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Windows 10 Install on bootable USB

With the performance and capacity benefits achievable with USB drives, Microsoft now sells Windows 10 installation media on USB drives. You can also download the Windows 10 image, so that you can either upgrade your current Windows system or create your own bootable USB flash drive containing the Windows 10 installation media to install Windows 10 on another PC.

Install on bootable USB, using the Media Creation Tool

You saw earlier that Microsoft provides a downloadable Media Creation Tool (MCT), which enables you to generate a ready-to-use Windows 10 bootable USB flash drive. The MCT can't be used with the Windows Enterprise edition client. One advantage of using the MCT Wizard is that it downloads the required Windows 10 edition and architecture based on your selections and copies this directly to your USB drive.

To create a bootable USB, using the MCT so that you can perform a clean installation of Windows 10, use these steps.

  1. Download the MCT at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=691209.
  2. Run the Media Creation Tool.
  3. Select Create Installation Media For Another PC.
  4. Select the language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) for Windows 10 and click Next.
  5. On the Choose Which Media To Use page, select USB Flash Drive and click Next.
  6. On the Select A USB Flash Drive page, select your removable drive and click Next.
  7. After the MCT has downloaded Windows 10 and copied it to your removable drive, click Finish.
    The USB flash drive can now be used to install Windows 10.

Manually create a Windows 10 bootable USB

If you already have downloaded the correct edition of Windows 10 or you have other installation media, such as a DVD containing Windows 10, you can manually create a bootable USB. Insert the installation media or mount the Windows 10 ISO before performing this task.

You can manually create a bootable USB that can be used with any edition of Windows by preparing a USB removable drive, using the following steps.

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin); accept the UAC prompt.
  2. Insert the USB drive that you want to make a bootable Windows 10 installation USB.
  3. Type diskpart and press Enter to launch the DiskPart command-line utility.
  4. Type listdisk to display the list of storage drives.
  5. Identify the disk number of the USB drive that you are using; you should be able to find it by looking at the Size column.
  6. Type select disk X to select the USB drive, where X is the disk number of your USB drive.
  7. Type clean to erase the USB drive.
  8. Type create partition primary to create a primary partition on the USB drive.
  9. Type select partition 1 to select the newly created partition.
  10. Type active to make the partition active.
  11. Type format fs=ntfs quick to format the partition.
  12. Type assign to instruct Windows to allocate a drive letter to the USB drive.
  13. Type exit to leave Diskpart.
  14. You can use the built in command line tool Xcopy to copy the contents of your mounted Windows 10 ISO or DVD to the USB drive by typing xcopy g:*.* /s/e/f h: and pressing Enter. You must change the drive letters to match your source files location (G) and removable drive (H).
Note: UEFI
If your system supports UEFI, format the USB flash drive as FAT32 rather than as NTFS. To format the partition as FAT32, type format fs=fat32 quick and then press Enter.