How to Create a Bootable USB for Windows XP

By J.S. Copper

Updated February 10, 2017

i Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Having a bootable CD or USB drive allows you to start the computer directly from the device rather than loading the complete operating system (OS). This comes in handy if you ever get a debilitating virus that makes the OS inoperable or sends the system through a constant loop of restarts. provides a free, cross-platform bootable image file in the ISO (.iso) image file format that you can then copy to a USB drive. Booting from the USB drive, you can run diagnostic tests and anti-virus scans on the computer's hard drive without worry about the virus affecting the device.

Download the latest boot image from The file is downloaded in the ISO format and can be mounted to a USB flash drive.

Download and install the WinToFlash utility from This free application easily copies the downloaded bootable image file (.iso) to the USB drive.

Insert the USB flash drive into an open USB port on your computer.

Open the WinToFlash application.

Select the "Basic Parameters" tab. Set the USB Drive Type to "Flash Stick." Set the File System to "Fat32," and set the Format to "USB-HDD."

Select "Windows Source Path" and select the downloaded boot image (ISO).

Select "USB Drive" and select the inserted USB drive.

Click "Run" to begin the process. After the process is complete, the USB drive will be capable of booting your Windows system.

Items you will need

  • Boot CD image

  • USB flash drive

  • WinToFlash utility