A bootable USB is a regular USB storage device (like a USB stick or external hard drive) that has an “ISO image” of an operating system saved on it.
When you think of a Windows installation source, the first thing that comes to mind is the disc medium. And many would stop there. What happens when your optical drive fails to work or you don’t have any – netbooks, for instance? An external optical drive can be the resolution to the problem, that’s for sure. But why not a USB flash drive? Yes, it is possible to make your USB stick your new source for installing Windows.
An ISO image is an archive file that contains all the information found on an optical disc, such as a CD or DVD. This could, for example, be a Windows installation CD.
Normally, whenever you start up your computer, it boots from the operating system stored on your internal hard drive. By running the bootable USB however, you can boot up your computer using the USB’s ISO image instead. The simple title of the software at hand – A Bootable USB – is not what interests the crowd in need for a 100% working, ready-to-install Windows flash drive. Just prep your Windows installation disc or the ISO image of it and let’s get started.
Step-by-step approach for A Bootable USB
The software takes a split-second to install and once you fire it up it will ask for the source of the Windows installation files. The interface will not strike you with colorful or over-the-top looks. It keeps things steady within a wizard case.
As soon as you successfully pass the first step of the wizard, you are required to select the USB drive you want to format in order to place the installation files on. It is recommended that you only keep the USB stick you intend to process connected to your PC during the usage of this program. This way both human mistakes as well as application errors are prevented. A Bootable USB requires a minimum 4GB USB drive and displays information about it such as name, capacity and free space.
Users are advised to back up their stored USB stick data before hitting the `Next` button, as the application will format it in the next step of the wizard. The program allows you to enter a label and attach `A Bootable USB icon` to the drive. These are the last operations required by the software prior to the process of formatting and transferring of Windows Installation files.
Fast, simple and efficient software
A Bootable USB gets the job done and it is only limited by the actual write speed of the given USB flash drive. It provides a few quick steps within its wizard-like interface and ease of use throughout its configuration. At the end of day, this is what an ingenious Windows-on-USB software brings to the table – seamless operation and good-to-go results with very little time consumed on your part.
The easy way to create a bootable USB drive for Windows 10
There’s always an “easy way” to do things on Windows using some kind of software. Creating a bootable USB drive is also pretty easy – here’s how to do it:
- Download Rufus from here
- Click and Open rufus.exe
- Once the user interface of the software opens up, plug-in your USB
- After that, look for the “Create a bootable USB drive option” and from the drop-down, select an ISO Image
- Then, click on the button next to the dropdown and select the Windows 10 ISO that you want to install
- Lastly, click on “Start” and wait for the software to create the bootable USB drive.
That’s pretty much it. You now have a bootable USB drive, just plug it in your device and make sure your BIOS is all setup and you should now be able to easily install Windows 10 using the bootable USB drive that you just created.
The hard way
If you don’t want to use any software, there’s another way of creating a bootable USB drive, but that’s a bit trickier. Here’s how to do it:
- First, make sure your USB drive is plugged in
- Search and open Command Prompt as an administrator
- Next, you’ll have to open the disk management utility using CMD (Command Prompt) – to do that, type in diskpart and hit enter
- After that, you will have to display the connected disks that are available – to do that, type in list disk and hit enter
- Then, you’ll need to select your USB drive – to do that, type select disk # and hit enter – you’ll have to replace the # with your disk number
- Next, you’ll have to clean the USB drive – to do that, type clean and hit enter
- Then you’ll need to create a bootable partition – type in create partition primary and hit enter
- You will now need to select the partition that you just created. To do that, type in select partition 1.
- After that, type active and hit enter
- Next, you’ll need to format the USB drive – just type in format fs=fat32 and hit enter
- You’ll now need to assign your USB drive a letter, to do that, just type in assign
- Lastly, copy all the Windows 10 files and paste it inside the USB drive. (You can copy the files by extracting an ISO or copy it from a Windows 10 disk).
That’s it! You have just manually created a Windows 10 bootable USB drive and it’s ready to install Windows 10 on your device.
Creating a bootable USB drive is pretty easy, to be honest. I’d recommend following the easy way of creating the bootable USB drive if you’re not an expert – however, if you’re an expert, just follow the hard way of creating the bootable USB drive and avoid using any type of software.
Use Microsoft’s media creation tool
Microsoft has a dedicated tool that you can use to download the Windows 10 system image (also referred to as ISO) and create your bootable USB drive.
1. Get started by going to this page and clicking on Download tool now.
2. Once the download finishes, double-click the file called MediaCreationToolxxxx to run it. (The last four digits of the file name indicate the version number of Windows 10. Right now, the filename is MediaCreationTool1909, but that will change as newer versions are released.) The file should be in your Downloads folder.
3. Accept Microsoft’s terms and conditions, select Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC, and click Next.
4. You’ll be asked to select the language, edition and architecture you want to use. By default, the tool will use the best options for the PC you’re creating the boot drive on. You can change any of the options by unchecking the box next to Use the recommended options for this PC and using the drop-down options. If you’re unsure about whether you need a 64-bit or a 32-bit architecture, select Both from the Architecture drop-down.
5. Click Next when you’ve adjusted the options, leave USB flash drive selected, and plug your USB drive into your computer. Select Next to continue.
6. Finally, select the USB drive from the list. If you have more than one drive connected to your computer and are unsure which one to pick, disconnect the extra drives. With the right drive selected, click Next.
Microsoft’s tool will take care of the rest from there. Go get a drink, take a walk or browse the internet while the tool does its job. Again, the process should take about 30 minutes, give or take, depending on your internet speed.
When the tool is done, click Finish and remove the USB drive from your computer. Going forward, if you need to install or reinstall Windows, you can connect the drive to your computer and reboot it. Your PC should boot to the drive, giving you the option to install Windows.
If that doesn’t happen, you’ll need to reboot your computer into its BIOS firmware — usually done by pressing Esc, F2, or a similar key while the computer is starting up — and change the boot drive or “bootmenu” to your flash drive. The process for each computer (or motherboard if you’re building a gaming PC) will be different. I suggest consulting your manual for instructions.
- Procedure is explained well
- Formats and prepares the USB memory stick
- Two input devices
- Some errors when formatting the pen drive
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