Boot any Linux ISO from USB in Windows

The following tutorial explains how to use Qemu to boot any Linux ISO version from a portable USB flash device while still working within Windows 98, 2000, NT, XP and Vista. This Enables the user to have both systems running at the same time eliminating the need to restart the PC and set your BIOS options to boot Linux from USB.

NOTE: This tutorial is VERY Old and may not work as intended.

Pendrivelinux running on Windows via Qemu Screenshot:

Portable Pendrivelinux Screenshot

Qemu Home Page:


  • PC with Windows XP/Vista/7 (32 bit OS only)
  • USB portable storage device
  • Your favorite Live Linux CD image (ISO)
  • Custom StartLinux.exe including Qemu, Kqemu files

The Process:

  1. Create a directory on your USB device named QStart
  2. Download the self extracting 7-z StartLinux.exe file
  3. Run StartLinux.exe and extract the contained files to the QStart directory on your flash drive
  4. Grab your favorite Linux CD (ISO) Image and copy it to the QStart directory on the flash drive
  5. Double click the StartLinux.bat file to boot linux directly from the portable flash device

Note that Qemu boot is slightly slower than booting directly from the USB flash drive or CD at startup. However, it's nice to be able to run Linux from the device even if the computer doesn't support USB boot. This configuration reserves 256MB of system memory for the virtual Linux operating environment. If you wish to increase or decrease this capacity, edit the -m value on the last line of the StartLinux.bat file.

Notes: Qemu was produced by Fabrice Bellard. For more information, visit the Qemu site

Boot any Linux ISO from USB in Windows published under USB Virtual Machine Emulation