Booting Windows 10 from a USB stick is a common task and can be surprisingly easy to do from creating the media to correctly booting the media through to the installation process. In no time at all, you can have a fresh new version of Windows installed on your PC or laptop. In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about how to Install Windows from a USB Flash Drive from creating a bootable Windows 10 USB drive through to installing a fresh copy of Windows 10.
Why boot a install Windows from USB flash drive?
Most PCs or laptops on the market now may not come with an optical drive but will always include multiple USB ports so a bootable USB stick is the best solution. A USB stick is portable, and you can guarantee it is compatible with every desktop and laptop computer. It’s also quicker to install from USB. A USB drive can be made bootable faster than an optical drive can; it also installs the operating system quicker.
Step 1 – Format the drive and set the primary partition as active
To install Windows 10 from a USB stick, you need a device with at least 8GB of storage. Before proceeding, ensure that your USB flash drive has been formatted
- Connect the USB flash drive to your technician PC.
- Open Disk Management: Right-click on Start and choose Disk Management.
- Format the partition: Right-click the USB drive partition and choose Format. Select the FAT32 file system to be able to boot either BIOS-based or UEFI-based PCs.
- Set the partition as active: Right-click the USB drive partition and click Mark Partition as Active. NoteIf Mark Partition as Active isn’t available, you can instead use diskpart to select the partition and mark it active.
Step 2 – Copy Windows setup to the USB flash drive
There are several methods create media that contains the Windows 10 installation files. The easiest way to do this is to use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. To grab this, head to the Microsoft Download Windows 10 page and click Download tool now.
Save the tool to your computer. It’s around 20MB in size, so shouldn’t take too long on a fast connection. Once downloaded, launch the media creation tool and click Accept when prompted.
You’ll be presented with two options. Select Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC and click Next.
Set your preferred Language, Windows 10 Edition, and system Architecture. Note that if these settings cannot be changed, you should clear the checkbox labeled Use the recommended options for this PC.
Choose USB flash drive, then Next, and select the USB drive from the list. Click Next once more to prompt the downloading of your Windows 10 installation files.
Wait while the bootable USB Windows 10 installer is created. This may take some time depending on your internet speed. Several gigabytes of data will be installed, so ensure you have enough data allowance and download speed to continue.
Step 3 – Installing Windows 10 with a bootable USB drive
With the installation media created, you’ll be able to install Windows 10. The USB drive is now bootable, so all you need to do is safely remove it from your PC, then insert it into the target device.
- Connect the USB flash drive to a new PC.
- Turn on the PC and press the key that opens the boot-device selection menu for the computer, such as the Esc/F10/F12 keys. Select the option that boots the PC from the USB flash drive.Windows Setup starts. Follow the instructions to install Windows.
- Remove the USB flash drive.
Once you’ve worked through the wizard, Windows 10 will be installed. Note that some installation may continue after you log in, so be patient. It’s also worth checking for Windows Updates (Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update) after installation to ensure everything is up to date.