Introduction of Bootable Media

A installation disc (CD/DVD) is the traditional form of bootable media. It contains a bootable operating system,which is generally a compact version of Linux or Windows PE. If the Windows operating system (such as Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11) installed on a hard disk suffers an error or even fail to start, we can restore it through a Windows or Linux bootable disc to make the OS work normally.

However, not all users keep the original installation disk forever. We've also been given the ability to create our own repair CD/DVD or bootable USB. For example, there are utilities come with Windows system to create a recovery drive. And currently, it might be a more popular choice to create bootable USB due to its portability and compatibility.

Here I would introduce a more comprehensive tool for creating bootable disc/USB and start computer successfully - the bootable media maker AOMEI Backupper which supports creating either Windows or Linux bootable CD/USB Flash Drive. The former one can be created straightway, while the latter one may require installing Windows AIK kit in your operating system in advance.

With the created bootable disk, you can start a faulty computer and perform backup & recovery without booting into the system.

✍Tips: The Linux boot disc has several drawbacks, so we strongly recommend creating Windows PE bootable CD first. Here's the comparison of the available functions between the 2 types of bootable media.

Features Windows PE bootable disc/USB Linux bootable disc/USB
File, Folder, Disk and partition backup
System Backup
System Restore
File, Folder, Disk and partition Restore
Disk and partition clone
Explore image file
Support hardware RAID

*It's also recommended to backup Windows drivers so as to restore them and insure a working computer afterward. Or you may download the magic tool Driver Talent for Network Card which is able to download and install network drivers without internet connection in case of no internet after system recovery.

Create Bootable USB/Disc for Windows or Linux with AOMEI Backupper

When making a Windows PE bootable CD, the free backup software - AOMEI Backupper will check whether your operating system meets the corresponding requirements.

For instance, is it necessary to install Windows AIK? If it is, this software will provide corresponding notices. And if your operating system is Vista or higher version of OS, such as Windows 7/8/10/2008 R2/2011/2012/2016, usually you can directly create a bootable CD without installing Windows AIK.

This software can be used to start a crashed computer of HP, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS, Dell, etc. And the created media is able to boot in both BIOS and UEFI mode. So you don't need to worry about the compatibility issue.

Download it to create a bootable media for free.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

How to Make Bootable USB Flash Drive or USB Disk

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper. Select "Create Bootable Media" option under the "Tools" tab.

Create Bootable Media

Step 2. In the pop-up window, choose "Windows PE - Create bootable disc based on Windows PE" option (recommended), and then click "Next".

You can also choose to create bootable disk based on Linux knernal, but a Linux based bootable media only allows you to use basic functions of AOMEI Backupper.

Windows PE

Step 3. To create a bootable USB drive, you just need to select "USB Boot Device" as the screenshot shows, and then click "Next".

Select USB Drive

Step 4. When the operation is done, just click "Finish" to exit the interface.

Here you have already made a bootable USB. Then, you can reboot your computer, and set the USB drive as the first boot device in BIOS settings and test if your computer can boot from the disc.

When something bad happens, you can use it to boot your computer into WinPE, and perform backup & restore operation there. You can even use it to restore system image to a different computer using the Universal Restore feature.

How to Create Windows PE Bootable Disc

If you do not have a USB flash drive, or simply want a booble disc, you can use the similar way to create a bootable CD/DVD.

Most of the steps are the same, just select "Burn To CD/DVD" option instead of "USB Boot Device" in the Select Bootable Media step.

Note: You need a CD-burning program, and also you need to insert the CD/DVD into the CD-ROM, or the "Burn To CD/DVD" option will not be available.

Burn to CD/DVD

How to Create Linux Bootable CD/DVD

The way to create Linux bootable CD is just the same as those steps of creating Windows PE bootable CD/USB Drive. The only difference is that you can create this kind of CD at any time without meeting any requirement, such as a Windows AIK installation. Just like what has been said before, the compatibility of Linux bootable CD might be a little bit poorer.

Refer to the steps above and choose “Linux - Create bootable disc based on Linux kernel” in Step 2 to make Linux bootable disc. Here is a screenshot:

Linux Bootabe Disc

During the process of making Linux CD, if you do not possess a CD, AOMEI Backupper allows you create a bootable USB drive. The only requirement is that, when choosing the bootable media type, select the USB Boot Device. Then you can boot the operating system from the USB disk to do the recovery operations.

Note: Linux bootable media does not support for EFI/UEFI boot, if your computer boot mode is UEFI mode, you need to enter into BOIS to change the BIOS boot mode from UEFI to Legacy Boot Mode like the following snapshot (you may also learn how to change the setting by referring to the manual of your motherboard).

boot mode

How to Create Bootable ISO File

If you do not have CD nor a USB disk, or if there is a problem when making the bootable CD, you could create a bootable ISO file first, and then employ some burning software, like Nero to burn ISO file to a CD or USB disk.

Here come the operating steps of creating bootable ISO file.

First, select "Create Bootable Media" option under the "Tools" item. Then, select the bootable disc type (WinPE or Linux) and the "Export ISO File" option. Click "Next" to proceed.

Export ISO File

At last, click "Finish" when the operation has been done.


After creating the ISO file, you can easily burn ISO to CD or USB with burning tool. Please read: how to burn ISO file to CD/USB.

Also, you can complete this task with the Windows 7 integrates built-in burning utility by right clicking this ISO file > Open With > Windows Disc Image Burner.

Note: If you don't want to create bootable disc, you could enable AOMEI Backupper recovery environment in Windows boot options menu, and then boot from the recovery environment to backup and restore data.