At a Glance
- Simple and easy
- Supports dozens of Linux distros
Make bootable flash drives from just about any free Linux-based boot disc with this utility.
“Live” distributions of Linux offer a wonderful convenience for
those not quite ready to commit to the open-source operating
system. By booting Linux directly from a CD (which you burn from a
downloaded .iso file), you can try it out without first installing
it onto your hard drive.
But live Linux CDs have their problems. Optical media is slow.
It’s also read-only, limiting your ability to configure the
operating system. Finally, many of today’s netbooks and
ultraportable laptops don’t have an optical drive.
The Universal USB Installer offers a simple and elegant solution
to those problems. It can use a live Linux .iso file to create a
bootable flash drive. Flash is much faster than optical media, can
be easily written to, and is available on all current PCs. It’s
also easier to stick into your pocket.
The program supports a huge number of Linux variations,
including the popular Ubuntu, Debian, and Puppy–a favorite of mine
for Windows data recovery purposes. Universal USB Installer also
supports some programs that we don’t think of as Linux, although
they are if you look closely, such as EASEUS Disk Copy
When you select your Linux flavor, the Universal USB Installer
will look for the needed .iso file in the current folder. If it
doesn’t find it, it will offer to download the file for you or let
you tell it where on your PC to find it.
There is one slight danger: You have to select which drive
Universal USB Installer writes to, and by default, it only shows
you external drives that were already plugged in when you launched
the program. You can see all of your drives–internal and
just-plugged-in externals, if you check the Show all Drives option.
If you do that, it’s possible to select the wrong drive and render
Windows unbootable. You’ll get plenty of warnings, however.
Universal USB Installer provides a remarkably easy way to run
Linux onto your PC.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you can download the latest version of the software.