How to Install Windows From USB
If you’re installing Windows on a new PC, USB booting is an effortless way to get going. Plus, it’s great for troubleshooting issues as well.
You’ll first need to download Microsoft’s media creation tool to create a bootable USB. This should take around 20 MB, so it should dash on an internet connection with speed.
Downloading the ISO
An ISO file is a copy of any CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc that contains every sector. These discs can be used to create bootable discs to install an operating system or set up virtual machines.
Microsoft makes Windows 10 ISO images available to everyone through its download website. However, if you own a Windows computer, you’ll first be directed to the Media Creation Tool page before being given the option to download an ISO image directly.
Thankfully, there’s a workaround. You can bypass this restriction by impersonating the browser’s user agent and downloading Windows 10 ISO files directly from Microsoft’s website.
Formatting the USB
Before formatting a USB drive, always back up your data first. Doing so can reduce the chance of losing important files during formatting.
Windows offers Disk Management to format a bootable USB drive quickly and easily. The process only takes a few minutes!
Another way to format a bootable USB is using the diskpart command. This method is straightforward but requires familiarity with using the command prompt.
When formatting a USB drive for Windows installation on another computer, the file system chosen should be readable by that machine’s operating system. Popular options for USB drives are FAT32 and NTFS; both can be selected according to compatibility with specific operating systems.
Booting from the USB
Booting from a USB drive is the fastest and most straightforward way to install Windows on your PC or laptop. The process is quick and effortless, making it essential to reinstall or clone your hard drive completely.
First, alter the BIOS boot order, so the USB flash drive is the first device listed when booting up your computer. Generally, this can be done by pressing F10 on your keyboard.
After changing the boot order, ensure your USB flash drive is plugged in and powered on. Use the arrow keys to navigate to it, then select it with Enter.
If you’re having trouble booting from a USB drive, try changing the boot order or unplugging other devices before kicking. It may also be necessary to update your motherboard’s BIOS. If that doesn’t solve the problem, switch to another port or restart your computer altogether.
If you want to install Windows on a USB drive, you’ll need an application that supports this format. Popular options include WinToUSB and FlashBoot.
These tools allow you to install the latest version of Windows on any device with a USB port, making them perfect for creating portable installations or salvaging damaged computers.
Additionally, these tools allow you to clone your hard drive onto an SSD for faster boot times and secure the booting of the cloned disk.
Before you begin, ensure your PC or laptop has UEFI firmware and that the USB drive you intend to use has at least 8GB of space. Otherwise, you’ll need to create Windows 10 installation media using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool or another third-party application.