Universal USB Installer - Boot from USB

The Universal USB Installer (Imager) aka UUI is a Live Linux bootable USB maker software. This ISO to USB imaging tool helps users easily make a flash drive bootable and as a result, boot from USB. You can use it to get your flash drive booting from a Live Linux distribution, Windows Installer, or fully install Windows on USB using Windows to Go or PE methods. Popular antivirus scanners, disk cloning software, penetration testing, or other system tools can also be made to boot and run from the multisystem bootable removable storage media.

Universal USB Installer (UUI) | Easily USB Boot

UUI - Universal USB Installer

Using this open source USB boot maker software is easy as 123. Simply select your target flash drive, choose your distribution from the list, browse to the ISO file (or choose to download the ISO), and then click Create. Once finished, you should have a ready to run Live USB containing the Live operating system, Windows installer, or system diagnostics utility you previously selected.

Universal USB Installer - Installation Progress

Some boot from USB tools use simple DD (Copy and Convert) commands to directly burn ISO to USB. The DD method of copying, commonly referred to as "Data Destroyer" works by overwriting the entire file system on a flash drive with that of a CD or DVD image. This process causes the drive to appear limited to the size of the chosen ISO file which can prevent you from continuing to use the drive for storage purposes. However, if the filesystem used by the CD/DVD image supports expansion, it may be possible to recover lost USB drive space by extending the space and creating another partition to use for storage.

UUI offers a more practical method than DD through the use of an exFAT partition for storing bootable ISO files and block images, along with a separate hidden secondary FAT boot partition which is used to boot those files. This method allows your USB drive to appear to Windows as a regular exFAT formatted flash drive and enables you to continue using your removable device for traditional storage purposes.

Persistence feature for saving changes

Another key feature of this bootable USB maker is the use of persistent storage, where available. This persistence feature allows you to save changes and then restore those changes on subsequent boots. Ubuntu based Casper persistence works with FAT32, NTFS, or exFAT formatted drives. Starting with version, the USB drive is formatted with an exFAT filesystem, so an option to use a larger than 4GB casper-rw or live-rw persistent block file, (also known as an overlay image) is now possible. Currently supporting up to 40GB persistence.

Drag and Drop ISO Files onto USB

Drag and Drop functionality is supported so long as you don't need persistence, and do not need the tool to keep track of your installs for possible removal at a later point.

Drag N Drop UUI 1

Instead of relaunching this Live Linux USB Creator to add more distributions, you can simply drag additional ISO, IMG, WIM, VHD(x), VDI.vtoy, and EFI files from any folder on your computer and drop them onto any folder under the UUI folder on your flash drive. You can also create your own folders within the UUI folder to use for storage. During bootup, the system will automatically populate the menu entries for those newly discovered items.

Secure Boot from USB?

Yes, Secure Boot is supported from USB with UUI. Simply select "VTOYEFI" and then the option to "Enroll_This_Key_In_MokManager.cer" during startup.
enroll this key in mokmanager

Requirements to Create a Live Bootable USB flash drive

IMPORTANT: UUI will show drives detected by Windows as either removable media (USB Drive) or a fixed (Local Disk). See my personal list of the best recommended fast SSD flash drives to use with this tool.

  • Universal-USB-Installer- to make the bootable USB drive.
  • A running Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 Operating System.
  • At least an 8 GB + flash drive.
  • Computer with a system BIOS/UEFI that can boot from USB.
  • Your Favorite Windows or Linux ISO File.

Download Universal USB Installer

18 Sep 2023 Universal-USB-Installer-
SHA-256: 654e65daad3c62fdddf89612d95f8b1985053626d412e0e43cded73fc2ddfb3e

WARNING: You must backup any data you wish to keep before using this tool on any Disk. When choosing the "Prepare this Device" option, all volumes and partitions on the select (Disk #), even if they are hidden, will be wiped clean.

UUI Changelog

The following changelog outlines the most recent changes made to the software.

  • 9/18/2023 Universal-USB-Installer- Corrected an error in System::Call 'kernel32::GetDriveType(t"$preJustDrive")i.s' for removable and fixed drive detection. Added Vanilla dPup to the list of supported distros.
  • 9/13/2023 Universal-USB-Installer- Iterate through all logical drives and combine accumulated drive letters with their corresponding disk number. Fixed more bugs in the handing of menu selections. Changed physical disk and partition/volume detection methods. All fixed and removable drives with the exception of those with a Windows\system32 directory are currently displayed by default. Added redetect disks - refresh drives option.
  • 9/7/2023 Universal-USB-Installer- Updated to 1.0.95 bootloader. Adjusted the ISO file masking for Windows X-Lite. Fixed bugs in how menu selections and message box returns are handled. Automatically checks for version updates at runtime.
  • 8/4/2023 Universal-USB-Installer- Entirely new build supports Multiboot. This version has been completely overhauled and is now based on YUMI exFAT with a Ventoy bootloader. As such, it now supports exFAT USB boot, drag and drop ISO support, and inherits YUMI's Multiboot bootable USB features.

Bootable ISO files

This USB boot maker allows you to make a custom bootable USB drive from ISO files of the following Live Linux Portable Operating Systems, Windows Installers, Windows PE, System Diagnostic Tools, Cloning Tools, and Antivirus Utilities. Choose from a selection of Windows Installers and popular Live Linux distributions to put on your flash drive. It's easy as 123.

Note that this ISO to USB boot list is not all inclusive. Almost any Live ISO file can be made to boot from USB.

Main Distro or Tool Supported ISO
Ubuntu Live
with persistence
  • Ubuntu Live
  • Xubuntu Live
  • Kubuntu Live
  • Lubuntu Live
  • Edubuntu Live
  • Ubuntu Live Server Installer
  • Blackbuntu
Linux Mint
with persistence
  • Linux Mint
  • Linux Mint Debian Edition
Debian Live/Netinstall
  • Debian Netinstall
  • Debian Live
Kali Linux
with persistence
  • Kali Linux
  • Backtrack
Fedora Linux
with persistence
  • Fedora Desktop
  • OpenSUSE 32/64 bit
Puppy Linux Based
  • Vanilla dPup
  • Fatdog64
  • Lighthouse Puppy
  • Lucid Puppy
  • Precise Puppy
  • Puppy Arcade
  • Puppy 4.3.1
  • Racy Puppy
  • Slacko Puppy
  • Wary Puppy
Linux Distros for Kids
  • DouDouLinux
  • Qimo 4 Kids 2.0
  • Sugar on a Stick
Other Bootable Distros
  • amogOS
  • AOMEI (Disk Cloning and Backup Tool)
  • Acronis Rescue CD
  • Android
  • AntiX
  • Antergos
  • ArchBang
  • ArchLinux with persistence
  • ArtistX
  • Aurora
  • BackBox
  • Baltix Linux
  • BCCD
  • BlehOS
  • Bodhi
  • Boot Repair Disk
  • Carmedia
  • CentOS
  • Chakra
  • Clonezilla
  • Crunchbang
  • DBAN 2.2.X
  • Deft Linux
  • Deepin Linux
  • DRBL
  • DSL 4.4.10
  • Dreamlinux
  • Dynebolic
  • EASUS Disk Copy
  • EasyPeasy
  • Elementary OS
  • Elementary Unleashed
  • Feather Linux
  • Finnix
  • Fyde
  • Fuduntu
  • Fusion Linux
  • Gamedrift
  • Gentoo
  • gNewSense
  • GRML
  • gOS gadgets
  • GParted
  • Jolicloud
  • Kiwi
  • Kororaa
  • KXStudio
  • Leeenux
  • Liberte
  • LinHES
  • Linux XP Like
  • LPS
  • Macbuntu
  • Mandriva One 2011
  • Matriux
  • MCNLive Toronto
  • Meego
  • MicroCore
  • Netrunner
  • Ophcrack
  • OSGeo Live
  • Pardus
  • PCLinuxOS
  • Pear OS
  • Peppermint
  • PING
  • Pinguy OS
  • Plasma active
  • PLoP Linux
  • Porteus
  • Redo Backup
  • Rescatux
  • RIP Linux
  • Runt Linux
  • Sabayon Linux
  • SalineOS
  • Satux
  • Simply MEPIS
  • SLAX
  • SliTaZ
  • Sn0wL1nuX
  • SolusOS
  • System Rescue CD
  • Tails
  • Terralinux
  • TinyCore
  • Trisquel
  • Uberstudent
  • Ultimate Boot CD
  • Ultimate Edition
  • WifiWay
  • WifiSlax
  • xPUD
  • XBMC
  • XBMCbuntu
  • StartOS
  • wattOS R5
  • Zenwalk Live
  • Zorin OS
Live Antivirus
  • AOSS (Malware Scanner)
  • AVG Rescue CD
  • Avira Antivir Rescue Disk
  • Bitdefender Rescue CD
  • Comodo Rescue Disk
  • DrWeb LiveCD
  • F-Secure Rescue CD
  • G DATA Antivirus
  • Kaspersky Rescue Disk
  • Panda Safe CD
  • Trinity Rescue Kit
Other USB Bootable Tools
  • Falcon 4
  • Hirens Boot CD
  • Kon-Boot
  • Sergei Strelec
Install Windows from USB
  • Windows 11 Installer
  • Windows 10 8 7 Installer
Windows PE from USB
  • Hiren Bootable PE
  • Other Windows PE
Try an Unlisted Bootable ISO
  • Try Unlisted Linux ISO files

More Live ISOs, USB Windows Installers, portable Linux distributions and System tools will be added as time permits. Let me know about any unlisted Live Linux distributions that should be included or version revisions, and I will do my best to update the UUI tool to support them. Feel free to contact me to submit your recommendations and suggestions.

FAQ, Troubleshooting, Issues, Bugs

The following section outlines the most frequently asked questions. It is where issues and known bugs are recorded and where you'll find any related troubleshooting help and work arounds.

Persistent Block and File Storage Support

The Persistence feature works with most Arch Linux, Fedora, Ubuntu, and even Debian based distributions like KALI Linux. However, for some reason the persistent option is broken with the newest official Debian distribution. The Debian persistent block file and label are currently being named persistence, and hold a persistence.conf file containing / Union.

Perhaps Debian no longer supports persistence in a loopback mounted file and will only detect partitions? If you have any information regarding why this might be, please contact me and let me know so I can try to make the necessary changes to fix it.

Is Universal USB Installer Safe?

This bootable USB maker was created to be useful and free of viruses, malware, or anything intentionally malicious. Being open source, the source code is also made available for each release and can be found next to the download link for anyone to view.

Which is better Rufus or Universal USB Installer?

Both are excellent choices. Some people prefer UUI now that it supports an exFAT file system for storage along with the Multibooting feature which was recently adopted from YUMI with a Ventoy bootloader. This bootable USB maker was also created a few years before Rufus.

However, in some cases, Rufus might surpass the USB Installer in regards to the speed of copying files. In addition, Rufus features a few different options than UUI, and was also the first tool to offer a Fat16/32 boot partition with a separate NTFS or exFAT partition to use for storage through the use of custom drivers. Thanks to Pete Batard's work, his drivers are now used in many modern USB boot tools.

How to boot device using USB installer?

Booting from a USB drive. Here are the steps to boot from USB into any portable operating system or tool that is stored on the drive.

  1. Access BIOS/UEFI Settings: Restart your computer and access the BIOS/UEFI settings. This is usually done by pressing a specific key during the boot process. Common keys include F2, F12, Delete, or Esc. Refer to your device's manual for the correct BIOS key.
  2. Change Boot Order: In the BIOS/UEFI settings, navigate to the "Boot" or "Boot Order" section. Change the boot order so that the USB drive is the first boot option. This allows the computer to check the USB drive for bootable media before trying the internal storage.
  3. Save Changes and Exit: Save the changes you made to the boot order and exit the BIOS/UEFI settings. This will restart your computer.
  4. Choose an OS to Boot from: Your computer should now be booting from the USB drive into a Boot Menu. Simply select the Operating system or Tool you wish to boot from and then press enter. Now follow any additional prompts to make selections for custom booting.
  5. Boot from USB into your OS: If all went well, you should now be booting up your chosen Operating System or Tool from USB.

How to install Universal USB Installer in Linux?

You can use this multiboot USB creator to add or remove ISO distributions in Linux via WINE. However, currently you won't be able to initially prepare the drive from within Linux using WINE. This is due to drive detection and modification privilege issues (root access is disallowed by WINE).

The tool mentions this when it is run from Linux and WINE is detected. I plan to revisit this issue and will hopefully implement a solution once I find the time.