Windows 10 was launched in 2015. A bootable Windows 10 flash drive is just the vehicle you need if you haven’t upgraded or you want to install the latest version of Windows on another machine.
The USB drive will help you install a fresh copy of the OS (without being connected to the web if you have the Windows ISO file).
It is also an emergency repair utility to have around if your installation runs into a crash and you need to set up Windows from scratch. A clean install is always better than papering it with an in-place upgrade.
A bootable flash drive with the latest version of Windows is the simplest device to carry around in your pocket. It is also less damage prone than a DVD.
You can make your own bootable USB drive with the Windows 10 ISO file a series of commands from the Command prompt. But why bother when there are several easier alternatives available.
Use the Official Windows Media Creation Tool
You can easily create a bootable Windows 10 USB drive thanks to a handy official tool from Microsoft itself. The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool is easy enough to install and use for even the technologically challenged. Microsoft provides the steps to create the installation media, but these screenshots should make it easier for you.
1) Open the Windows 10 Download page. Go to the Create Windows 10 installation media section and click the Download tool now button.
2) Click on the downloaded software. Allow the User Account Control to run the tool. It will take a few seconds to prepare the Windows 10 Setup screen. Accept the license and move on to the next screen. Choose the
Create installation media option and then click the Next button.
3. Select the relevant language and Windows 10 version you have the license for from the selection field. Also, select either the 32-bit or 64-bit variant of Windows. Select your desired choices and click Next.
4. Insert an empty USB flash drive into a free USB port on the computer. The Media Creation tool will detect the USB drive and prompt you if it is not there. Make sure the drive is formatted correctly and has at least 8GB of available storage space as recommended by Microsoft.
5. Select USB Flash Drive and click the Next button.
6. The tool will then download the relevant Windows 10 files and create a USB bootable version of the operating system. Select the Finish button when the process ends.
This bootable drive can now be used to create a fresh install of Windows 10 on any machine.
Remember: The Media Creation Tool lets you create Bootable USB Windows 10 Drive for the Official general release Windows 10 Build only and not the Insider Previews. For the latter you will have to head to the section below and the excellent third-party freeware.
Use Rufus – The Best Bootable Drive Installation Utility for Windows
The Windows Media Creation Tool does both jobs simultaneously. It downloads the right version of Windows 10 and creates the bootable flash drive in one go. But what should you do if you have already downloaded the Windows 10 ISO and then need to create a bootable Flash drive from that back-up?
Take the help of Rufus. Rufus also allows you to create bootable installation mediums for Insider Preview builds.
I am assuming you have already downloaded the Windows 10 ISO. Plug in your pen drive to the PC. Ideally, the Windows 10 32-bit version will need a minimum of 4GB and the Windows 10 64-bit version will need 8GB.
Now, we need to just download and run Rufus to create the bootable drive. So, download the executable and run it – no installation is necessary. Rufus will prompt you to check for any updates to the software online; skip this if you have downloaded the latest version.
Configure Rufus to handle the installation. The settings are common to both 32-Bit and 64-Bit Windows 10 ISO files.
Device: Choose the bootable device you would like to install to.
Boot selection: Select the disk or ISO image option and then click the Select button and navigate to the location of the ISO file on your computer. This defaults the utility to create a bootable installation.
Partition scheme and Target system: MBR partition scheme for BIOS or UEFI-CSM
Volume label: Any name for the bootable installation. For e.g. Windows 10 64-bit ISO
File system: NTFS
Cluster size: Default value is 4096 bytes
Show advanced format options:
• Select Quick format as it works in most cases.
• Select Create extended label and icon files.
• Select Check device for bad blocks to test the integrity of the Flash Drive. If you are sure that the drive is okay, then leave this unchecked as the test can slow down the installation.
Press Start and Rufus will go to work. It takes less than 10 minutes for the whole installation to finish.
Rufus is trouble-free. But if you face any installation issues then head to this GitHub support page for common troubleshooting tips.
Keep a Windows 10 Bootable Flash Drive Nearby
Thanks to the fade out of bulky DVD drives, portable USB drives are the preferred medium. You can see for yourself that making a quick bootable flash drive is quicker than burning the bootable ISO to a DVD. Also, Rufus and the Windows Media Creation tool aren’t the only two utilities available. Here’s a short list of freeware you can look into:
2. Universal USB Installer
3. YUMI – Your Universal Multiboot Installer
In the end, do remember that if you do a clean install you will need the original Windows license key. Key that in after the installation and you are good to go.
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