Plug your USB stick into your PC. Visit the Microsoft Windows 10 Download page. Scroll down to the “Create Windows 10 Installation Media” section of the page and click the Download tool now link to download the executable file on your laptop. Run the MediaCreationToolxxxx.exe by double clicking on it.
Not too many years ago, before the USB stick came along, if you wanted to clean install Windows, it had to be done using the CD or DVD and an optical drive. Thankfully, things have moved on and users with a sufficient amount of knowhow have been able to get their copy of Windows onto a USB flash drive and install from it for a little while now. With the introduction of Windows 8 you can now even choose to install it using a USB flash drive from within the Microsoft Upgrade Assistant.
Installing Windows from USB has some advantages such as not having to worry about scratching or damaging the Windows installation disc, and it’s more convenient to carry around a tiny USB flash drive than optical media. They are also a necessity for netbooks, small laptops and the increasing amount smaller form factor PC’s that no longer use ROM drives. And to add to that, a reasonable speed USB stick can complete a Windows install a good bit quicker than an optical drive thanks to the much faster access times.
Here we list 10 ways to enable you to get your Windows install files onto USB flash drive taking advantage of the benefits it has to offer. For ease of use, we have listed which versions of Windows are supported for putting onto USB according to each tool’s author. The tools themselves should run on Windows XP to Windows 8. Make sure you have at least a 4GB USB flash drive to hand before trying to perform a Windows to USB, portable versions of the software were used where possible. If you don’t have one, you can directly download a Windows 7 ISO from Microsoft’s Official Distributer.1. WinToFlash
USB install support for: Windows XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, 7 and 8.
The WinToFlash utility has quite a lot of options and support for installing from XP right up to windows 8 using a USB flash drive. In addition to Windows, there are also some other related functions such as creating an XP/2003 recovery console and error checking. The program has 2 different modes which can be used depending on your experience level, a Wizard mode which offers to get you going in a few easy steps, or an Advanced mode which gives a wealth of options and more control over the whole process. The program requires you select a drive or folder as the source, not an ISO image. Sadly the setup installer includes the BetterInstaller adware and even the portable version contains adware on 1st run and also uses inline ads.
USB install support for: Windows Vista, 2008, 7 and 8.
WiNToBootic is designed solely to be a small and completely portable standalone executable that can get the Windows Vista, 7 and 8 install files onto USB flash drive with the minimum of fuss. A useful feature not immediately apparent is you can click on the source arrow to locate an ISO file to be converted, or you can alternatively drag and drop an ISO, a folder containing the Windows files or even an install CD/DVD from My Computer. Simply make sure your USB drive is selected if not already, choose whether to format or not and press the Do it! button.
WiNToBootic is one of the quicker programs at completing the process and also one of the easiest to use. The .NET Framework v2.0 is required.
USB install support for: Windows XP SP2+, 2003, Vista, 7 and 8.
We’re quite big fans of Rufus because apart from being a great little tool to format USB drives and also check them for errors and bad blocks, there is also direct USB support to install MS-DOS and FreeDOS which is good for BIOS flashing, various Linux images and you can install Windows from XP SP2 up to 8. Rufus is also very reliable and one of the fastest tools around at getting the Windows install files onto the USB drive while still being easy to use. Simply click on the select ISO icon and find your Windows ISO image, then click Start and wait for the process to complete. Nothing else needs to be touched as the program will select the best file system and name for you. Rufus is a completely portable executable and is less than 500KB.
4. WinUSB Maker
USB install support for: Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003/2008, 7 and 8.
Josh Cell Softwares make some other nice tools such as Advanced Tokens Manager and WinAIO Maker, while WinUSB Maker is a smart tool that can install just about any version of the Windows install CD/DVD from XP to 8 onto USB. It can also install a Linux Grub loader or MS-DOS if you wish, and includes a nice addition of a full USB backup and restore function to make a copy of the flash drive before putting Windows onto it. Another thing some users might find useful is the ability to work with and install using either an ISO image file or a directory with the extracted files if you have been slipstreaming or editing the Windows distro. WinUSB Maker is a standalone executable and requires the .NET Framework v4.0 to run.
Download WinUSB Maker
5. Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool
USB install support for: Officially Windows 7, also worked for us with Vista / 8.
This is Microsoft’s official tool for putting the Windows 7 setup onto a USB stick and has a disadvantage over most other tools of this type by requiring installation before creating an install USB drive. Microsoft says it only supports Windows 7 ISO images, but we also successfully booted and installed both Vista and Win 8 from USB using this tool. The program is a breeze to use and can easily put the image onto USB or burn it out to DVD if you want. Just follow the 4 easy steps and the Windows install USB will be created, although the speed at which the program creates the USB is known to be a bit slower than most other USB installer tools. Requires the .NET Framework v2.0 or higher.
Download Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool
We have another 5 tools to put the Windows install files onto USB on page 2.12Next › View All
3 Ways to Install and Run Kaspersky Rescue Disk from USB Flash Drive5 Tools to Easily Install FreeDOS or MS-DOS onto USB for BIOS Flashing4 Tools to Update Windows Offline and install Hotfixes from a Local SourceWindows Requires Administrator Rights to Install USB Flash Drives5 Tools to Integrate Multiple Antivirus Rescue Disk into One Single USB Flash Drive
You might also like: 35 Comments - Write a Comment
is there any software that can choose the 32bit win with 64bit version without adReply
Hi All, Greets, My first choice is also RUFUS , ( although it can’t create multiboot drives and formats/ deletes everything else on the pen drive ! ) I think the most important setting/thing to know/choose about it, is selection of a partition scheme out of three : 1. BIOS + MBR or 2. UEFI + MBR : or 3. UEFI + GPT. ( System requirements : XP & above AND Support for XP & above installations ) Thanks & RegardsReply
Id like to use rufus. its easy use.Reply
But once you use rufus all those become a waste of time and effort
Its steps are easy for even novices
Thank you so much for this post! I just used Rufus to install Win Xp from a flash drive, and it worked like a charm. It’s as fast and easy as stated, and it saved me a lot of time. It’s a great program indeed! I wasted some major time following the directions of some others; and it just didn’t work. Many thanks again!!!Reply
Hi, I used the YUMI to make my usb flash drive bootable and in him I have a linux SO, the Kaspersky Recover Disk, etc installed in the usb flash drive.
If I copy all files from Win7 DVD to root folder of flash drive, it will work?
Having just the files in the flash drive won’t work because the Windows setup boot loader must be present in the flash drive’s MBR.Reply
Thanks for answer.
I used the ImgBurn to make a ISO of Win7DVDx64, but when I used the YUMI to make my usb flash drive bootable with the Win7, don’t worked. A only file README.txt are copied to the flash drive, with this text: “This disc contains a “UDF” file system and requires an operating system that supports the ISO-13346 “UDF” file system specification.”
Why? What wrong I’m do?Reply
method 10, BOOTSECT.EXE operation needed?tqReply
You don’t need the Bootsect argument at all if you’re using Vista/7/8 to put Vista/7/8 install files onto USB, that’s why it’s noted in the article the listed method is for those operating systems only.
When Windows formats a USB drive it will install the correct bootsector for that Windows version already; Vista/7/8 will install nt60, XP will install nt52. The Bootsect.exe command only becomes useful if you’re on XP and trying to create a Vista/7/8 bootable USB or vice versa. But then you run into problems of needing extra discs and not being able to create a 64-bit USB from a 32-bit Windows etc…
In short, the “bootsect /nt60 [drive]” command is pointless when XP isn’t involved.Reply
Thanks for this. It is really helpful. I have installed Windows 7 Ultimate on a Toshiba NB 305 :)Reply
hai thanks dudeReply
Thanks Raymond.as always you are the best.Reply
Excellent info – saved me as most of my systems refuse to boot from the Win7 DVD though they can boot the Vista DVD. Need to boot from the installation DVD since I’d like to wipe the HDs (non-upgrade install) as part of the install. Your manual way with Win7’s DiskPart I’d not seen previously – nice and easily done (fast too). I was working with the older HP USB Formater utility – to make a boot USB but its formating was taking 2x as long. Found your post during its formating, started a second USB drive with your method – its done and the files are copied – HP Formater is still chugging along…… Thanks Again!Reply
I just tried this and it worked 100%. You are a life saver man, I had wasted a lot of DVDs trying to burn windows 7, and I could never get them to work properly. I give this post 5 stars. Good work!!!Reply
U THE MAN, works like a charm!Reply
Wow nice to see the trick, really awesome….i will tryReply
a good tutorial …. great share man!!Reply
thanks man , worked a treat!Reply
This tutorial is great!Reply
just what i needed, thanks ray :DReply
This is really good to those who have windows 7 copy, does this works also on all windows vista.Reply
Great Job Raymond …[:D]
You did great job every time
Thanks for Such great tips …[:)]
I think using the Ultra ISO Premium is more ‘automatic’
The Steps are:
1) Download the free UltraISO trial-ezbsystems.com/ultraiso/download.htm
2) Start UltraISO as administrator (if Vista)
3) “Burn” the iso image to the USB stick by following these steps
– Open the image of Vista/Win7 with UltraISO
– Under BOOTABLE tab choose WRITE DISK IMAGE
– Choose your USB stick under “Disk Drive”
– Choose a method (It’s recommended to use USB-HDD+)
– Press Write
– Make sure to change your BOOT order in BIOS to boot from your USB drive first
THAT IS ALL!!!Reply
i prefer UnetBootin… easier :) just few clicks and you are done flashing the ISO to the flash drive…Reply
This is a good article indeed.
Indeed another spoiler right before Microsoft release this as their official move.
A very good source from CNET once told that Microsoft is planning to sell Windows7 on USB for the benefit of NetBook users.
Installing Windows 10 Using UsbReply
the first method is the best i tried of my 4gb usb installed windows rtm 7600 of it installed so fast!!!! really cool recommend step 1 which is for experienced users onlyReply
Yet again, one of the best tips and utilities I have come across and lately most seem to be showing up here….RAY you are the man!!!!…. :o)Reply
thanks ray.it’s actually working for me,so thanks and keep up the good work.Reply
Install Windows Through UsbReply
i think the manual method will works for all windows~Reply
Thanks Ray that is a good article.Reply
great guide ray.i think it also can boot winxp and vista too
Leave a Reply
Most new PCs don't come with DVD drives anymore. So it can be a pain to install Windows on a new computer.
Luckily, Microsoft makes a tool that you can use to install Windows from a USB storage drive (or 'thumbdrive' as they are often called).
But what if you don't have a second PC for setting up that USB storage drive in the first place?
In this tutorial we'll show you how you can set this up from a Mac.
You can download the ISO file straight from Windows. That's right - everything we're going to do here is 100% legal and sanctioned by Microsoft.
If you want an English-language version of the latest update of Windows 10, you can download the ISO here.
If you have a relatively new computer, you probably want the 64-bit version. If you're not sure, go with the 32-bit version to be safe.
If you want a non-English-language version of Windows, or want to get an older update version, download the ISO here instead.
The ISO file is only about 5 gigabytes, but I recommend you use a USB drive with at least 16 gigabytes of space just in case Windows needs more space during the installation process.
I bought a 32 gigabyte USB drive at Walmart for only $3, so this shouldn't be very expensive.
Stick your USB drive into your Mac. Then open your terminal. You can do this using MacOS Spotlight by pressing both the ⌘ and Space bar at the same time, then typing 'terminal' and hitting enter.
Don't be intimidated by the command line interface. I'm going to tell you exactly which commands to enter.
Open Mac Spotlight using the ⌘ + space keyboard shortcut. Then type the word 'terminal' and select Terminal from the dropdown list.
Paste the following command into your terminal and hit enter:
You will see output like this (note - your Mac's terminal may be black text on a white background if you haven't customized it).
Copy the text I point to here. It will probably be something like
Next format your USB drive to Windows FAT32 format. This is a format that Windows 10 will recognize.
Note that you should replace the
disk2 with the name of the your drive from step 3 if it wasn't
disk2. (It may be
Run this command using the correct disk number for your USB:
diskutil eraseDisk MS-DOS 'WIN10' GPT /dev/disk2
Then you'll see terminal output like this.
This will probably only take about 20 seconds on a newer computer, but may take longer on an older computer.
Note that for some hardware, you may instead need to run this command, which uses the MBR format for partitioning instead of GPT. Come back and try this command if step 7 fails, then redo steps 5, 6, and 7:
Now we're going to prep our downloaded ISO file so we can copy it over to our USB drive.
You will need to check where your downloaded Windows 10 ISO file is and use that. But your file is probably located in your
~/Downloads folder with a name of
hdiutil mount ~/Downloads/Win10_1903_V1_English_x64.iso
Update April 2020: One of the files in the Windows 10 ISO – install.wim – is now too large to copy over to a FAT-32 formatted USB drive. So I'll show you how to copy it over separately.
Thank you to @alexlubbock for coming up with this workaround.
First run this command to copy over everything but that file:
rsync -vha --exclude=sources/install.wim /Volumes/CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9/* /Volumes/WIN10
Then run this command to install Homebrew (if you don't have it installed on your Mac yet):
/usr/bin/ruby -e '$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)'
Then use Homebrew to install a tool called wimlib with this terminal command:
brew install wimlib
Then go ahead and create the directory that you're going to write the files into:
Then run this command. Note that this process may take several hours, you may see 0% progress until it finishes. Don't abort it. It will use wimlib to split the install.wim file into 2 files less than 4 GB each (I use 3.8 GB in the following command), then copy them over to your USB:
wimlib-imagex split /Volumes/CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9/sources/install.wim /Volumes/WIN10/sources/install.swm 3800
Once that's done, you can eject your USB from your Mac inside Finder. Note that Windows will automatically rejoin these files later when you're installing.
Congratulations - your computer now should boot directly from your USB drive. If it doesn't, you may need to check your new PC's BIOS and change the boot order to boot from your USB drive.
Windows will pop up a screen and start the installation process.
Enjoy your new PC, and your newly-installed copy of Windows.