How to Create Bootable CentOS USB Stick on Windows

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3 min read

Create Bootable CentOS USB Stick

This tutorial will walk you through the process of creating a bootable CentOS USB stick on Windows. You can use this USB stick to boot and test out or install CentOS on any computer that supports booting from USB.


  • An 8GB or larger USB stick drive
  • Microsoft Windows XP or later

Creating Bootable CentOS USB Stick on Windows

Creating Bootable CentOS USB Stick on Windows is a relatively straightforward process, just follow the steps detailed below.

Downloading CentOS ISO file

To download the CentOS ISO file, visit the CentOS downloads page, where you can choose between “DVD ISO” and “Minimal ISO”.

The minimal installation image contains only the packages needed to have a functional CentOS system. The DVD image contains all the packages that can be installed using the installer.

Most likely, you will want to download the “DVD ISO” version.

Installing Etcher

There are several different applications available for free use, which allow you to flash ISO images to USB drives. In this tutorial, we will create a bootable CentOS USB stick using Etcher.

Etcher is a free and open-source utility for flashing images to SD cards & USB drives and supports Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Head over to the balenaEtcher downloads page , and download the most recent Etcher for Windows.

Once the installation file is downloaded, double-click on it to launch the installation wizard. Follow the installation wizard’s steps to install Etcher on your Windows desktop.

Flashing CentOS ISO file to the USB Stick

Creating a bootable CentOS USB stick with Etcher is a pretty much straightforward process.

  1. Insert the USB flash drive into the USB port on your computer and Launch Etcher.

    Launch Etcher
  2. Click on the Select image button and locate your CentOS .iso file. If you downloaded the file using a web browser, then it should be stored in the Downloads folder located in your user account.

    Select Image
  3. Etcher will autoselect the USB drive if only one drive is present. Otherwise, if more than one SD card or USB stick is attached, make sure you have selected the correct USB drive before flashing the image.

  4. To start the flashing process, click the Flash image button.

    Flashing Image

    Etcher will show a progress bar and ETA while flashing the image.

    The process may take several minutes, depending on the size of the ISO file and the speed of the USB stick. Once completed, the following screen will appear informing you that the image is successfully flashed.

    Flash complete

    Click on the [X] to close the Etcher window.

That’s all! You have a bootable CentOS on your USB stick.


You have learned how to create a bootable CentOS USB stick on Windows.

If you hit a problem or have feedback, leave a comment below.