Unetbootin is a wonderful piece of software. It will create a bootable USB drive of your favorite Linux flavor.
Well, most of the time.
CentOS is a special case. The files needed for CentOS* reside on mirrors and not the support website. So, Unetbootin cannot reach them. Obviously there are ways around this. The most obvious is to download the files from the mirror, but let us forget about planning and forethought, shall we?
Step one, download Unetbootin.
Step two, open it.
Select the desired flavor of Linux. Note: If you do not choose CentOS this is the wrong guide for you. Be 100% sure about your drive letter. This step can cause all sorts of file deletion and badness.
Now wait for the OS to download. There are no files on the CentOS website, so this will not take long.
The last step is to reboot. I would recommend against using your one and only computer for this. Take the USB drive to a different computer and boot that one.
The installer is very user friendly, so I will skip everything up to the ftp address. The installer requires two pieces of information: the ftp site name and the Red Hat Directory. The example of this data is from the University of Chicago.**
FTP site name: bay.uchicago.edu/centos/
The Red Hat Directory: /5/os/i386/
Select ok and watch the magic happen!
* CentOS does have the option for a live disc, however I have not found a way to install using those files. To be honest, I didn’t try very hard.
**The FTP site listed has CentOS 2-6. Choose wisely.