Create a bootable Windows 10 USB drive

Windows 10 comes as a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users if done within a year of Windows 10 release. If you want to buy Windows 10, you can go for the digital download, DVD, or USB drive. The bootable USB drives are better than the DVDs as they are much smaller, offer much better read and write speeds, are compatible with almost any computer with a USB port especially the newer ultrabooks and hybrid laptops which lack an optical drive as they are very slim. Also, DVDs can easily be damaged as compared to USB drives. In this post, I’ll show you how you can make your own Windows 10 bootable media (USB drive).

Create a bootable Windows 10 USB drive

Firstly you’ll need an ISO file of Windows 10 to begin, if you don’t have one, download it. For more on that, read our Article: Download Windows 10 ISO.

Assuming you have the ISO file, you can make your own Windows 10 bootable USB drive using many tools. In this post, I am going to use a free tool, Rufus. Rufus doesn’t require a setup and is very small in size and you can download the same from here. Also, I prefer Rufus as it’s extremely simple to use and can also create a bootable UEFI drive. Before starting, make sure that you have a USB drive of at least 4GB capacity for the process.

Assuming that you have all the three things (the ISO, Rufus, and a USB drive of sufficient capacity), let’s begin. Before that, backup the data on the USB drive as it’ll be formatted in the process.

  1. Open Rufus and select your USB drive from the Device drop-down list.
  2. You can leave the Partition scheme as is.
  3. Choose a file system from the File system drop-down list. You can choose any, NTFS, exFAT, FAT 32 being the most used.
  4. You can leave the Cluster Size to default.
  5. Now under Format Options, tick the last 3 as shown in the image (these are selected by default). You can also tick the Check device for bad blocks if you want to be extra careful but it’ll take a lot of time. I didn’t tick that all was fine.
  6. Now choose ISO Image in the drop-down menu next to Create a bootable disk using option. and click on the tiny icon next to it to browse for the ISO file and select it.
  7. Now just hit Start and it’ll begin the process. Keep in mind that you’ll loose any and everything on the selected USB drive, so remember to backup the data first.Rufus

The whole process is pretty quick, it all completed within 5 minutes for me. After this is done, you can use that USB drive to install Windows 10 on any computer. You can also use this drive to upgrade a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 computer by accessing the USB drive in Windows and running the Setup. You can do the same using the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool, but I find Rufus to be much faster. Also, you can use this to make bootable USB of any other Windows version or Linux distro from their ISO files.


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