Saturday, December 14, 2013

How to Create a USB Installer for Windows 7 in Ubuntu 13.10 Using UNetbootin

It's fairly easy to turn any ISO (such as the Windows 7 Professional ISO from MSDN) into a bootable USB stick using UNetbootin for Linux. However, I just found out today that UNetbootin doesn't support Windows-required NTFS-formatted USB sticks. Therefore, it's impossible to create the bootable USB with the huge (3.8 GB or so) ISO. Luckily, there is a workaround. Follow these steps and you should be good to go.

  1. Format your USB stick as FAT32 in GParted. You might have to adjust partitions at this stage, mine was setup correctly.
  2. Open UNetbootin (install if not found on your system) and input the options up to where it shows the USB partition to install to. Mine was set to /dev/sdb1 - Don't actually try to create the installer USB from the ISO at this point, however. That won't work because it's set to FAT32, not NTFS.
  3. Leave UNetbootin open as is. Reopen GParted if you closed it (not necessary).
  4. Format the USB in GParted as NTFS this time. You *might* have to add the "boot" flag depending on how GParted behaves at this point. I didn't.
  5. Now, switch your view back to UNetbootin, which should still show the same options that you left open, and click OK.
  6. UNetbootin may complain that the USB drive isn't mounted. To mount it, just open the terminal and type: sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt That should fix the problem such that you can proceed in UNetbootin.

When you do this, UNetbootin will think you are using a FAT32 partition but will let you use NTFS format for the USB stick.

Good luck!