How to Install Windows 10 From USB

Put Windows 10 on a USB drive for easy installation

What to Know

  • You'll need a USB drive of at least 8GB in size.
  • Download the Windows 10 Media Creation tool to make a USB installer.
  • Once Windows 10 is installed, plug the USB drive into your PC, and boot from it to begin an installation process.

This guide will teach you how to install Windows 10 using a USB drive. You'll need a USB drive (at least 8GB in size) to hold all the installation media.

Before performing any Windows installation or reinstall, if you have any data on the drive you're installing to that you want to keep, you should back it up to an external drive or cloud storage service.

How to Put Windows 10 on USB

The first step to installing Windows 10 from a USB drive, is to create the Windows 10 install USB drive. Here's how to do it.

  1. Open your browser of choice and go to Microsoft's Windows 10 download site.

  2. Under the heading Create Windows 10 installation media, select Download tool now.

    The Windows 10 download page on Microsoft's website.
  3. While the MediaCreationTool20H2.exe is downloading, plug in your USB drive and make sure that it has enough space for the installer (8GB). It's best to delete everything on it or reformat the drive.

  4. Run the MediaCreationTool20H2.exe. Allow administrative approval when asked.

    Run the media creation tool to install Windows onto the USB drive.
  5. Read the Microsoft license terms and if you agree, select Accept.

    The License and Terms agreement form for media creation tool.
  6. There will be a short wait while the tool is Getting things ready, but when it's finished, select the toggle next to Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD or ISO file) for another PC. Then select Next.

    First step in creating a bootable USB drive for Windows installation.
  7. Have a look over the language, edition, and architecture options. Typically you can leave the Use the recommended options for this PC checked, but uncheck it if you want to customize the installation. Then select Next.

    Customizing the installation of Windows 10 installer onto the USB drive.
  8. Select USB flash drive, then select Next.

    Selecting USB as type of installation for Windows 10.
  9. Select the USB drive you want to use for the Windows installer, then select Next.

    Selecting the specific USB drive location to accept the installation.

Wait for Windows 10 to download and install to the USB drive. Depending on your internet connection and the speed of the USB drive, this could take as little as a few minutes, or up to an hour. When it's done, select Finish.

How to Install Windows 10 From USB

Now that your USB drive is ready to let you install Windows 10 from USB, the process for actually installing Windows 10 is relatively straightforward.

Double check that any important data you have saved on the drive you want to install Windows on is backed up and safe. If you're sure, make sure the USB drive is plugged in to the PC, and either restart, or turn the system on. Then follow our guide on how to boot from a USB drive.

Once you see the Windows installer appear, follow our guide on how to install Windows 10.

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