Boot from ISO file on the HDD or on USB flash drive

By Zeratul ยท 18 replies
Sep 8, 2006
  1. I have an Acronis Bootable ISO file.

    I need to do either of these two:
    1. Either keep this iso file as it is on my HDD and ask you to fetch me a bootable tool than can load any iso file from HDDs
    2. or you fetch me :D some other tool that can "burn" or in other words, copy this iso file with a special method and make my USB flash drive (data traveler) boot from it

    Is there any tool on the internet to do this strange mission??

    Any other ideas would be appreciated...
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    2 is plain impossible. CDs are very different from hard drives and so are the boot methods.

    1 was already asked once before and no, noone could come up with the said program. IMO writing one would be a true feat of PC hacking..

    You really can't afford a USB CD-ROM drive?
  3. Zeratul

    Zeratul TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 70

    i guess this is an expensive device and i don't want it in 1st place

    I don't think this is related to my question :) Nodsu, but i don't think i can afford it because i guess it gonna be slightly expensive :-(

    Besides, what you're saying is a CD drive, but what i want is actually a tool to fully identify iso files but OUTSIDE WINDOWS, i.e. before entering windows after system start up

    I guess there's nothing like this or at least, up till now
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Does Linux count as "outside Windows"?

    What exactly do you want to do?
  5. Zeratul

    Zeratul TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 70

    Clarifying what i WANT EXACTLY

    What I meant is that from its 1st bootable CD, it gives me the ability to continue the installation of its distro from the HDD if i have the 3 other ISO files on it and which means that it's bootloader, i suppose, can UNDERSTAND AND DEAL WITH ISO FILES AS THEY ARE and which also means that I don't have to burn these ISOs on CDs, no, i can leave them on the HDD. >>> That's exactly what i want. I want something like this bootloader but for any iso file not just its linux ISOs.

    Am i clear or there's still something vague :suspiciou

    Regarding LINUX, well, it could be considered so if i can load it from a live CD, i.e. all what i want are tools that ARE BOOTABLE AND CAN BE USED from CD
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    If you mean the ability of Linux distros to install from ISO files, then that is something completely different.

    The bootloader loads a tiny Linux OS from the first CD/floppy that in turn runs the installer program that uses the Linux facilities to read ISO files. This is not "booting" from ISO files on a hard drive, this is accessing the contents of ISO files from the Linux operating system.

    No, once you have booted a proper operating system (like Linux, not DOS), you cannot boot another.
  7. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    what about bootable xp ISO's
    I have 2 of them,, dvd's can usb emulate udf
    and does Bart PE boot loader do this
    not sure how this would work with usb drive
    the bios must be able to boot from this device
    I know xpe boots from flash drive ,could this boot from usb port??
    I say just load it up and give it a shot

    link 1
    Toms hardware supposed to have info on usb booting
    don't know if it's windows
    as for leaving the iso on drive and then seeing the boot sector you would need a virtual drive emulator on bios boot ??
    I have never allowed a Vdrive to stay active on boot no reason I don't think my bios would recognize it
    that would be under the cdrom drives order
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    ISO is just a loose term for a CD image or even a UDF file. Nero can "burn" these to media. I use Daemon Tools to move ISO images of my game CD's that require that the CD be in the drive to play the game, to virtual hard drives on my system. I can run the games from these virtual disks, and not have an actual CD in the CD drives. If you create a bootable "ISO" CD image, you should be able to move this image to any device that is big enough to handle the file size and to a device that you can "mount".
  9. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    and there lies the problem
    the bios must see the boot drive
    or it will not read any info from said drive .,right
    I've been rather busy with a ceramic tile floor and some plastering so not been able to look into usb bootable's
  10. Zeratul

    Zeratul TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 70

    :( :(

    I have a question,

    There are two kinds of usb drives or they're called so:
    1. USB HDD, can be called usd drives, and
    2. USB Flash drive or pen drive or the small flash disks in the size of a finger.

    Now, which one of these two is used in the upper link ??????
  11. ememisya

    ememisya TS Rookie

    In theory this is in fact possible. You can boot the ISO as a guest VM. Some rootkits operate this way. I'll make it a weekend thing to look into it.

    Okay, I haven't tried this but here's a theory.

    Get a big USB Key.

    1. Install Slax on your USB Key (

    2. Download VMWare for Slax ('s/)

    3. Download VM Browser Appliance (

    4. Edit browser-appliance.vmx


    ide1:0.fileName = "auto detect"
    ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-raw"


    ide1:0.fileName = "\tmp\your.iso"
    ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"

    5. Boot the key, run VMPlayer, boot the browser-appliance
    6. Press ESC on VM Player boot screen, select boot from CD.

    And it should work, I'll try this myself as soon as I get a chance.
  12. Innomen

    Innomen TS Rookie

    More than willing to try...

    I cannot find either VMWare for Slax or VM Browser Appliance. (Both your links are dead.)

    Please Advise.

  13. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    This is an old thread... Try Googling the pages
  14. Innomen

    Innomen TS Rookie

    I wish...

    I wish to god I could get a buck for every time someone told me to Google when I already had.

    You know it is easier to Google than ti is to sign up for a forum account, register it, confirm it and post my question.

    Plus Google is instant. This is not.

    Further, Google is never a smart $%^, it just tries to answer the question, which is hardly ever the case on these forums.

    So, Yes, I Googled.

    Google is also a skill mind you, I have NO idea what to look for but the terms I pulled off the list above, I have no files names, I really don't know what these things even are, except the OS.

    So you know, you could Google for me to be nice? if it's so easy?

    Thank you.
  15. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    if this might help... I'm not certain of the corresponding download links you need but for those specifc questions about Slax / Slax downloads / etc. you might find the Slax forums helpful. Click here
  16. Innomen

    Innomen TS Rookie

    Ahhh, alright, Thank you very much. I doubt his solution would work though if for no other reason than so many people would find so many different uses for it, and you just don't see them around. Like, I want to use it to have a collection of install "CDs" on a 32gb jump stick, rather than carrying around an antique zipper CD case. CDs to me are like diskettes. I just want to move away from them. 700mb? 4.2GB? come on.

    I just am so frustrated at this throwing up of hands in the air "oops sorry totally not possible, buy this learn that move on."

    And here I thought computers were supposed to work for us. Silly me. :)
  17. lovepirat

    lovepirat TS Rookie

    Give it a shot..

    Well i downloaded an iso image frome a very slow internet conn and it kinda changed my iso files parameters..after fixing the problem i hade to boot this image frome a usb flash drive and install an os so i used "unetbootin"...i beleve this software and some googeling and a bit of ur logical imagination may flip ur problem!!!! Gd luck
  18. Innomen

    Innomen TS Rookie

    Yea I tried that...

    Unetbootin wont work for me, to my understanding the reason is because you basically cannot boot one operating system from another and that's what you'd have to do to accomplish what I'm talking about.

    In the specific case of trying to install xp from a stick, I've found that the problem is the install process resets any virtual or physical drives as a part of initial hardware setup. So the virtual cd in this case kicks itself out. CDs don't do this because I'm told the bios handles them differently, or the OS specifically exempts them from this init process specifically.

    But ultimately I have no idea. I'm beginning to wonder if it's even possible with an external usb cdr om drive. We're venturing out into hardware an electronics, and out there, I'm a total lamer.

    Thanks for your input. :) Unetbootin is the closest I got, it would boot and try to install, and then bluescreen, every other attempt just hung immediately.
  19. lovepirat

    lovepirat TS Rookie


    i got ur msg...and i dnt have any ideas how to get it done..or at least not yet...
    but iv kinda hade somme googling and ther is a copple of things that might hepl u in a way:
    .1.. try and understand how it works.

    try i told u they might not solve the problems but they will give u some hints on how to.....
    gd luck
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