

Saving a normal Linux user from even needing any external medium. (Though loopbacks can boot isos from other partitions/media too, if you are willing to not use grml-rescueboot and do the GRUB2 config manually.)


Grub 2 - Tutorial

Format your USB-Stick with FAT32 and:

  1. Open a terminal and type sudo su // or su to get root access

  2. Type fdisk -l (and note which device is your USB)

  3. Type mkdir /mnt/USB && mount /dev/sdx1 /mnt/USB (replacing x with your actual usb device)

  4. Type grub-install --force --removable --boot-directory=/mnt/USB/boot /dev/sdx (replacing x with your actual USB device)

  5. Type cd /mnt/USB/boot/grub

  6. Create a file /mnt/USB/boot/grub/grub.cfg with the following content:

    set default=0
    menuentry "HBCD" {  
        linux16 /grub.exe --config-file="find --set-root /HBCD/menu.lst; configfile /HBCD/menu.lst"  
  7. Copy the content of the hirens.iso to the root directory of your USB-Stick (like /mnt/USB/ )

Greetings Tom

  • grub.exe source not specified. From solution below: copy grub.exe (can be found in hbcd\dos\dos.gz, inside the .img file)
    – iFred
    Jul 5, 2017 at 19:44
  • There is no directory named HBCD in modern Hirens May 20, 2022 at 10:29

You can make a bootable USB on Ubuntu from any (bootable) .ISO image using dd command:

dd if=./someisofile.iso of=/dev/sdb

however, I'd like to warn you that dd is a very dangerous command and you should only proceed if you fully understand the meaning of its parameters, in particular, the of one.

If you google for something like "dd iso usb", you'll fins quite a few tutorials, for example this one from Fedora, this one from Linux Mint, or this one from ArchLinux

  • 6
    This works only for "hybrid" ISOs. It will NOT work for just any old bootable ISO with the standard ISO9660 boot sector. Note that Hiren's web site itself says you need to install Grub4DOS to be able to boot from USB.
    – ish
    Jun 4, 2012 at 0:44

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