DriveDroid: use your phone to boot ISO images

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 24, 2013
Updated • Feb 24, 2013
Apps, Google Android

With storage size increasing every year, smartphones are finally reaching levels that make them interesting for other applications as well. My Galaxy Note II ships with 16 Gigabyte of storage which can be expanded further with the use of memory cards.

DriveDroid is a free and paid application for Android devices that allows you to use your phone as a boot drive to boot your PC using ISO or IMG image files stored on the phone. This may make sense in a couple of ways. Maybe you want to have a repair or troubleshooting kit always with you, and since you carry your phone around with you at all times, it makes sense to use it for that purpose.

You can use it stationary as well, for instance if you do not have access to another flash memory stick, or if you need more storage than the one you have offers.

There are a couple of requisites though which I'd like to mention first before you get too excited. The application is compatible with all Android 2.2 and higher devices, and requires root to work. It also uses USB Mass Storage which means that some phones, like the Galaxy Note 2 or the Nexus 10 can't be used even if they are rooted. You also need an USB cable to connect the phone to the PC.

drivedroid boot iso img screenshot

To use DriveDroid do the following:

  • The first thing you need to do is add at least one disc image to the application. You can do so with a tap on the plus icon after you have started the application.
  • Here you get options to create a blank image, download an image, or add an image from a file.
  • The download option presents you with a selection of Linux distributions that you can download to your phone, the add local image option requires you to copy an ISO or IMG image to the phone or tablet first.
  • Once you have at least one image on your phone, select the image file in DriveDroid that you want to boot your PC from.
  • Connect the phone to the PC via USB if you have not done so and make sure that USB boot is the primary boot method.
  • You should notice that your PC is booting the image and not the local operating system.

While Linux seems to be the focus right now, you can also create a Windows installation disc using DriveDroid. The developer has published a tutorial on how to do so for Windows 7.


If you use USB Flash drives or optical discs to take disc images with you at all times, you may want to consider moving those to your phone instead to reduce the number of "things" you carry with you at all times. The program is well designed and should not pose any problems to users. The developer notes that some ISO images may not work correctly at the time of writing.

No information are available if and how the free and paid version of DriveDroid differ from each other.


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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments ( Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [] and it appears there but as well here at []

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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