I want to burn a Windows ISO to a USB device in Ubuntu. How do I do this?

I know how to burn a Ubuntu ISO into a USB device, but with a Windows ISO it's not the same.

  • 2
    – gliptak
    Aug 9, 2015 at 19:52
  • 2
    You’ll find the best answers using the command line here at serverfault.
    – erik
    Nov 22, 2015 at 23:42
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    Why is this marked as duplicate? The linked question is almost 2 years newer than this one.
    – jazzpi
    Apr 17, 2016 at 9:58
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    @jazzpi And he also made it Windows specific under the pretext that in the "Answers" somebody mentions NTFS... Apr 18, 2016 at 14:19

10 Answers 10


UNetbootin should work: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

Or you could try a bit-by-bit copy:

  1. Insert the USB device and then open Disk Utility (in 10.10 and older, System -> Administration -> Disk Utility).
  2. Select the USB device from the list in the left of the program and detect where it was mounted: /dev/sd[1 letter][optionally 1 number]. For example, /dev/sdc or /dev/sdc1.
  3. Make sure the USB device is unmounted (not safely removed, but unmounted) If it is mounted you can unmount it:

    sudo umount /dev/sd[1 letter][optionally 1 number]
  4. Assuming the .iso file is in your home folder, open the terminal and write:

    sudo dd bs=4M if=[ur .iso] of=/dev/sd[that 1 letter]


    sudo dd bs=4M if=windows7.iso of=/dev/sdc

And wait for it to finish. (The "bs=4M" - bit is optional, just makes it faster.)

  • 23
    Another way I detect which driver is it: I write "sudo dd if=kubuntu.iso of=/dev/sd" and press Tab a few times before inserting the USB, than I insert the USB stick and press Tab a few times again, and detect which one was added, for example sdc and sdc1 appeared, than I add c at the end and press enter. Jan 28, 2012 at 19:40
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    @LilianA.Moraru UNetbootin allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for Ubuntu, Fedora, and other **Linux distributions** without burning a CD.. Have you ever succeeded to make a windows usb with it?
    – Cornelius
    Apr 25, 2014 at 17:53
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    If you've got a slow USB drive, you can check the current state of dd by sending it a USR1 kill msg: sudo kill -USR1 $(pidof dd) from another terminal. It will then print its status in its own terminal.
    – Mitja
    Apr 24, 2015 at 19:32
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    doesn't work at all
    – Pavel
    Sep 9, 2016 at 1:07
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    You can add a status=progress option to dd to see progress output in real time. Also, you can see the list of all drives by running lsblk and use it to find out the identifier of your USB flash drive. Jan 10, 2018 at 23:26
  1. Insert the USB device, then run gparted.

  2. Select the USB device from the list near the upper-right corner of the GParted window and detect where it was mounted: /dev/sd[1 letter] (mine was /dev/sdc).

  3. Make sure the USB device is unmounted (right-click and select unmount).
  4. sudo dd if=[PATH TO YOUR .iso FILE] of=/dev/sd[THAT 1 LETTER]

    In my case: sudo dd if=/home/downloads/windows7.iso of=/dev/sdc

You must run dd as su or sudo. It's worth mentioning that gparted requires su as well, but will typically use gksudo to prompt for the password.

This means you can lock gparted to the launcher on a persistent liveboot USB for field diagnostics.

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    +1 Slightly altering this let me boot my DIY OS too.
    – geometrian
    Jul 11, 2013 at 4:39
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    didn't work for me just using /dev/sdc[letter], also needed to specify the partition like /dev/sdb1 for dd to copy. however, usb booting won't work
    – n3rd
    Jun 20, 2014 at 19:22
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    @HertzelGuinness, Why do you love ubuntu instead of the many other distros?
    – Pacerier
    May 3, 2015 at 14:28
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    Why are you formatting it to NTFS? When you dd to the block device, it's going to wipe out whatever formatting you have there...
    – TJ Ellis
    Jul 31, 2015 at 18:05
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    Doing the direct dd copy (on Ubuntu 14.04) with a Win10 iso was a little surprise for me, as it created an UDF file system on the flash (I was expecting it to be the iso file system). It didn't boot on my Lenovo P50, though (but I have to admit I might have too restrictive boot settings in the BIOS :)) Using winusb by this article eventually did the trick.
    – tlwhitec
    Mar 15, 2017 at 14:01

If you boot with UEFI (not BIOS or UEFI with BIOS compatibility mode (a.k.a. CSM)) all you'll need is GParted and a file manager.

The ISO must be configured for UEFI boot for this to work. I've successfully done this with both Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 14.04, but I can't vouch for any other OS. (Edit: I just tried this with Windows 10 without success. Don't know why, but WinUSB worked so I didn't investigate further.)

This is what I do to create a bootable USB drive for UEFI firmware:

  1. Create a GPT partition table on your USB drive. In GParted, chose "Device" and then "Create partition table...". Choose gpt in the dropdown.
  2. Format a partition on the USB drive to FAT32 using GParted. All UEFI compliant firmwares must support FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32, so any of these should be fine, but NTFS will not work.
  3. Mount the USB drive like you would any other external storage so you can access the filesystem on the partition you created.
  4. Mount the ISO you wish to add to the USB drive so you can access the files in there.
  5. Now, when you have access to both the ISO and the USB drive as filesystems in your file manager (Nautilus or whatever) just copy and paste all files in the ISO to the USB drive.
  6. Add the 'boot' flag to the partition you've created and added the files to. In GParted, right click the partition, choose "manage flags" and then check the "boot" option.

(While testing this I couldn't mount the USB drive anymore after setting the boot flag. I don't know why, but GParted could still see it and the end result was still a bootable USB drive, so I guess it doesn't really matter.)

  1. Restart your computer and choose to boot from the USB drive.

Once again: Please note that for this to work, your computer's firmware must be UEFI compliant and the ISO must be ready for UEFI boot.

If you find an EFI directory in the ISO that's usually a good sign.

To see whether you're currently using UEFI boot, run sudo efibootmgr -v in a terminal. If it lists a number of boot options you're good to go. If you're using BIOS compatibility mode you'll see something like this:

Fatal: Couldn't open either sysfs or procfs directories for accessing EFI variables.
Try 'modprobe efivars' as root.

For more information on UEFI, please read this excellent essay on the subject: https://www.happyassassin.net/2014/01/25/uefi-boot-how-does-that-actually-work-then/

Also, I don't think Ubuntu will work with Secure Boot enabled, so you'll have to disable that to be able to use UEFI boot with Ubuntu.

  • 1
    Shouldn't USB have a GPT partition table as well?
    – VRR
    Apr 15, 2015 at 10:34
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    Ah, yes you probably should. Apparently my firmware supports msdos partition tables as well, which is why I didn't have that problem. That may not be the case for everybody. All UEFI compliant firmwares must support GPT partition tables so if you're using GPT the USB drive should work with even more firmwares. I'll update my answer. Apr 15, 2015 at 15:53
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    It appears I can't mount the drive in Ubuntu if it uses a GPT and also has the boot flag set. It worked when it was still using an msdos partition table, which is weird. Anyway, even though I couldn't mount it, it was detected by my firmware as a bootable device and worked just as well. Apr 15, 2015 at 16:29
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    Hm,try just to set GPT FAT32 without cahnging flags. It should mount then and boot as well.
    – VRR
    Apr 15, 2015 at 17:38
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    I don't have time to test this more, but my answer works for me and should for everybody with UEFI boot (which should be most people by now) so I'm just going to leave this here now. Feel free to edit my answer if you think something is wrong. Apr 15, 2015 at 18:08

If you're using Ubuntu to burn Windows ISO to USB you could use WinUSB. Unetbootin won't work with Windows ISOs. It supports only Linux distros.

However, installing WinUSB on current Ubuntu versions is not an easy task. More than that WinUSB has older GRUB dependencies that may interfere with your bootloader setup, so you may end up with a non-bootable Ubuntu. Well that shouldn't be such a big problem if you were making a Windows USB to get rid of Ubuntu. But that is not guaranteed either.

Currently there are two methods for booting an operating system. EFI loading and MBR loading. Which one is suitable for you depends on the PC/motherboard capabilities. The method for creating a bootable USB for each of the above mentioned boot loading methods is described on How can I create a Windows bootable USB stick with Ubuntu?

WinUSB can only make MBR bootable USB drive.

  • 4
    Your installation routine fails.
    – empedokles
    Jul 26, 2014 at 12:20
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    this is no longer working :( *not for me at least
    – moldovean
    Apr 5, 2015 at 10:12

You can use WinUSB for burning windows iso to pendrive.
Additional details and Ubuntu packages can be found here

Note:-You need minimum 4 GB pendrive for burning windows 7 iso

  • 3
    WinUSB is outdated and has serveral issues, look at WoeUSB successor/fork
    – Frank N
    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:26
  • That actually worked for me with Windows 7. The dd tool was not creating a valid boot system apparently. The WoeUSB does some magic to make the thumb drive bootable. (Idid not try the old WinUSB tool, just the newer version which is still active in 2018.) Jul 10, 2018 at 6:33

There's a tool called Multisystem which can make a USB drive bootable, and boot various OSes from it - amongst others, Windows XP, Vista and Seven are supported (the program's pages are in French only; the program itself is localized). I was able to boot the WinXP install ISO off a USB flash disk using this tool.

Note that the Windows CD is an install CD, not a usable "live" distribution.


It's very simple... We will go step by step :using power iso:

  1. Download and install power iso.
  2. Open power iso.
  3. Click on tools and then create bootable USB drive.
  4. It may ask run as admin. then make it run as admin.
  5. Now browse source image file.
  6. Select destination USB drive and then click start.
  7. done. your bootable USB is ready for installing an operating system from bootable USB.

NOTE: pendrive must be of 4GB or more.

  • 1
    Power ISO is available for Ubuntu also? I didn't know that!
    – ankush981
    Dec 3, 2015 at 5:03
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    The PowerISO for Linux doesn't have a GUI version, only command line utility.
    – ptkato
    Jan 1, 2016 at 13:45
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    It does have a GUI (now), but there does not seem to be an option to burn to USB in Tools menu.
    – user72056
    Jul 16, 2019 at 8:46

From Windows, try using unetbootin and from a linux distro use this command in terminal (this worked for me, but you will lose the content of the flash drive, so make a copy):

sudo dd if=<ISO_FILE> of=/dev/sd<FLASH_DRIVE_ID>
  • 2
    Where <FLASH_DRIVE_ID> is a small letter like b, c, d, etc. but how do we know which one?
    – user68186
    Apr 24, 2014 at 17:43
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    it's for burning a Windows ISO . for some reasons when I Launch it to formate in Launch . I got black screen . not working Apr 24, 2014 at 18:15

I know that question is a bit outdated, but for the sake of compleetness I add a link to a modern standard Ubuntu GUI application for burning iso on a flash drive: Disk Creator.

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    Works only with Linux ISO!
    – Cornelius
    Apr 25, 2014 at 18:49
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    It seems that this freaking question is never becomes outdated. :-( Why Debian has no STANDARD package to write a Windows ISO?.. You never know how many viruses you can install trying different bootable USB writers. I did write the code. It's freaking simple. Why no one supply just a standard writer? Sep 6, 2017 at 19:25

Ubuntu can mount .iso files from nautilus in Natty.

Have you tried copying the contents of the .iso to the desired USB drive?

From there you should be able to tell your PC to boot from the USB with no problems.

If that Fails to work you can use UNetBootin in order to copy/burn the .iso to disk.

This blog post Describes how to do that.

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    Just copying the files over will definitely not work; bootloader code is also needed. -1 for misinformation. (Unetbootin should work with many bootable CDs, as it copies the files and makes the USB drive bootable; not sure about a Windows bootable CD) Sep 7, 2011 at 15:42
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    Piskvor's comment only applies to booting with BIOS. If you are using UEFI boot, copying over the files might actually work as long as the drive is a FAT32 partition with the boot flag set and the ISO contains the files necessary for UEFI boot. Apr 15, 2015 at 8:29
  • I've always been really confused about this answer I made many years ago, as I was sure it works. I realised why it shouldn't however your answer makes sense as well I was doing a lot of installing via USB back in those days (100% before UEFI was in my life) and I was sure it had worked. Thanks for helping put this niggle to rest for me! +1
    – nikomax
    Dec 18, 2019 at 4:29

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