I'm an unaffiliated Software Developer who is also a Free Software enthusiast and a contributor to various Open Source projects.
Akeo is the name of my company, but it's really just a one-man operation that I conduct in my spare time, so please don't expect it to have the same level of resources as Microsoft, Google or Apple when it comes to development or support...
Oh, and incidentally, Akeo is the name of a small lough that's only visible from the top of Muckish, but you don't really care about that, do you?...
A few reasons:
Mostly because I found that I really can't stand proprietary software and grew tired of seeing everybody use the trusted, yet old and limited HPUSBFW formatting utility. Reverse Engineering that tool to create a Free Software clone seemed like an interesting challenge, so I just went for it. For additional background info, see here.
Let me ask you this then: Would you pay $0.99/€0.99 for a utility that simply creates bootable USBs?
Or would you just pick one of the many free alternatives?
Heck, even I would not pay $0.99/€0.99 for this, despite being accurately aware of the cost associated with its development.
So, even if I could try to cash in on the success of Rufus, I see it better to try to benefit millions of users, by providing a free application, instead of just a few thousands with a paying one.
Besides, with the code being Free Software (which is a very deliberate choice as Rufus would not be as good as it is if it was closed source, due to its ability to leverage the great work of others!), anybody could recompile and distribute the same version free of charge. So I don't see much of any other choice, than providing it for free.
As of 2015.02.01 (and regardless of whether a new release occurred or not), Rufus gets downloaded more than 1 million times each month. To put that in perspective, that's a little more than 30,000 downloads per day... or more downloads than Minecraft. ;).
And these are just the downloads from the official site.
All in all then, I estimate that, ever since Rufus was first released in 2012, more than 10 million people have been using it.
I try to answer almost all of the mail I receive about Rufus, but there are days when I'm really really busy, where I'll see your mail, make a mental note to reply to it later, because I have something more pressing going on, and then completely forget about it. I'm afraid I'm only human...
If you think I have been forgetting about your mail, you can always wait a little and send a gentle reminder... ;)
That's because you didn't provide a full log and without it, I don't have enough information to help you out.
Rufus was designed to be very verbose about reporting issues, through its prominent Log button. Therefore, I will kindly request that you use the log facility if you encounter any issue, because, short of sitting in front of your computer and being able to interact with it, that's really the only way I can figure out what's going on.
To produce a log, just click on the 'Log' button, then perform the problematic operation (e.g. insert your drive if it isn't detected, start a format operation with the ISO that is causing an issue, etc.) and click the 'Save Log' button. Then attach the FULL log with the report of your issue. Please do not be tempted to simply copy/paste the few lines from the log that look relevant to you, as you are likely to remove information that I need, such as which version of the OS you are running, what type of ISO was used, and so on.
So, unless you provide a log that is comprehensive enough for me to help you out, I will just point you to this FAQ entry, without any other form of explanation.
Well, there's no good way to answer that question without sounding like a condescending #"£$%, so I'll be brutally honest:
Of course, with all this being said, remember that Rufus is 100% Open Source. So if you really want a feature, you can try to find a sympathetic programmer (or even better, develop your own programming skills) to modify the code and then submit a patch for review.
The table below lists the languages that are intended to be natively supported by Rufus.
The current plan is to embed the translation of what I (and others) consider the 35 or so most prevalent languages into a single version of Rufus. Those are basically the languages from the extra language packs users of Windows 7 Ultimate can install.
Entries in bold & blue have already been integrated and are available in the current version (or will be available in the next version).
Entries in bold & black are languages that somebody volunteered to translate and that are (hopefully) being worked on.
Entries that are not in bold are languages that either nobody volunteered to translate or that a previous volunteer decided to drop (unfortunately, it does happen). If you think you can translate Rufus in one of these languages, I am very interested in hearing from you! Please see the localization guide if you think you might be interested, to find out what translating Rufus will require from you.
Depending on how much space all of these translations take (each one adds about 5 KB to the executable), as well as translator availability, I may add or remove some languages from this list. But for now, this is the current line up, and I will express my sincere thanks to all the people who volunteered so far!
|Arabic||Bulgarian||Chinese (Simplified)||Chinese (Traditional)||Croatian||Czech|
|Persian||Polish||Portuguese (Brazil)||Portuguese (Portugal)||Romanian||Russian|
As opposed to being natively included in the standard application, languages that aren't listed in the table above will be supported by an external file. But I haven't added that feature to Rufus yet, and it will probably be another few months before support for external localization file(s) is added. Until then, while I appreciate the interest, I cannot accept translations for languages that aren't in the table above.
So I will ask you to please be patient. Once I am ready to accept extra translations, I will let everybody know!
The log's prime purpose is to help me, the developer, troubleshoot the application when users encounter an issue. And to be able to do that, I need to be able to understand what appears in it.
Therefore, I very much want all of the log messages to be in English always. Otherwise, I won't be able to help users who don't use Rufus in English!
If you are an advanced user, you can of course use the log to find additional information with regards to what Rufus is doing, but, because this is not targeted at regular users, this data is not meant to be localized and you will be expected to understand English if you want to use the log.
Yes (but not officially)
The truth is, very few people actually need this feature, and figuring out if the target drive has a chance to fit all the content from an ISO is a massive headache. Also having to explain to users, who might not be as tech-savvy as the few people who have requested the feature what NTFS compression means and why it isn't a silver bullet when it comes to trying to cram more content on a flash drive would take away time from the development of other features. Moreover, with Rufus supporting EFI boot from NTFS partitions (for platforms that support it), and UEFI NTFS drivers unlikely to support compression, I would also have to explain why this can't be used.
With millions of users of Rufus, even if only a small percentage inquires about it, this is something I would rather avoid. This is why, while NTFS compression was added as a cheat mode in version 1.4.4, it is 100% unsupported, which means that if you run into any issue while using it, or have questions, or request any improvement to the feature, I will just ignore you (and point you to this entry).
Since version 1.4.7, Rufus can be used with Microsoft Virtual Hard Drives (VHD or VHDX). What you do with a VHD is really up to you (I am not going to provide any advice on that), but, since I sometime ask people encountering an issue to also test with a VHD, here is how you can create one to use with Rufus, provided that you are using Windows 7 or later:
Note that a VHD will not be unmounted on reboot. If you want to remount it after a reboot, you can follow the same steps as above, making sure to point to your existing
Also, if you want unmount a VHD without having to reboot, you should right click on the VHD disk in Disk Manager, and select Detach VHD.
If you need the ability to run multiple ISOs or bootable entities from the same flash drive, then what you really want is to perform custom sysadmin operations, and this rapidly becomes a pain to automate properly because no two people ever want the same thing from such automation. Thus, if you want to use your flash drive in a sysadmin manner, I would advise you to first acquire the sysadmin skills you need, so that you don't need an automated tool to be able to setup a multiboot drive exactly as you want it.
If, on the other hand, you think you need a utility to setup multiboot for you, then I would have to say that you're probably better off keeping away from sysadmin stuff, and stick to a single boot USB drive instead, while switching/recreating the drive when needed.
Now, if you really insist on using Rufus as base for multiboot, you might be interested in this tutorial from our friends at RMPrepUSB... or you might as well use RMPrepUSB altogether, as it's probably what you're really looking for.
Not at this stage.
I briefly toyed with the idea, but I don't think it's worth it, especially as it's a lot more than just creating a bunch of partitions. As with multiboot, you're probably much better off acquiring the knowledge of doing it yourself, than relying on an automated tool to do that for you, and have no clue what's going on when you run into trouble.
What's more, unless your USB Flash Drive is set by the manufacturer to behave as a fixed drive (99% aren't), Windows will not let you see more than a single partition on it. So that makes the idea of using multiple partition a bit moot, when only one of them can be seen at any one time by Windows.
No (unless I get a lot of free time on my hands, which is unlikely to happen).
Once you boot the OS, you should have everything you need to create some space for persistent data, so there's no real need for Rufus to do that.
It's in progress, but don't expect anything fast.
I certainly wish I could, because it sounds like a nice challenge, but I just don't have enough time for that. Also, Rufus was designed to work very closely with the Windows APIs, so porting it to another OS would take a lot of effort. Moreover, most of these platforms already have the tools need to help you achieve what Rufus does (though perhaps not in as convenient a package). As a matter of fact, Rufus relies on tools that were originally designed and run on other platform than Windows such as Syslinux, ms-sys or the bad blocks check feature from e2fsprogs, so at least these capabilities can be obtained on other platforms.
Then again, Rufus is Free Software, so if anybody wants to try to port it to another platform, they have everything they need to do so!
I.e. do you plan to offer 2 versions, one that includes all languages, and another with only English?
First of all, you should understand that even when all the planned native translations are completed, they should not occupy more than 200 KB of the total size of Rufus. That means that, unless you are downloading from a V56 modem, at worst this will only add a couple extra seconds to your download, which isn't that much.
With all the other USB formatting & boot utilities I know off being larger than 1 MB in size, I don't really see adding 200 KB, so that you can simply provide a copy of Rufus to your Korean, Finnish or Brazilian neighbour, should they ever need it, and have them run it in their preferred language, as that big a price to pay.
As you should know, only about 25% of the world population actually speaks English as a first or secondary language. That is why, even if these extra 200K seem to slightly inconvenience some people, I consider it a much more important goal to ensure that a large part of the remaining 75% of the world can use the same copy of Rufus in a language they are familiar with!
I'm hoping that this goal is worth a couple extra seconds of your time...
Rufus is very much designed to work USB drives (as well as VHDs), to avoid the possibility of non tech-savvy people seeing a drive and formatting it, without realizing that it was an internal drive with valuable data, rather than the external drive they just plugged in.
If I were to list non USB/VHD drives, I'm pretty sure I would immediately start to get complaints from people who formatted the wrong drive by mistake. And even if I could rightfully shift the blame on user error, I'd still much rather inconvenience a few people, by not letting them erase the data they want, than inconvenience others by allowing them to erase data they don't want to erase.
My priority with Rufus is and remains to avoid any possibility of data loss, even if minimal. As such, if you want to format internal drives, I will respectfully ask that you use another method.
Try to check the List fixed (non flash) or unpartitioned USB disks (v1.3.4 or earlier)/List USB Hard Drives (v1.4.0 or later) option in the advanced options panel. To display the advanced options panel, just click on the white triangle next to Format Options.
Alternatively, you can simply hit Alt-F.
Note however that formatting non flash USB drives, such as USB HDDs, is not officially supported for now. Use at your own risks!
No, it didn't.
While you may not be familiar with USB formatting operations, you should understand the following: even intentionally, it is extremely difficult for software to damage hardware, and even less so unintentionally. If you ask anyone with knowledge of what really goes on behind the scenes, they will tell you that an application such as Rufus, that uses low level access to partition, format, or test bad blocks, simply does not have the ability to damage USB hardware. This is because, unlike what Hollywood likes to pretend, there really isn't a set of magic commands that make hardware self-destruct, and even when governments try to do it (in the form of the Stuxnet virus for instance) they have to invest years and millions of dollars in planning just to target a very specific type of hardware controller (and USB flash drives, from different manufacturers, tend to use completely different hardware controllers internally).
Now, because Rufus does erase some data, you might think that a formatting operation is hazardous, but this too is a very inaccurate assumption: As far as the hardware is concerned, formatting or partitioning a drive is no more different than writing to a regular file. Furthermore, if you use quick format, very little data is actually read or written on the device during the formatting or partitioning, and as far as a standard USB drive is concerned, it makes absolutely no distinction between data written during formatting or partitioning and regular data - It's just completely interchangeable data blocks being read and/or written. So, again, there really doesn't exist any "special" data block on USB drives, that must be present for the drive to either be recognized or able to perform its operations.
What this means is that, even if a formatting application has a bug, the worst it can do, really, is write some erroneous data to a flash block. But since the USB controller on a flash drive doesn't care about which data is present in which blocks, it still won't matter even if all of the flash blocks have been corrupted, including the ones that contain partition or file system critical information.
The only possible way Rufus could actually damage a drive is if you were to repeatedly run the check for bad blocks, as flash memory is not everlasting and will wear out after a lot of read and write cycles. However, for standard USB flash hardware, the number of write cycles before it wears out should be in the tens of thousands and what's more, a proper flash drive also contains circuitry that "moves" blocks around, to minimize the wear and tear (which is another reason why you can be confident that there doesn't exist any special data block on an USB drive). But since Rufus only checks for bad blocks when a user explicitly requests it (bad blocks check is disabled by default because this is a very slow process), the only actual possibility for the application to damage your drive is if you chose to repeatedly run the bad blocks check, for days or weeks on end.
So, unless you have been running bad blocks checks for days, I have to be very categoric that your drive was not damaged by Rufus. Whatever damage you maybe believe has been incurred while you were using Rufus is either a detection issue, or a standard hardware failure due to wear and tear, that just happened to coincide with when Rufus was accessing your drive. Obviously, when you use something, there's always a risk it will independently choose that moment to fail.
Detection issues are actually fairly common: if Rufus isn't able to complete a formatting operation, it is possible that the drive may be left improperly partitioned, or dismounted, and therefore it will not show it in Windows explorer (though recent versions of Rufus will try to list the drive even then). This can usually be solved by going to Computer Management → Disk Management in the Windows administrative tools. Also, because Rufus tends to be faster than other tools, it may render issues with sub-par cabling more prominent (due to using poor USB 3.0 extension cables for instance), which may in turn cause Windows to report a hardware failure or disconnected device. Or it may also be that Rufus uses an OS operation, that other applications don't use, to access your device, and which your specific OS configuration has trouble with.
If the above still isn't enough to convince you, then maybe the following will: Currently, Rufus is downloaded more than 1 million times every month, to format a very wide range of USB flash drives. Yet I receive extremely few reports from people believing that Rufus damaged their drive (less than 1 or 2 per month at worst, which means 1 or 2 for more than a million uses), and reports of such issues are very public, so it's not like I could really hide them even if I wanted to!. This 1 or 2 in a million is pretty much what one expects from coincidental failure that would have happened regardless of whether someone was using Rufus or not. This should therefore be a good indication that Rufus is safe to use.
Unless a human employee from the company that makes Antivirus X actually confirmed it, I'm just going to ignore yet another false-positive report and point you to this entry without further explanation.
The reason for that is, every single release of Rufus, one of the various Antivirus vendors (it's never the same) seems to find nothing better than to produce a false-positive for the latest Rufus executable, mostly because they don't seem to understand that some size-conscious C programmers would ever want to produce anything but malware on Windows... This is getting exasperating and I have much better things to do than to submit a release for proper analysis every other day, without even getting an apology from security people, when they confirm that the application is perfectly safe, and that the problem was purely with their trigger-happy analysis engine.
This means that, if you want me to pay heed to a report that Rufus contains malware, you'd better first have an e-mail from a human person, working for your security solution, that actually confirms it and can provide technical details about the malware. If not, I will just point you to this and ignore your report.
I'm afraid your device is most likely dead.
The way an USB drive dies is usually that the flash memory gives out (because it has a limited number of rewrites before it's going to fail), and when that happens, the USB controller from the device, which is usually a generic microchip that is either the same or similar to the microchips that you would find on USB card readers, will detect that it is no longer able to access the memory, and, just like a card reader, report that it is no longer able to detect a memory media.
In the Rufus log, this will usually produce the message: Device eliminated because it appears to contain no media.
If you see that message, it's probably time to purchase a new USB flash drive, because it is very unlikely that you will be able to use this one again. And, no, Rufus did not have anything to do with destroying your drive. Flash memory does have a very limited life, and things with a limited life tend to fail as you use them. See also the previous entry.
Of course it does!
If you are assuming that Rufus will preserve partitions and only format the first one, then you are not reading the warning message properly. Rufus always deletes ALL partitions when formatting, as it needs to overwrite the bootloader and MBR/GPT table, which is the section of the disk that contains the partitioning information.
The LARGE WARNING that appears before the formatting operation starts does states that all data on the DRIVE will be deleted. A drive encompasses ALL the volumes/partitions.
All versions of Rufus above 1.4.4 will also produce a very clear extra warning that lets you know that all partitions will be destroyed. So if you happen to lose data because you assumed that a drive meant only a single volume or partition, it's because you didn't pay enough attention what Rufus was telling you.
OK, first of all, you can tell Rufus not to create an autorun.inf by unchecking the Create extended label and icon file in the Format Options. So Rufus does not force the creation of an autorun.inf file if you don't want one.
Now, as the option above indicates, the reason Rufus tries to create an autorun.inf file by default is primarily due to file system limitations. Especially, a file system such as FAT can only accommodate volume names that are UPPERCASE, less than 11 characters long and with English characters only. Oh, and it will also prevent you from using characters such as dot (.), comma (,), plus (+) and others...
Say you created a bootable USB from an ISO image labelled Linux Mint 13 Xfce 32-bit. If you don't do anything, then the best label you will be able to set for your USB drive will be LINUX MINT. If you leave that USB alone and then want to figure out what version it was, or whether it's 32 or 64 bit next time you reuse it, good luck!
Even worse, if English is not your mother tongue, as is the case for an estimated 93% of the world you can also forget about labelling your drive in your own language!
All in all, I hope you agree that these limitations with regards to the drive label aren't exactly nice, and that an application like Rufus should try to do something about it if it can...
This is where the autorun.inf file comes into play. Windows actually makes it possible to set a display label that can be as long and contain as many extended characters as you want (Chinese, Russian, Greek and so on), through the use of an autorun.inf file.
When autorun support is enabled, Windows checks any drive for the presence of an autorun.inf file, and, if such a file is found and it contains a label = line, then rather than use the default label, Windows will display whatever comes after the equal sign as the drive label in explorer.
This very useful feature then, lets you list drives with a label that contain lowercase, extended characters and is more than 11 letters long. And this is why Rufus will make use of it by default.
Also, the autorun.inf can also be used to set the icon that should be displayed for the drive in Windows Explorer, and Rufus also uses that feature to make it easy to recognize a flash drive that was created by Rufus.
As to the presence of an autorun.inf being dangerous, there does exist antivirus software (as well as some people) that are paranoid about seeing an autorun.inf created anywhere, due to these files also providing the capability to automatically execute an application (hence the name).
While it is true that, in the past, this capability was used by some viruses to replicate themselves, Rufus does not use the autorun.inf in this fashion, and as such, only a poorly designed security application, that isn't smart enough to actually scan the content of the file and find out whether it attempt to automatically execute a program, should erroneously take objection to the autorun.inf that Rufus creates.
I hope that this explanation is enough to make you understand that, unlike dumb security applications, you need not overreact when you see an autorun.inf on your USB drive and, what's more, understand that this is really done to help the vast majority of the world have the ability to label their drive as they see fit. After all, provided you don't speak Chinese, how would you like it if you could only label all your USB drives in Chinese?
Finally, remember that Rufus does provide some tooltips when you mouse over the options, and in this case, the Create extended label and icon file option indicates that it will create an autorun.inf. And of course, if an ISO already contains an autorun.inf file, Rufus will not overwrite it.
Formatting a drive, and even more so altering its boot record, is a privileged operation by nature.
If unprivileged users had the ability to perform it, then the first malicious application ran as a non-elevated user could do all sorts of nasty things. It doesn't matter whether the drive is an USB flash drive or a system disk, the same restrictions apply.
As such, you must have the right to run applications with elevated privileges if you run Rufus, and no, it is not possible to create a version of Rufus that doesn't require elevation.
That is a result of the check for update feature and the name of the executable you use. Depending on the name of the Rufus executable you downloaded, the check for update will or will not be enabled by default. In the second case, you will be prompted to decide whether you want to let Rufus access the internet to check for updates, to which you can say no if you want.
To explain this behaviour, I have to provide some history:
As a software user, I too prefer to use software that is opt-in, i.e. that lets users know that it may try to connect to the internet, and asks users for their permission before it attempts to do so.
As such, initially, I was planning to make Rufus opt-in always. However, I got requests from people redistributing Rufus NOT to prompt the user with regards to connecting to the internet, on account that some people would be confused by the question.
How could I solve this dilemma then? Simple:
If you look at http://rufus.akeo.ie/downloads/ you'll see there are actually 2 versions of the latest Rufus version, one called
rufus_v#.#.#.exe and the other called
rufus.exe. They are essentially the same binary file (
rufus.exe is actually just a symbolic link to the first one on the web server). However, when Rufus starts, it checks for the name of its executable, and if it finds that it is called "rufus.exe", it does not display the question on whether a user wants to check for update, and enables that check automatically.
On the other hand, if you launch
rufus_v#.#.#.exe (or any version of Rufus that isn't named
rufus.exe), you will be prompted on whether you want to enable the check for updates, in which case you have the option to disable it altogether, as well as find more information about the information we collect.
If by any chance you downloaded
rufus.exe (or accepted the prompt without realizing it), and want to disable the update check you can one of the following:
Alt-Rin Rufus: You should get a message that states
Application registry keys successfully deleted(since we need to write some information in the registry for the update check as well). Then if you exit Rufus and launch it again (as long as you are not launching
rufus#something.exe), you will see the initial opt-in prompt and have an opportunity to refuse.
This is because I tend to wait between a few hours to a full day, between the time I publish a new release on the web site and the time I make it available for auto-updates.
The reason I do that is that, if there is an obvious problem with a release, I expect people who download from the website to let me know right away, and this gives me a chance to fix it while ensuring that auto-update subscribers always fetch a version that has been tried and tested as much as possible.
1. Whether you enable or disable the check for updates, Rufus needs to store some registry keys under
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Akeo Consulting\Rufus\ so that it can identify whether the check for update was enabled by the end-user, and how this check should behave (how frequent, when the last check was ran, etc.).
These keys can be deleted by pressing
Alt-R while Rufus is running.
2. Also, while Rufus is running, it temporarily modifies the Local Group Policy so that you don't get a Windows notification about a newly inserted USB device. If we weren't doing that, Windows would prompt you to choose what you want to do with the device, which is annoying when all you probably want to do is use Rufus to format it.
This Local Group Policy is restored to its original value when Rufus exits.
If there are any residuals from this operation, they are not due to Rufus, but rather are the result of how Windows handles Group Policy changes, as it may have to create keys when a Policy is first applied, but that doesn't mean the presence of these extra keys will change the behaviour of your system. On exit, Rufus always requests Windows to restore the policy settings as it found them.
For more on this, please have a look at
SetLGP() calls in
rufus.c, and the implementation of
Oh, and since I'm getting some very vocal complaints about this, if you freak out about an application modifying registry keys and/or using the methodology (Group Policies) that Microsoft advocates system administrators to use when changing Windows settings, then you're probably better off not using Windows at all. Seriously.
Unfortunately, there exist many types of bootable ISOs, and Rufus cannot support them all, especially as some of the bootable ISO format Rufus doesn't support are very custom and not used very much.
However, if the bootable content is DOS based, which would be the case for most unsupported El Torito bootable ISOs, you can usually work around the limitation, by doing the following. For this example, I am going to use the SeaTools for DOS bootable ISO image provided by Seagate. The other tool that you should also have installed for the following is the invaluable 7-zip.
The steps then are as follows:
This error can happen early on in the formatting process if you happen to have disabled automounting (which is a different feature from autorun) and if you are using a Fixed USB drive. If that is the case, you should do the following:
cmdin the Windows menu search box, then right click on
cmd.exeand select Run as Administrator).
The reason is that USB 3.0 is fast and therefore very prone to cross-talk and interferences if the connection to the device is of poor quality, due to a bad cable/connector. When that happens, a temporary disconnection of the flash drive may occur, and because Rufus is usually faster to transfer data than the other tools, it will detect a problem.
Since version 1.4.2, code has been added that attempts to retry the writing of the file if that happens to try to mitigate the problem, but if your USB 3.0 flash drive is not using a solid connection, you should try to take measures to avoid that.
The short answer: If Rufus managed to create a bootable USB, and that USB booted, you really are on your own.
The long answer: As you can expect, there are plenty of ISOs, with plenty of different boot processes out there (If only all ISOs actually booted the same way! There's El Torito with emulation, Syslinux, NTLDR, bootmgr, EFI, etc, and they are all completely different to setup), and once boot has been achieved, there's nothing guaranteeing that whatever application has been booted (OS installer, live/recovery system, utility...) will actually work with an USB drive. If an application was designed to boot from optical media, it may very well still try to access subsequent files from optical media and completely ignore what is present on USB.
As you can understand, there are way too many bootable ISOs out there for me to become familiar with each one, and tell you how to make the one you are trying to use work... if it can work at all.
Once the application has booted, you should really take it with the developers or the community of users of that application, if you want to get help, as they will be much more suited to provide it.
IMPORTANT Ever since Microsoft retired Windows XP in April 2014, all request to help with XP installation will be left unanswered (outside of a link to this entry). Also please note that XP 64 bit is NOT supported by Rufus.
Unfortunately, and unlike what is the case for later versions of Windows, the XP installation process was never designed by Microsoft to be USB compatible. This means that one of the first things an "XP-from-USB" installer application does, including Rufus, is to try to apply some kind of workaround to the XP installation process. For instance, some XP USB installers use a virtual optical drive emulation layer; others try to modify the installation files, etc.
Of course, any time you introduce a workaround, especially if you don't have the testing resources of Microsoft, you introduce a risk that a specific environment you can't test against will break things. This may be due to some form of BIOS incompatibility, hardware configuration, and so on.
In the vast majority of cases, the installation of Windows XP from an USB drive created by Rufus should work fine. But you may be one of the unlucky few who find that it doesn't with the specific hardware you are trying to install XP on.
Hopefully, you will understand that, as a developer with limited development time, I am reluctant to invest resources for the support of a specific hardware configuration, especially if it is the installation of an OS that has been officially retired by Microsoft. Only a handful of people are expected to benefit from identifying and fixing issues that seem to occur on specific hardware, whereas a lot more people could benefit from adding general features to Rufus, such as localization. Therefore, spending time identifying rare XP installation errors doesn't seem a good investment.
This being said:
Setup cannot find the End User License Agreement, you may be missing some drivers to access your disk. For more info, see here.
ntdetect.com. Unfortunately, this patch is rather heavy (it goes much beyond a few bytes being modified), incompatible with the method Rufus uses, and the author of the patch did not document anything, which means that trying to figure out how to make a Rufus compatible version of a patched
ntdetect.comwould take a lot of time, which I don't really have.
Still, with Rufus being 100% Open Source, if you or someone else want to spend time to figure what Rufus should do to make your XP installation work, I'll be happy to accept a patch.
If you try to install XP on a blank or unpartitioned drive, you may find that the USB drive you booted from is listed as C: and therefore prevents you from using C: for the partition you want Windows to be installed on:
To work around this:
When starting the installation of openSUSE, you may get the error:
Unable to create repository from URL 'hd:/?device=/dev/disk/by-id/usb-Your_USB_Brand_AABBCCDDEEFF1234567890-0:0-part1'. Details: [|] Valid metadata not found at the specified URL History: - [|] Repository type can't be determined. Try again?
If that is the case, you should answer Yes and on the YaST2 prompt that appears and enter /media.1 in the Directory field (you can leave the Repository Name field empty). Then you should be able to proceed with the installation.
First of all, a little reminder as to why this prompt is here in the first place.
By default, the Windows installation process is a two step one. The first step is to boot from USB and copy the installation files to the hard drive, and the second step (after reboot), is to boot from the hard drive and continue the installation.
Obviously, if Rufus creates an USB that always boot, regardless of the step being executed, unattended installations of Windows would be impossible, as someone would need to be in front of the computer to remove the USB or change the BIOS option after the first step is completed to ensure the computer boots from the HDD.
By installing an MBR that prompts the user and will default to boot from the HDD if no action is taken (and it is bootable - if not the USB is always booted), Rufus does let users perform unattended installation of Windows, which is a very desirable feature. As a matter of fact, the "Press any key to boot from USB" prompt mimics the "Press any key to boot from CD" prompt you get when installing Windows from optical media, so in that respect, Rufus tries to be as close as possible to the behaviour one would get when installing from the CD or DVD.
Now, there may be some cases where you still want to disable that prompt, and ensure that your USB will boot always. If so, here's what you should do:
If you are using a Windows ISO that can be dual booted in EFI or BIOS mode, you may find that the USB created by Rufus does not preserve the dual EFI+BIOS boot feature.
Especially, the Windows 8 installation ISOs, that support both EFI and BIOS boot, will be converted to either one or the other mode, depending on the option you selected under Partition scheme and target type: If you select the first option (MBR partition scheme for BIOS or UEFI computer), the USB will be bootable in BIOS-mode only (even on UEFI systems), and if you select any of the other options, the USB will be bootable in EFI mode only (and not bootable on a BIOS system at all).
This is done to avoid confusion, as it can be difficult for non expert users to know whether they actually booted in EFI or BIOS mode, when an USB Flash Drive can be booted in both modes, and installation is meant to be a one-off operation, targeting a very specific machine and boot mode. You probably don't want to go through a full Windows installation, only to realize that it was installed in BIOS mode, when you really wanted it installed in EFI mode.
By ensuring that only one or the other can be used for Windows installation, there is no room for error with regards to which mode that was used for installation.
Note that this does not apply for Windows To Go, and that you can also enable dual EFI+BIOS boot by using the
Alt-E cheat mode (see below) with Rufus 2.0 or higher.
This can happen if you chose GPT partition scheme for UEFI computer in the Partition scheme dropdown, and part_gpt module was not included in grub when running grub-mkimage (See here).
In this case, you need to select MBR partition scheme for UEFI computer, and the grub.efi boot should work as expected.
You can display advanced options by clicking on the white arrow near Format Options.
Then by, selecting the relevant option in the Create a bootable disk dropdown, this mode also gives you the ability to install:
Of course, since all of the above does is install the boot records, you will still have to manually provide the relevant configuration files and additional binaries.
Alt-B(v1.4.7 or later) - Toggle fake drive detection during bad blocks check:
Alt-C(v1.4.7 or later) - Force the check for update to be successful:
Alt-D- Delete the
NoDriveTypeAutorunkey on exit:
Alt-E(v2.0 or later) - Enable dual BIOS+EFI mode for Windows installation media. For the reason why dual BIOS+EFI is disabled by default, see here
Alt-F- Enable fixed disk detection (v1.3.4 or earlier)/Enable USB HDD detection (v1.4.0 or later):
Alt-I(v1.4.7 or later) - Toggle ISO image support:
Alt-J(v1.4.3 or later) - Toggle Joliet support for ISO9660 images:
Alt-K(v1.4.3 or later) - Toggle Rock Ridge support for ISO9660 images:
Alt-L(v1.3.3 or later) - Force the use of Large FAT32 formatting for all target sizes:
Alt-N(v1.4.4 or later) - Enable compression when creating an NTFS drive.
Alt-Sto disable size checks when using this feature. Also, bear in mind that NTFS file compression is not possible on drives that have a larger cluster size than 4K (which Rufus will NOT check). Finally, if you use this unsupported option, you are 100% on your own!
Alt-R(v1.3.0 or later) - Erase registry keys:
Alt-S- Disable size limits:
Alt-U(v1.4.7 or later) - Use PROPER units when displaying sizes, instead of the whole Kibi/Gibi nonsense.
Alt-W(v2.0 or later) - Enable VMWare disk detection.
Alt-X(v2.0 or later) - Delete the
If you want some more insight about what Rufus does when it checks for updates, you can create the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Akeo Consulting\Rufus\VerboseUpdateCheck as a DWORD, and assign it a value or 1 (verbose) or 2 (even more verbose). You will then extended information about the update check in the log.
If you're using any of the following, Rufus may not work as expected. In all cases, this is due to the listed software or hardware preventing the level of access required by Rufus to properly set up an USB device, for instance, by preventing operations that are 100% legitimate, such as writing an
autorun.inf file or by latching onto an USB drive and preventing the exclusive access that Rufus requires for partitioning and formatting.
Thus, if you want to use Rufus, I would advise using an alternative from the items listed below: