Software Sunday EP13: Load Windows and Linux from External Storage: Pendrivelinux USB Installer


If you are looking for a no frills, no thrills, easy to use Windows USB device image installer then look no further.  The Universal USB Installer from provides a small, powerful, portable, and easy to use solution for installing bootable ISO’s to nearly any USB storage device.

To get started, simply navigate to the UUI page on the Pendrivelinux website (alternatively you can also just click here) and scroll down until you see the blue download bar.  Be careful not to fall for any of the fake download links which are just targeted ads served by Adsense.  After clicking the download icon, the small UUI executable file should find its way into whatever directory you have your downloads set to go to.  Once the file has been completely downloaded, plug your USB storage device into your computer and double click on the UII.exe.  At this point a security prompt should pop up, grant the UUI permission and accept the user agreement.  Now you should be looking at the pragmatic interface of the installer.

This is the right download button

Installing an ISO to a USB device is quick and straightforward.  First you need to select a ISO to install  from the drop down menu.  You should already have your image of choice downloaded and ready to go.  Despite the fact that the menu specifies that you must “select a Linux distribution” towards the bottom it also has several options for Windows 7/8/10, rescue utilities, and a “try unlisted ISO” option if you can’t find what you are looking for in the menu.  Next you must specify the path of the the image you which to install.  Step 3 consists of selecting your destination device, this is the device that the image will be written to.  Under “Step 3” click on the drop-down menu and select the proper storage device.  If for some reason your device is not listed make sure that you have checked the “Show all drives option”.  Personally, I recommend that you also check “format drive” box just to be on the safe side but this is optional.  The final step is optional, depending on the ISO you selected to install you may have the option to create a persistent file.  This file will allow changes to a live OS to be saved to the destination device.  If you just intend on using this to install an OS then I would recommend leaving the persistent file size set to 0.

Image selection drop-down menu


Everything is ready to go at this point, click on the “create” button and now kick back and relax for a little, this might take awhile depending on the speed of your selected USB storage device.  Once the UUI has finished, remove the USB device, plug it into the computer you wish to boot from, set the USB drive as the boot device, and your system should now proceed to load the bootable image.

Keep in mind that the Universal USB Installer does lack the ability to install multiple images to a single  device.  YUMI or RUFUS might be better options if you are looking for something with multiboot capabilities.  However if you just want something that will install a single bootable image to a USB device then I would highly recommend checking out UUI.  I have been using it for several years at this point and I really do not have any complaints about it!


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