How to start Windows from usb?

If you need to start Windows from a USB drive, whether it’s to troubleshoot your computer, install a fresh copy of Windows, or run a portable operating system, this article will guide you through the process step by step.


Before you begin, make sure you have the following:

1. USB Drive:

Prepare a USB drive with sufficient storage capacity to hold Windows and any additional files you may need.

2. Windows ISO:

Download the Windows installation files in ISO format from the official Microsoft website or other trustworthy sources.

3. Rufus:

Download and install Rufus, a free and reliable tool for creating bootable USB drives. You can find it on the official Rufus website.

Creating a Bootable USB Drive

Now that you have everything prepared, follow these steps to create a bootable USB drive:

Step 1: Insert the USB Drive

Insert the USB drive into a USB port on your computer.

Step 2: Open Rufus

Open Rufus on your computer. It should detect the USB drive automatically.

Step 3: Select the USB Drive and ISO

In Rufus, under “Device,” select your USB drive from the drop-down menu. Then, under “Boot selection,” click the small disk icon and browse to the location where you saved the Windows ISO file.

Step 4: Choose Partition Scheme and File System

Ensure the Partition scheme is set to “MBR” (Master Boot Record) and File system is set to “FAT32.”

Step 5: Create a Bootable USB

Click the “Start” button in Rufus to begin the process of creating a bootable USB drive. This will erase all existing data on the USB drive, so make sure you have backed up any important files.

Step 6: Wait for Completion

Rufus will take some time to format your USB drive and copy the Windows installation files onto it. Be patient and wait for the process to complete.

How to Start Windows from USB?

**To start Windows from a USB drive, follow these steps:**

1. Restart Your Computer

Insert the bootable USB drive into a USB port on your computer and restart it.

2. Access BIOS or Boot Menu

During the restart, your computer’s BIOS screen will appear. Look for a message that prompts you to press a specific key, such as F2, DEL, or ESC, to enter the BIOS setup. Alternatively, some computers have a dedicated key like F12 to access the boot menu directly.

3. Change Boot Order

Once in the BIOS setup or boot menu, navigate to the “Boot” or “Boot Order” section. Change the boot order to prioritize the USB drive, so it boots before the internal hard drive. Save your changes.

4. Save and Exit

Exit the BIOS setup or boot menu, saving the changes you made.

5. Windows Installation or Live Environment

Your computer should now start from the USB drive. Depending on your purpose, you can either proceed with the Windows installation process or use the USB drive as a live environment for troubleshooting or running a portable operating system.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use any USB drive to start Windows?

It is recommended to use a USB drive with at least 8GB of storage and USB 3.0 for faster data transfer.

2. Can I create a bootable USB drive on a Mac?

Yes, you can use Rufus alternatives like Boot Camp Assistant or UNetbootin on a Mac to create a bootable USB drive.

3. Can I use Rufus for Linux distributions?

Yes, Rufus supports creating bootable USB drives for various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and Fedora.

4. My computer does not recognize the USB drive. What should I do?

Ensure the USB drive is properly inserted, try using a different USB port, and verify that the USB drive is functional by testing it on another computer.

5. Can I use a USB drive with existing data?

No, creating a bootable USB drive will erase all existing data. Backup any important files before proceeding.

6. How long does it take to create a bootable USB drive?

The time taken depends on various factors like the speed of your USB drive, computer, and the size of the ISO file. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour.

7. Do I need a product key to install Windows from a USB drive?

Yes, for a licensed version of Windows, you will need a valid product key during the installation process.

8. Can I start Windows from a USB drive on a Chromebook?

Chromebooks use a different operating system (Chrome OS) and have limited support for booting from external drives. It may not be possible or easily achievable.

9. What should I do if my computer freezes during the Windows installation process from the USB drive?

Try restarting the installation process or checking if the USB drive and ISO file are intact. You can also troubleshoot hardware compatibility issues or seek technical support.

10. Can I reuse the USB drive after starting Windows from it?

Yes, after starting Windows from the USB drive, you can format it and use it as a regular storage device.

11. Are there any security risks associated with using bootable USB drives?

Bootable USB drives are generally safe to use, but always ensure you download ISO files from trusted sources and maintain good antivirus protection on your computer.

12. Can I create a bootable USB drive using Windows itself?

Yes, you can use the Windows Media Creation Tool or Command Prompt to create a bootable USB drive directly from within Windows.

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