"2. I have 2 programs that will make my flash drive bootable (since it won't normally show up on my machine). These are :
unetbootin
Universal USB Installer"

This is never needed. Today's modern distros boot from CD and offer to install to USB so you don't have to touch your hard disk or use unetbootin or such tools.

Maybe there is more to this story but as given you are working too hard. Just try the dozen Linux bootable LIVE CDs and see which you like. Then use their supplied menus to install to your USB drive.
Bob