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Booting From An ISO Image On A USB Flash Drive. Should It Be So Difficult?

The idea is I'd like to create an image of my current Windows 7 system, including a few core programs, so that in the event of a catastrophic failure I can very easily boot from a USB flash drive.

I've tried several methods documented online but nothing seems to work. I made an image using EaseUs, which creates a .pbd file. I then saved it as an .iso file using PowerISO.

My USB flash drive is 256GB. The image file is roughly 20GB. I've read to format the drive as NTFS. I've also read that Windows could never boot from an NTFS formatted USB drive, and to use FAT32. Which apparently has a limit of 32GB.

Being that my files are around 20GB, I have tried both formats to no avail. I've used most of the suggested apps too, like RUFUS or the Windows 7 USB Tool for example. I've also tried some command line tutorials. Nothing.

But what if the image file is 75GB? 100GB? All I want is to create a mirror image of my setup, so that when Microsoft updates & reboots & jacks my computer I can get back up & running right away.

If you could provide some insight into what I'm doing wrong I would really appreciate it. I'd like to get to work (and not for Microsoft for free).

Advanced thank you...
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about booting iso image usb flash drive difficult
  1. If you can survive 15 -20 minutes of downtime, there are much easier ways of doing this.

    Don't try to make a bootable USB, but rather just an image of your system as it is.
    Macrium Reflect will make an image of that whole drive, not just what Microsoft thinks you want.
    Then you also build a bootable Rescue USB or DVD.

    In times of need, boot from that DVD.
    Point it at the Image that exists on the big USB, and a target drive.
    Go.
    15 minutes, done.
  2. USAFRet said:
    If you can survive 15 -20 minutes of downtime, there are much easier ways of doing this.

    Don't try to make a bootable USB, but rather just an image of your system as it is.
    Macrium Reflect will make an image of that whole drive, not just what Microsoft thinks you want.
    Then you also build a bootable Rescue USB or DVD.

    In times of need, boot from that DVD.
    Point it at the Image that exists on the big USB, and a target drive.
    Go.
    15 minutes, done.

    I appreciate that, but that's part of the issue. Can't seem to find a way to make the USB bootable. Also, how do you point a DVD at the image if the computer won't boot?
  3. Best answer
    You have a 256GB USB stick
    This is what you save the Macrium image on.

    The booting thing is just to boot the system, and allows you to select what image you wish to restore. In this case, the image that lives on the 256GB USB.

    This is 2 different USB sticks.
    1 x 256GB containing the Macrium Reflect image
    1 x 4 or 8GB, or a DVD, holding the Macrium Reflect Rescue data. This is what you boot from.

    I've used this.
    It works.
  4. USAFRet said:
    You have a 256GB USB stick
    This is what you save the Macrium image on.

    The booting thing is just to boot the system, and allows you to select what image you wish to restore. In this case, the image that lives on the 256GB USB.

    This is 2 different USB sticks.
    1 x 256GB containing the Macrium Reflect image
    1 x 4 or 8GB, or a DVD, holding the Macrium Reflect Rescue data. This is what you boot from.

    I've used this.
    It works.


    Gotcha. Cool, I think I'm with it now thank you.
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