How to make a USB boot drive for Windows 10

If you have a valid Windows 10 license, you can easily create a USB boot drive. This is useful when your PC no longer wants to start up and you don't have a CD/DVD player in your device. Here we show how you can create a Windows 10 USB boot disk with a USB stick using a tool from Microsoft itself, the Media Creation Tool.

Since fewer and fewer devices include an optical drive, it's useful to have a startup disk on a USB stick in case you need to reinstall Windows. Windows 10 is for sale on a USB stick, a medium that was not offered with previous Windows versions. But you can also choose to make a bootable USB drive yourself. Here we show how.

It is also possible to run this process manually using the Command Prompt. We'll explain that to you later in this article.

What do you need?

You will of course need a USB stick for this. It should have at least 4 gigabytes of storage capacity, but it is useful to use a larger drive. In addition, you should have about 6 to 12 gigabytes of free space on your hard drive (depending on the options you select) and a good internet connection.

Using the Media Creation Tool

Microsoft itself offers a tool with which you can create a startup disk, equipped with the latest October 2018 update of Windows 10. The so-called Media Creation Tool can be downloaded here. Click the button on the site Download utility to download the tool.

To check which version you have, right click on the start button and System Selecting. You will then see all kinds of information about your system. below System type you can see if your Windows 10 version is 32-bit or 64-bit.

Once you've loaded the tool, you can choose to upgrade your PC now, or create installation media for another PC. Choose this last option and click on Next one.

Next, you need to select the desired language, edition, and architecture. If you want to upgrade instead of doing a clean install, this data should match your current Windows installation. You can find all this information about your own PC in System as described above.

The tool will then check if there is enough free space on your hard drive to complete the process. If not, you'll have to free up space and start over.

Create a bootable USB stick

In the next screen you have to indicate whether you want to create a USB stick or an ISO file. Choose USB stick here. Plug the USB stick into your PC and click Next one.

Now choose your USB stick from the list of removable storage media and click Next one. Note: the USB stick will be completely erased, so make a backup to your hard drive first if there are important files on it. When you are ready to format the USB stick, click again Next one.

Windows 10 will now be downloaded and put on the USB stick so that you can boot from the USB stick. However, you can also simply start the installation from the USB stick from Windows itself.

Using Command Prompt

You can transfer the downloaded or created ISO file to a USB stick using Command Prompt. Click the start button, type command prompt and right click on the search result. Choose to load the program as administrator.

In the window of ., type Command Prompt the command disk part, and press Enter. Plug your USB stick into the PC, type list disk and press Enter. Try to find out in the list which item your USB stick is based on its size.

type select disk followed by the number associated with your USB stick. Press Enter. Now want all the data from the USB stick by typing clean, and press Enter.

make bootable

Once the USB drive has been completely erased, make sure the drive is bootable. You can do this by typing the following commands, each followed by a press of Enter.

create partition primary

select partition 1


format fs=fat32

The USB stick will now be quickly erased to Fat32 format. This may take a while, depending on the size of your USB stick.

When the process is complete, type the command assign and press Enter. A letter will now be assigned to your USB stick. Remember this letter.

Transfer files

You can now mount the ISO file you created or downloaded and transfer it to the USB stick with Command Prompt. However, it is easier to use File Explorer for this. You then only have to extract the ISO file and put its contents on the USB stick in Windows Explorer.

If you prefer to continue using Command Prompt, close diskpart first, close Command Prompt and mount the ISO file. Open Command Prompt again and type:

xcopy g:*.* /s/e/f h:

This is what you need g enter the letter associated with your mounted ISO file, and for h the letter assigned to your USB stick.

The process may take a while to complete because there are large files in between. When everything is ready, type the command exit and Keith is done.

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