Universal USB Installer – Boot from USB | Pen Drive Linux

Feel free to inform me of any unlisted Live Linux distributions that should be included or version revisions, and I will do my best to update the UUI tool to support them.

Your flash drive must be Fat32/NTFS formatted, otherwise Syslinux will fail to install an MBR (Master Boot Record), and as a result the device will NOT Boot. Additionally, the Windows to Go option requires an NTFS formatted device with 20GB free disk space to hold the virtual disk. See FAQ for more info.

The following Changelog outlines any recent changes made to the software. Only the latest revisions are listed.

More Live ISOs, USB Windows Installers, portable Linux distributions and System tools will be added as time permits. Feel free to contact me to submit your recommendations and suggestions.

This ISO to USB Boot list is not all inclusive. Almost any Live ISO files can be converted.

The Universal USB Installer (UUI) might be used to make a Bootable USB from ISO of the following Live Linux Portable Operating Systems, Windows Installers, Windows PE, System Diagnostic Tools, Cloning Tools, and Antivirus Utilities.

Troubleshooting, Issues, Bugs

The Windows to Go option does require the drive be NTFS formatted and have 20GB+ free space to hold the virtual disk. Most of the flash drives found at local department stores won’t be fast enough. You will need a very fast solid state flash drive. When Windows boots from the pendrive for the first time, it will go through the setup process and then reboot. You will need to boot using your Windows to Go flash drive a second time to finalize the setup process. And then finally boot into your full Portable Windows.

The tool expects the Volume Label of your device to be UUI in order for OpenSUSE, CentOS and a few other distributions to boot. It does attempt to automatically create this Label, but may fail. So make sure it remains UUI in order to allow those distributions to boot.

Persistence feature is currently broken with Newer Debian based distributions. This is due to upstream changes. In that Debian now requires a rename of the persistent block file and label from live-rw to persistence . In addition, it must house a persistence.conf file containing the text / Union. I plan to make all of the necessary changes and then provide a fix as time allows.

If you’re using Universal-USB-Installer- and you still receive Insane primary (MBR) partition notices,

Insane primary (MBR) partition. Can’t find myself on the drive I booted from

Your flash drive may be improperly formatted, contains more than one partition or MBR, or your BIOS is not properly detecting the device. In which case your firmware probably needs to be updated. You can also try to Format and Restore a USB.

An Error (1) occurred while executing syslinux

If you encounter a message stating;

An error (1) occurred while executing syslinux. Your USB drive won’t be bootable.

An error (1) occurred executing syslinux

The most likely cause is that the device is formatted as exFAT or some other unsupported format. You’ll need to reformat as fat32 (currently preferred) or NTFS.

My PC wont Boot from my Flash Drive, but supports USB boot!

Older flash drives shipped USB-FDD formatted and some systems will not boot USB-FDD. However, I have found that most systems can boot USB-ZIP, and or USB-HDD. If you are having a hard time getting your BIOS to detect your flash drive, reformat it. Then try again to see if your BIOS can detect and boot from it.


  • If you are running a Windows Vista or 7 Installer from your thumb-drive, after the first reboot, remove the thumb-drive and let the pc complete from the hard disk.
  • When browsing for an ISO, UUI will only display ISO Files that match what the tool is asking for. For example, if you chose to install ubuntu-20.10-


    -i386, the tool might not display your ubuntu-20.10-


    -i386.iso because you have not selected the server variant. However, you can force all ISO files to be shown by clicking the Show All ISOs box.

Auto Detection: If you also run UUI from the same directory containing an installable ISO, the script will auto detect the ISO and bypass step 2.

Universal USB Installer auto detection of ISO in same folder

* Although you can use an NTFS format, Ubuntu based “persistence” features will only work with a Fat16 or Fat32 formatted drives. In addition, some Linux distributions will not boot if the drive is NTFS formatted.

Again, UUI does not support booting from multiple Live Linux distros. Only one distribution can be installed per drive. However the YUMI can be used to create a Multi System USB boot device.

To try an ISO that isn’t listed, simply choose one of the the last three options in Step 1. I recommend “Try Unlisted Linux ISO (GRUB)” because it seems to be the most successful. Feel free to inform me of unlisted “Linux ISOs” you get to work via these options, so I can add them to the supported list.

OpenSUSE DVD and other ISOs with a single file that exceed 4GB will not work due to the Fat32 file size limitation.

The Universal USB Installer will NOT currently work from within Linux using WINE due to drive detection and privilege issues. I plan to revisit this issue when I find some spare time.