How to create bootable USB Windows 10 from iso image?

When it comes to installing Windows 10 on a new computer or upgrading an existing one, creating a bootable USB drive from an ISO image is a convenient and efficient method. This article will guide you through the process step by step, ensuring a smooth installation experience.

What is an ISO Image?

An ISO image is an archive file that contains the entire content of an optical disc, such as a CD or DVD. It is essentially a single file that preserves the structure and data of the original disc.

Why Create a Bootable USB Drive?

A bootable USB drive allows you to install or upgrade an operating system without needing an optical disc drive. It is portable, faster, and more convenient, especially for devices like ultrabooks or tablets that lack an internal disc drive.

What Do You Need?

To create a bootable USB drive of Windows 10 from an ISO image, you will need the following:
– A USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage capacity.
– An ISO image of Windows 10. This can be obtained from the official Microsoft website or other trusted sources.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Format the USB Drive

– Connect the USB flash drive to your computer.
– Open File Explorer and right-click on the USB drive.
– Select “Format” and choose the file system as “FAT32”.
– Press “Start” and wait for the formatting process to complete.

2. Mount the ISO Image

– Right-click on the ISO image file and select “Mount” from the context menu.
– If you do not have the option to mount, you can use third-party software like WinCDEmu or Daemon Tools to achieve the same.

3. Copy Windows 10 Files

– Open the mounted ISO image and select all the files and folders inside.
– Right-click and choose “Copy” from the context menu.
– Go to the formatted USB drive in File Explorer and right-click, then select “Paste” to copy the files.

4. Make the USB Drive Bootable

– Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.
– Type “diskpart” and hit Enter to open the DiskPart utility.
– Type “list disk” to display a list of available disks.
– Identify your USB drive by its size and make a note of its disk number.
– Type “select disk X” (replace X with your USB drive’s disk number).
– Type “clean” to remove any existing partitions on the USB drive.
– Type “create partition primary” to create a new primary partition.
– Type “active” to make the partition active.
– Type “format fs=ntfs quick” to format the partition as NTFS.
– Type “assign” to assign a drive letter to the USB drive.
– Type “exit” to exit the DiskPart utility.

5. Copy the Boot Files

– Open the mounted ISO image again.
– Navigate to the “boot” folder.
– Copy the “bootmgr” and “boot” folders to the root directory of the USB drive.

6. Eject the USB Drive

– Safely eject the USB drive from your computer.

7. Start the Installation

Now that you have successfully created a bootable USB drive with Windows 10, you can start the installation process by following these steps:
– Insert the bootable USB drive into the computer you want to install Windows 10 on.
– Restart the computer and access the BIOS settings by pressing the appropriate key during startup (usually F2, Del, or Esc).
– In the BIOS settings, change the boot order to prioritize the USB drive.
– Save the changes and exit the BIOS.
– The computer will now boot from the USB drive, and you can proceed with the Windows 10 installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a USB drive smaller than 8GB?

No, you cannot. The Windows 10 installation files occupy more than 4GB of space, and therefore, a minimum of 8GB is required.

Can I use a USB drive with existing data?

Yes, you can. However, formatting the USB drive will erase all existing data, so make sure to back up any important files before proceeding.

Can I use a different file system other than FAT32?

No, you cannot. Only FAT32 file system is supported for creating a bootable USB drive.

Can I create a bootable USB drive on a Mac?

Yes, you can. Although the process may vary slightly, you can still create a bootable USB drive using Disk Utility on a Mac.

Why do I need to make the partition active?

Making the partition active ensures that the computer recognizes it as a bootable partition.

Can I use the same USB drive for other purposes after creating a bootable Windows 10 USB drive?

Of course! Once you have successfully installed Windows 10, you can reformat the USB drive and use it for other purposes.

Do I need to keep the ISO image after creating a bootable USB drive?

No, you do not. Once you have successfully copied the Windows 10 files to the USB drive, you can safely remove the ISO image.

Can I use an external hard drive instead of a USB drive?

Yes, you can. The same process applies to external hard drives as well, as long as they have sufficient storage capacity.

Can I create a bootable USB drive for other operating systems?

Yes, you can. The process may vary depending on the operating system, but the basic principle remains the same.

Can I use a different program to mount the ISO image?

Yes, you can use third-party software like WinCDEmu or Daemon Tools if you do not have the option to mount the ISO image directly.

Can I create a bootable USB drive without using Command Prompt?

Yes, there are several third-party tools available that provide a user-friendly interface to create a bootable USB drive without using Command Prompt.

Can I create a bootable USB drive from a physical Windows 10 DVD?

Yes, you can use programs like Rufus or Windows USB/DVD Download Tool to create a bootable USB drive from a physical Windows 10 DVD.


Creating a bootable USB drive from a Windows 10 ISO image is an essential skill that allows for easy and convenient installation or upgrade of the operating system. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can create a bootable USB drive and start your Windows 10 installation process smoothly.

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