How to Transfer a Bootable CD to a USB

Written by curt lanning
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How to Transfer a Bootable CD to a USB
Flash drives can be used in place of a boot CD if you have no CD drive. (usb flash drive image by Bosko Martinovic from

A bootable CD is simply a disc that is used to boot into your computer instead of the hard drive. They can be used for a variety of purposes, one of the most common being hard drive failure. The bootable CD allows you to have access to the computer because the computer boots off the CD instead of the hard drive. What allows a bootable CD to be bootable, are the contents and files on the CD. If you don't have a CD drive though (Netbooks do not have built in CD drives), you might want to transfer your bootable CD to a USB flash drive.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bootable CD
  • CD drive
  • USB drive

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  1. 1

    Turn on your computer and log in to your Windows account. Insert your bootable CD into the computer, and exit out of any AutoPlay options that pop up.

  2. 2

    Click "Start" > "Computer." (Please note, if you are running Windows XP or another version of Windows older than that, you'll be clicking on "My Computer" rather than "Computer.") Find your bootable CD under the words "Devices with removable storage." Right-click your bootable CD and select "Explore."

  3. 3

    Wait for a new Windows Explorer window to open displaying all the contents of your bootable CD. Press "CTRL"+"A," and all the contents of your disc will be selected.

  4. 4

    Press "CTRL"+"C" and insert your USB flash drive into the computer. Again, exit any AutoPlay options that appear. Navigate back to "Computer" (again please note this shortcut will be labelled "My Computer" in any version of Windows released before Windows Vista) and double-click your flash drive. (It is also under the words "Devices with removable storage.") A new Windows Explorer window will open displaying the contents of your flash drive.

  5. 5

    Click in any empty space inside the windows displaying the contents of your flash drive with your right mouse button, and select "Paste" from the menu that appears. Windows will now transfer your contents from the bootable CD to your USB flash drive. When it finishes copying the files, you can use your USB flash drive to boot a computer, just like you could with the CD.

Tips and warnings

  • Please note that the instructions in this article are intended for users running Windows 7 or Windows Vista on their computer. The only thing that changes if you are running an earlier version of Windows prior to Vista, however, is the name of the shortcut "My Computer." Other than that, the instructions are the same.

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