How to Burn an ISO to USB With the Rufus Tool
This process also works to burn a Windows 11 ISO to USB. However, doing so via Microsoft’s Windows 11 media creation tool is best.

Time Required: “Burning” an ISO image file to a USB device, like a flash drive, usually takes less than 20 minutes, but the total time depends a lot on the size of the ISO file.

Properly burning an ISO to USB is different than copying the file or burning it to a disc. With ISO burning, you’re not technically “burning” anything to a USB drive. Adding to the complexity is that you plan on booting from the USB drive once you’re done getting the ISO image on there.

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Download Rufus, a free tool that will correctly prepare the USB drive, automatically extract the contents of the ISO file you have, and properly copy the files contained within it to your USB device, including any files in the ISO needed to make it bootable.

Download page for Rufus 3.4 Portable
Rufus is a portable program (doesn’t install), works on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7, and will “burn” an ISO image file to any type of USB storage device you happen to have.

If you’d prefer to use a different ISO-to-USB tool, some other good ones include balenaEtcher, UNetbootin, ISO to USB, and Universal USB Installer. Of course, if you do choose another program, you won’t be able to follow the instructions we’ve written here because they pertain specifically to Rufus.

Open the version of Rufus you downloaded. The program will start right away.

Rufus-3.4p idon in File Explorer on Windows 10
As we mentioned earlier, Rufus is a portable program, meaning that it just runs as is. This is a big reason why we prefer this ISO-to-USB program over some of the other options out there.

When it first opens, you’re asked whether the program should occasionally check for updates. It’s up to you whether you want to enable this, but it’s best to do so if you plan to use it again in the future.

Insert the flash drive or other USB device into your computer that you want to “burn” the ISO file to, assuming it’s not already plugged in.

Burning an ISO image to a USB drive will erase everything on the drive! Before continuing, check that the drive is empty or that you’ve backed up any files you want to keep.

From the Device drop-down at the top of Rufus, choose the USB storage device you want to burn the ISO file to.

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