How to Create a Windows 10 Install USB

How to Create a Windows 10 Install USB

/ Shayne Sherman

A Windows 10 installation USB drive is an essential tool for computer support. It can boot and repair a broken Windows installation or install a fresh version of Windows on a new computer. Follow our simple step-by-step guide to create a bootable USB drive from official Microsoft sources quickly.

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Choose a USB thumb drive or portable hard drive for the image. It must be at least 8 gigabytes to store all the information. It’s better to use a fast USB 3.0 drive for the copy; the faster the drive, the less time it will take to make and install. Note that the drive will be erased, so ensure that there’s nothing on it that you want to keep first.

Download the official Windows 10 Media Creation tool from Microsoft. Microsoft freely makes everything available to create a bootable Windows 10 USB drive. There’s no need to install software or get files from shady websites.

Go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Under Create Windows 10 installation media select Download tool now.

download media creation tool

Save the File somewhere the you can find later. This small program will download the rest of the files needed to create the USB drive. Note that this is being downloaded directly from Microsoft.

The file name might change; it’s updated for every significant Windows version. This example is MediaCreationTool1809.exe because it was created for the Windows 10 October Update.

save file media creation tool

Double-click the file to open it.

open media creation tool

Select Yes on the User Account Control that pops up.

allow user account control

Accept the license terms.

accept microsoft license

Select Create installation media and then Next.

create installation media

The default options are fine for most uses, so select Next. If you need a different language, uncheck Use the recommended options for this PC and change the language drop-down.

language time input selection

Leave the USB flash drive checked. It is also possible to create an ISO that you can burn to a DVD drive. Click Next.

select usb flash drive

Select the USB drive you want to use. Be careful to select the correct one, as everything on it will be erased. Click Next after.

select drives

Wait while the tool downloads the data from Microsoft. Depending on your internet speed, this large file may take some time to download. It will automatically format and partition the USB drive to boot off it.

progress screen downloading windows

After the process is complete, click Finish. It will delete the temporary files it downloaded and close.

usb flash drive is ready

Congratulations, the bootable Windows 10 USB is done. You can now boot into it to install a fresh copy of Windows 10.

usb drive status
Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert on all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. Aside from entertaining at his home theater, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie.