In the technology world, we have a history of cannibalisms where one technology eats another. While the statement sounds negative, in the context of ease and improvements, it is effective. Here, I am talking about the optical discs (CD/DVD ROMs).
For almost over two decades, the format has been a de facto standard for storing our digital content, including movies, games, and software. However, it is dying now especially on PCs. Gone are the days when we used to show off those shiny DVD-Rs of Operating Systems and other Office productivity tools. Nowadays, you rarely see new PCs come with an optical drive, thanks to USB storage devices. And why not! compared to optical discs, USB storage devices are faster, more convenient, safer and lesser prone to damage.
In this modern era, almost all desktop operating system installers are flash drive ready, including various Linux distributions, Windows 7 and later, and macOS.
In this article, I will cover all the possible ways to create a bootable Windows 10 USB flash drive for both BIOS/MBR and UEFI/GPT-based computers.
Disclaimer: No USB storage devices were harmed in the writing of this blogpost. 🙂
To get started, make sure you have:
- A computer running Windows 7 or later with an internet connection
- A blank USB flash drive (at least 8 GB)
Using Microsoft’s Windows 10 Media Creation Tool – For Beginners
- Plug a USB flash drive into your computer’s USB port.
- Download Microsoft’s Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and Run it. The current logged in user account must be an administrator to run this tool.
- Read the license terms and click Accept if you agree with.
- On the What do you want to do? page, select Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC and then click Next.
- On the Select language, architecture, and edition page, uncheck Use the recommended options for this PC to enable greyed out options, which give a plethora of choices to select language, edition, and architecture of Windows 10. Choose them accordingly and click Next.
- On the next page, choose USB flash drive to create bootable installation USB media and click Next. You can also choose ISO file and save a Windows 10 Disc Image that can be used to create bootable pen drive or DVD later.
- Now select your attached USB drive from the drives list and click Next to start downloading Windows 10 Setup files. Once the downloading is finished – that solely depends on your internet connection speed – the tool will start formatting the removable drive automatically and create a bootable Windows 10 USB stick.
Using Disk Management tool – For Intermediates
- Attach a blank USB flash drive to your PC.
- Open Disk Management tool, (In the search box on the taskbar or Run dialog box, type
diskmgmt.mscand press Enter to launch it).
- On Disk Management window, right click on the plugged pen drive and choose Format….
- Click Yes when prompted to confirm and then the Format window pops Choose FAT32 file system (and keep rest of the options as they are) and click OK to format it.
I recommend formatting the USB flash drive as FAT32 rather than as NTFS because FAT32 file system supports both BIOS and UEFI.
- Once it’s done, make sure the partition is marked as active. If it’s not, right click on the partition again and select Mark Partition as Active.
- Now download Windows 10 Disk Image (ISO file) and then extract or copy all setup files to the USB flash drive.
Using DISKPART – For Experts
- Insert a USB flash drive into the computer.
- Open Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt as Administrator and run:
- First, determine the USB flash drive number, so type
list diskon the DISKPART prompt, and then press Enter. The command displays a list of disks on the computer. Note the disk number of the targeted USB flash drive. Warning: Be certain about the disk number because all data of the selected disk will be destroyed.
- At the DISKPART prompt, type
select disk <x>, where x is the disk number and press Enter.
- After selecting the disk, type
clean, and press Enter to remove all partitions from the USB flash drive.
- To create a new primary partition on the USB flash drive, type
create partition primaryor
create part pri, and then press Enter.
select part 1and press Enter to select the partition that you just created, and then type
format fs=fat32 quickto perform quick formatting the partition in FAT32 file system.
activeto mark the partition as active and press Enter, followed by
exitcommand to return to the previous prompt.
- Now download Windows 10 Disk Image (ISO file) and then extract or copy all files to the root of the USB flash drive. If you already have Windows 10 installation files, you can copy them using the following command:
xcopy C:\Users/Ramesh/Downloads/W10 E:\ /sand your bootable Windows 10 USB stick is ready to roll.
Have you got any questions you’d like us to answer? If so, let us know in the comments.