How to write images using SUSE ImageWriter in Windows

This is probably the easiest way to write RAW/ISO images to a USB Flash Drive for creating live USB or installation drives – at least on Linux.

SUSE ImageWriter
The GUI version of the software is quite handy for Windows users – with some caveats.

In Windows, however you may run into a few problems. First off, the ISO format is not supported in the Windows version. You need to be using RAW format. If you are lucky, simply renaming the ISO to .raw format might work. 

Download ImageWriter for Windows

Here is a direct link to the Windows version.

Usage instructions

You will need to run this as Administrator for things to work properly.

The most common problem I’ve encountered with SUSE’s ImageWriter is that if you have a Windows (FAT32) partition on the target drive, you may encounter a semi-cryptic fatal error like: ‘system.componentModel.Win32Exception:Access is denied’

No problem, just delete all partitions on the drive using the Disk Management Snap-in (compmgmt.msc), right click on the partition and Delete. Try again and you should have Success!

The following images can provide more detailed steps for resolving the issue:


To recap, the workaround steps to use ImageWriter on Windows without errors are:

  1. Run ImageWriter as administrator
  2. Delete all partitions from media you will be writing to
  3. Select .RAW file to be written as well as destination device
  4. Click copy, wait for writing to disk to complete, and you are done!
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4 thoughts on “How to write images using SUSE ImageWriter in Windows”

  1. Hi,

    I wrote the Imagewriter, and I’ve had several long-standing bugs that look exactly like what you found a workaround for. I’ve always assumed that it was a change in the security model between Vista and Windows 7 (all of the bug reports are from people running 7, which I don’t have access to), but this workaround wouldn’t make much sense if that were the case. Is Windows 7 the version that you ran into trouble on?


    1. Hi Matt,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Yes, this was performed on Windows 7 (64-bit). Since it is an access denied issue when a partition is present, I would agree that the root cause could be due to a security change between Vista and 7. Perhaps when the partition is present, your software does not have the appropriate permission to remove the partition or write to a drive containing a partition (i.e. it may need system account Run as permission). Just my thoughts based on my experience.

      Your Imagewriter tool is invaluable for me as a system administrator, hopefully you are able to work out the bugs. If not, I don’t really mind having to remove partitions from the drive manually…

      Thanks again,

  2. For me the “Delete volume” option was greyed out for my USB key in compmgmt.msc.

    To delete all partition I used `diskpart` in a cmd :

    disk list
    select disk

    After you have to initialize the disk in Computer Managment and choose “Do not format the drive”.
    Hope Matt can solve those pesky bugs in ImageWriter as it is the best solution to make a bootable drive for OpenSuse right now.

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