Netbooks, laptops, office, and home computers…often we don’t
know which one we’ll be working on from one day to the next.
Sometimes, it isn’t even our own PC, but one at a hotel business
center or a client’s office. That’s one of the many scenarios in
which it can be useful to have a bootable USB, containing a key
application or an operating system. Or, perhaps, you simply want to
back up an important application or data. USB Boot Maker is an
easy-to-use utility for creating bootable USB keydrives or hard
On startup, USB Boot Maker offers two choices: Create a bootable
USB from a selected media or file, or Create a generic bootable
USB. The former creates a backup USB (from a drive or an image
file). For instance, if you have the appropriate license, you can
make a bootable USB keydrive containing Windows 7. To do it, simply
select your disc of Win7 as the source and your keydrive as the
destination. (A warning screen reminds you that some material is
protected by copyright, and that it’s your responsibility to
acquire the appropriate licenses and permissions.)
The generic option (which is available only on the full version,
and not the trial) will create a bootable USB of Windows PE, Linux
The step-by-step wizard interface will guide you through
selecting your source and, then, the USB destination device. The
final window displays the burning process with a progress bar. It’s
Of course, to use a bootable USB, you’ll need a computer that
supports booting from USB, and vendor Bluestsoft acknowledges that
generic Linux usually doesn’t. A third (dropdown menu) option will
also do a complete wipe of all data from a USB device, by writing
zero value to it. Bluestsoft claims that data deleted by this
process are completely unrecoverable.
The utility’s primary limitations are related to disc copy
protection and any copyright of the source material. Beyond that,
USB Boot Maker makes it remarkably easy for anyone to create backup
bootable USB drives.
Note: The trial version is limited in
functionality, so that a burned USB drive is bootable only once,
and a USB drive can be burned only twice. The full version doesn’t
limit the number of times it can be used on a specific device. In
addition, the full version can create a generic OS bootable USB.
The full version is larger (229MB) in size, because it can create a
generic bootable OS (Linux, FreeDOS, Windows PE) USB drive.
–Sally Wiener Grotta & Daniel Grotta