AutoBootDisk is a free
cross-platform program that you may use to copy Linux distributions to a bootable USB drive so that you can boot Linux from these devices right away.
Programs like UNetbootin, Universal USB Installer, or Rufus let you copy operating systems to USB Flash drives to boot from them. All support Linux, and some support Windows and other operating systems as well.
While you can burn any Linux distribution to CD or DVD to boot from optical disc, optical discs are on their way out on many consumer devices. USB Flash drives offer other advantages such as persistent storage, speed, or the fact that you can erase anything on a drive and start anew effortlessly.
AutoBootDisk is available for Windows,
Linux and Mac devices. It is an open source, cross-platform program to copy Linux distributions to USB drives.
The application supports the two modes automatic and custom. Automatic downloads one of the 70+ Linux distributions and copies it to the selected USB drive afterwards. Custom is designed for distributions that AutoBootDisk does not support by default.
The list of supported distributions includes many popular ones such as Ubuntu, ArchLinux, ElementaryOS, OpenSuse, or Fedora. Some crowd favorites, Debian and Linux Mint, are not included, however.
You need to download the ISO images of unsupported Linux distributions manually and use the custom option to copy them to USB Flash drives and make these Flash drives bootable using AutoBootDisk.
The automatic option is straightforward. Select a distribution to get started, and wait until the program has downloaded it to the local system. The time it takes to download the ISO image of the selected Linux distribution depends mostly on the Internet connection of the device you are using.
The final step prompts you to select a USB drive. The program copies the files to the drive and makes it bootable in the process as well.
You can boot from the drive at any time, and either use the Live Linux environment to test the distribution, or install it permanently on the computer.
Custom works pretty much in the same way. The only difference to automatic is that you need to select a Linux ISO image that is already on the local device.
The program saves the ISO images to C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Bluskript\AutoBootDisk\Linux.iso with no option to change the path.
The developer of AutoBootDisk claims that the program is 1.5 times faster than UNetbootin, and that it supports automatic updates.
The interface is clean and easy to follow, but it does have a couple of issues. The window is quite large, and there is no option to resize it in any way. The program divides the process into multiple pages which makes things simpler as each page puts the focus on a single action. The downside to this is that you cannot configure all options quickly on a single page and be done with them.
AutoBootDisk is a handy cross-platform program to download Linux distributions and create bootable Linux USB drives. The application is easy to use, and supports more than 70 different Linux distros at the time of writing.
The application has a couple of usability issues: you cannot change the download path, and the interface is static and feels somewhat out of place with its huge buttons, lots of "whitespace" and tiny font (in comparison to the button size).
All of these can be addressed quite easily, however, and the underlying functionality is quite good.
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