Install Windows 10 From USB Drive

This is a complete guide to install Windows 10 from a bootable USB. One of the main advantages of installing a version of Windows operating system from a bootable USB is speed, especially when compared to the traditional way of installing Windows from a DVD.

Even though there are ample amount of free utilities out there to help you create a bootable USB of Windows 10 with a few mouse clicks, it’s possible to prepare the bootable USB without using third-party utilities. All you need to do is execute a bunch of commands in the Command Prompt to make your Windows 10 bootable USB.

Windows 10 logo

The other advantage of the Command Prompt is that it’s error free, meaning you will be able to create the bootable USB without encountering any errors when commands are entered properly.

The method we use for creating a bootable Windows 10 is USB is the same as the method we use for previous versions of Windows operating system. In other words, the procedure is pretty much the same and should not take more than 10 minutes when done correctly.

Here is how you can make bootable USB of Windows 10 from the Command Prompt using the Diskpart command.

Things you will need:

# Windows 10 ISO or Windows 10 DVD

# A USB with 4GB+ size

# A working Windows 7/8/8.1 PC to create the bootable USB

Important: Before you proceed to prepare your Windows 10 bootable media, please check the version of Windows 7/8/8.1 on which you are going to make the bootable USB of Windows. This is because, you can’t prepare the bootable USB of 64-bit of Windows 10 on a PC running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. In simple words, you can’t use 32-bit installation of Windows to prepare the bootable USB of 64-bit Windows.

So, please read the following line carefully:

# It’s not possible to create 64-bit version of Windows 10 bootable USB on a PC running 32-bit version of Windows.

# You need x64 version of Windows 7/8/8.1 to prepare bootable USB of Windows 10 x64.

# You can create x86 version of Windows 10 bootable USB on computer running x86 version of Windows 7/8/8.1

Install Windows 10 from USB drive

Step 1: Connect your USB drive to Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC and move all important data to a safe location as the drive will be erased during the process. We also suggest you un-plug any other external hard drive connected to avoid selecting a wrong drive during the drive selection.

Step 2: Open elevated Command Prompt. To do so, you can type CMD in Start menu or Start screen and then simultaneously press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys. Windows 7 users can also navigate to Start menu, All Programs, Accessories, right-click on Command Prompt and then click Run as administrator option. Click Yes button when you see the UAC prompt to continue.

Install Windows 10 from USB drive step1

Note that it’s very important to open Command Prompt as administrator to avoid errors. Be sure to open the elevated prompt. Most users ignore this step and end up errors while preparing the bootable USB. When you’re launching Command Prompt, you’ll see the UAC prompt where you need to click the Yes button.

Step 3: In the elevated Command Prompt, type DISKPART and then hit enter key.

Install Windows 10 from bootable USB

Now, type LIST DISK command and press the Enter key again to see all connected disks. This is the important step is you should note the disk number assigned for your internal hard disk and your connected USB drive.

Install Windows 10 from USB drive step2

If you have only one internal HDD or SSD, 1 will be the disk number of your USB drive. As you can see in the above picture, the disk number for my USB drive is 1.

Step 4: Type all the following commands one after another and press enter key after each command.

SELECT DISK 1

(IMP: In the above command, replace”1” with the disk number of your USB drive obtained in the previous step. Entering a wrong disk number will cause data loss. So please double check the disk number before entering the disk number.)

(press enter key)

CLEAN

(press enter key)

CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY

(press enter key)

SELECT PARTITION 1

(press enter key)

ACTIVE

(press enter key)

FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK

IMP: If your PC supports UEFI, please format the drive with FORMAT FS=FAT32 Quick command.

(press enter key)

ASSIGN

(press enter key)

EXIT

(press enter key)

Install Windows 10 from USB drive step3

Since we aren’t finished yet, please don’t close the Command Prompt. Simply minimize it to the taskbar and then follow the instructions in the next step.

Step 5: If you’re on Windows 8/8.1 and have the ISO image of Windows 10, right-click on the ISO image and then click Mount option to mount the ISO file. After mounting, open This PC (Computer) and note the drive letter of it.

Install Windows 10 from USB drive step4

And if you’re on Windows 7, use an image mounting software such as Virtual CloneDrive and note the drive letter after mounting the ISO. If you’re not sure how to go with it, please follow our how to mount an ISO file in Windows 7 guide for step-by-step instructions to mount your Windows 10 ISO and get the drive letter.

Install Windows 10 from USB drive step5

In this guide, we’re assuming “J” as the drive letter of the virtual drive where you have mounted Windows 10 ISO.

And if you have the DVD of Windows 10, simply insert the DVD into the optical drive and note the drive letter of your optical drive. You can then use this drive letter whenever needed.

Step 6: Maximize the Command Prompt that you had minimized in Step 4 and execute the following commands one after another.

J: CD BOOT

(Hit enter key)

Here “J” is the drive letter of your virtual drive containing Windows 10 ISO or DVD drive containing installation files.

CD BOOT and press enter.

Step 7: Finally, type the following command:

BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 K:

In the above command, replace “K” with the drive letter of your USB drive that you’re making bootable.

Install Windows 10 from USB drive step6

Once you see “Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes” message, simply close the Command Prompt. We are almost done!

Step 8: Finally, copy all the contents of your Windows 10 ISO image to the root of the USB drive. You can either extract ISO file contents or copy files from the mounted drive. The same procedure applies even if you have the DVD of Windows 10. You just need to copy all files to the root of the USB drive.

Step 9: Now that you have your bootable USB of Windows 10, turn on the PC on which you want to install Windows 10, enable booting from USB, set the boot priority to boot from USB, and then restart your PC again to begin installing Windows 10. Follow the very simple on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

If you come across any issues while preparing the bootable USB or installing Windows 10, do let us know by leaving a comment. Before leaving your comment, please double check that you have used an elevated prompt to prepare your bootable USB.

Enjoy the newest version of Windows operating system!

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Comments

  1. Kunal says

    in step 7 when i enter the cord BOOTSECT.EXE/NT60 that time its show me ” this version of L:\boot\bootsect.exe is not compatible with the version of windows your’re running . check your computer’s system information and then contact the software publisher.” what i do now?

  2. Alain says

    I have tried this procedure to try to convert my original W10 x64 DVD to a USB stick on my current W10 x64 DVD PC.
    I don’t suceed, I am stopped at Step 6.
    It my case the Windows 10 media (DVD) reader letter is G:
    The commande line:
    G: CD BOOT is not accepted !!
    The command line returns a long list of options is displayed on the screen …

    Why ?

    Can we use this procedure on a W10 x64 PC ?

  3. Hamid Khalaj says

    Hi, thanks fir the post it was very helpful but i have problem.
    My motherboard is gigabyte p31-es3g but i can’t use my bootable usb, can you help me how to set my boot settings?
    Thank you so much!

  4. arif says

    Sir I have follow 1 to 4 step but one is at the back side do you want to format D drive then go for other than I have cancelled that one and shout down my after when I am turn on my pc system gives some massage like this (missing operating system )please help me out from this situation

  5. harsh gupta says

    when i have to type “bootsect.exe /nt60 h:” then my command prompt is reporting me that access is denied. can I do anything to know why it is saying so and let me tell u that I was doing it from Windows 1032 bit

  6. harsh gupta says

    when i have to type “bootsect.exe /nt60 h:” then my command prompt is reporting me that access is denied. can I do anything

  7. Andre Ribas Pereira says

    Very useful guide! I’ve done all the steps, formating to NTFS. For some reason, I’m not accessing my Samsung NP530U3B notebook bios to change the boot order. As I’m not accessing the USB, I’ve made all the steps in a external hdd and then replaced the notebook hdd with it. When I turned on the notebook, a blue screen appeared… Recovery … required file is missing or contains errors. file \windows\system32\winload.efi… error code 0xc0000225
    Could you please help me solving this?
    Thanks

  8. gresham says

    Admin, happy new year!
    Worked for me as stated.
    (1) didn’t realize I had 32 bit on box trying to install win10-64
    (2) screwed-up the keyboard and couldn’t log back in.
    (3) slightly confused (at first) with partition values, when I had 3 loaded
    – and UR directions only listed 0,1
    (4) Slightly confused (at first) with Mounting since I didn’t recognize it && thought it was my DVD.
    (5) At end tried to DOS COPY the source files, before allowing WIN to Copy/Paste Source to Destination.
    – While it has taken months to find these instructions, I am very thankful to you for posting them.
    In short- the instructions (above) work like a champ
    ( provided they are followed carefully)
    -Again, Happy New Year

  9. Richard Juan says

    Hi my name is Chad. This is a helpful troubleshooting step. Now I am craving to have a copy of Windows 10 Installer. However, I still have question please check if it is possible to use bootable “External HDD” instead of bootable USB?

  10. Jerry Lopez says

    I’m sorry… Step 8 is a little unclear to me. Could someone explain it to me or could the author of this article upload a picture that goes with it?

  11. Somex De Archvist says

    After following the instruction provided to make my USB HDD bootable, no error came up, everything went successfully until i plugged my usb HDD into the system to install the windows 10. After extraction, a message popped up requesting for an edit of a string of line for x64 installation. Actually, I dont know where to go from here so I pushed the Enter key and the windows logo popped and that’s it. It seemed to hang there.

    The fact is that, I have installed 32 bits and it was successful. I have tried severally to install x64 but to no avail. It always stops at the appearance of the windows logo. Don’t know what might be this problem.

    Please if this problem can be rectified I will so appreciate.

    Thank you

  12. ALDRIN says

    can you please put pictures to all the steps so that we can simply follow the steps ……how is step 8 and 9??????????

  13. Hugh George says

    On Windows 10: The line “J:CD … ” required two commands J: enter & CD … enter. Thanks for the instructions.

  14. perry says

    I followed all the instructions and they were great. However, when I start my new computer, all I can see is a bunch of instructions and nowhere to select USB boot.. when I plug in my USB, nothing happens either.. Any tips?

  15. Matej says

    Hi Colin O’Keeffe and others,
    when I used command
    FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK
    and tried to install with that USB flash, I got “a disk read error occurred”. It was on an old Asus Eee.
    Then I did all these steps again, however I used
    FORMAT FS=FAT32 (not FAT Quick)
    and then it worked.

  16. Danny says

    I have installed it all but have encountered a problem with activating windows? I am an all genuine windows user! Any help anyone?

  17. Colin O'Keeffe says

    I follow all the steps perfectly on Windows 7 but the when I boot from the USB it gets to the screen with the blue Windows logo and then just gets stuck there doing nothing ? could it be I did it as NTFS when it should have been FAT32? Or would this be another issue?

    Thanks.

  18. Abhijit Gite says

    Issues with step 8 and 9:
    “Finally, copy all the contents of your Windows 10 ISO image to the root of the USB drive. You can either extract ISO file contents or copy files from the mounted drive. The same procedure applies even if you have the DVD of Windows 10. You just need to copy all files to the root of the USB drive.”

    Issue : How to copy to the root of the USB drive?

    Step 9: Now that you have your bootable USB of Windows 10, turn on the PC on which you want to install Windows 10, enable booting from USB, set the boot priority to boot from USB, and then restart your PC again to begin installing Windows 10. Follow the very simple on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

    Issue : From where to enable booting from USB?

    Please provide steps for same.

  19. Johannes says

    Can you update this article for using the Windows Media Creation tool to create the bootable usb? Will it create a UEFI bootable image?

  20. km says

    Hi ?. I am using Windows 8 pro 64 bit but I had downloaded the windows 10 32 bit is It possible to install windows 10 and another question I had made bootable drive after openning boot part 1 i.e., in collecting information it is saying that select a driver to install what should i do plz reply me

  21. Dave says

    The best way to know if you have the right Disk number is to look in Disk Management. They are listed the exact same way but with drive letters, names, detailed capacities, etc.

  22. federico platón says

    Hi, I faced some of the issues stated by others, reg. the “elevated Coimmand Prompt” and the message it should apperar in Windows 7 64bits.
    I got no message and run in it as Admin using the right button mouse menu.
    To get the “elevated”status or go to the folder of the picture, as needed to run some commands, I just used simple commands as CD.. and CD name of folder.
    to move to a different drive (J in the example) just CD name of drive, and then type the command when the line shows that drive letter.

    More important: When installing, Windows 10 says It needs to restart, but DOES NOT ADD: Remove the bootable USB drive before the computyer restarts. Otherwise it starts a new installation, I got to Windows10.old folders that I could remove when noticing I was in a loop.

    All the installation run smoothly and pretty fast after this. Space required is not quite big and includes Windows media player!

  23. admin says

    Paranoid365,
    Thanks for your encouraging words. As you rightly said, it’s important to follow all steps as mentioned in the article.

  24. Paranoid365 says

    Hi, I just wanted to say, “fantastic guide”, admin, it was very clear, and concise, and the steps were very easy to follow, and implement. To anyone following the guide, just remember to follow every step exact, and read each step carefully before implementing it’s instructions, and you’ll have a Win 10 bootable thumb drive/DVD in no time. Thanks again Admin. 🙂

  25. marek says

    Actually Windows 8.1 has an option after right clicking menu:
    Command Prompt (Admin)…
    The command prompt windows has the name “Administrator”.
    The rest is easy if followed to the letter

  26. David says

    Great instructions! Thanks for doing this. I think it would be clearer if you changed the step 6 instructions to read like this to make it more consistent. (I found the “J: CD BOOT” a little confusing…)

    J:

    (press enter key)

    Here “J” is the drive letter of your virtual drive containing Windows 10 ISO or DVD drive containing installation files.

    CD BOOT

    (press enter key)

  27. R Hawk says

    With this error:
    when i typing command BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 I:

    error message displaying:
    “could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects:
    access is denied.”

    Move to CD boot and it should work.

  28. Trent says

    The USB drive is booting, then the Windows blue logo comes up and that is it for a few minutes.

    Then it comes up and says, “Your computer needs to restart. Press and hold the power button..bla bla bla”

  29. EddyOS says

    I can create a USB stick without issues but my PC won’t boot from it BUT it will boot off my Windows 8 stick. Laptop in question is a Dell XPS 13 and is UEFI-enabled an I add the relevant USB drive to the boot options but selecting to boot from USB just proceeds to boot into Windows unless I use my Windows 8 stick. Any suggestions?

  30. Lazaro says

    i did not have no need to go through all this tutorial , before i got to this page i had downloaded windows 7 usb/dvd installer and tried it a couple of time unsuccessfully but i just realized that i was falling to mount the iso, so the installer was giving me error, any way, im glad that i read this tutorial,im a tech newby and today i learn a little bit more about cmd though this tutorial. thanks for sharing 🙂 at this moment the iso is being burning into my 8gb usb, hopefully it will work

  31. Lazaro says

    disregard my preview comments, i kept typing the following commands and so far all is going ok 🙂

  32. MANOJ says

    i am getting this error on final step

    when i typing command BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 I:

    error message displaying:
    “could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects:
    access is denied.”

  33. A Sharp says

    Using admin privileges, I followed above instructions to the letter but system wouldn’t allow me to mount the image. I keep getting the (Couldn’t mount file) error saying (Sorry, there was a problem mounting the file.)

  34. Kaine Morrison says

    CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY

    (press enter key)

    SELECT PARTITION 1

    (press enter key)

    The SELECT PARTITION 1 part…
    Should it stay as 1 or should it be the Disk number?

  35. admin says

    @ All,
    A special thanks to you all for letting me that the guide works flawlessly.

    @ paranii
    If your on a UEFI PC, please format the USB as FAT32 instead of NTFS.

  36. jouwheld says

    I noticed that the Windows 10 iso needs to be same bitversion(32 or 64) as you the windows you are currently running. Otherwise the bootsect.exe will give an error. Or you need to find the right version of bootsect.exe.

  37. Gilles says

    Hi there.
    Very helpful, thank you.
    I can maybe share a pb I had : the “mount” and “burn” options were not available in my file explorer.
    This is because in my setup .iso file extension were associated with a compression software (peazip in my case).
    So I just had to revert to file explorer as default prg and the two options came back both in the contextual menu and in the ribbon (under “manage”).
    PS : I am using win 8.1 pro

  38. phantomdata says

    Super useful guide that actually worked the whole way through. Most command-spew guides have at least one typo or forgotten command in them. 🙂 Thanks! Off to enjoy Windows 10 now!

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