How to Create Bootable USB from Windows 10 ISO Image File?

Windows installation is usually performed using a DVD. However, there are occasions where you may be compelled to use a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows on your PC. This especially happens when your hard disk drive is corrupted or you cannot get your hands on a DVD. In that case, you’ll have to boot your PC using a USB disk. In our earlier article, we have explained how to create bootable USB drive on Windows 8 and in this article let us explain how to create a bootable ISO USB disk for Windows 10.

Create Bootable USB from Windows 10 ISO Image File

The following topics are covered in this article:

  1. What is ISO file or disc image?
  2. Requirements for bootable USB
  3. Downloading Windows 10 disk image file
  4. Formatting USB disk drive
  5. Creating bootable USB flash drive with Rufus
  6. Booting Windows 10 with USB

1. What is ISO Image File?

ISO 9660 file system is shortly referred as ISO files and have an extension of “.iso”. ISO files are also called as disk image files, generally created from a CD or DVD using disk imaging applications. For example, you can use 7-Zip software to create ISO image file and also extract the content from the archived ISO file. In Windows context, an ISO image is a collection of Windows installation files from the installation CD or DVD.

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In case if you don’t have the original installation CD or DVD, you can use the Windows 10 ISO disk image file to create bootable USB flash drive. This bootable USB then helps to start Windows 10 on your PC.

2. Make Things Ready Before Creating Bootable Disk

Ensure to have the followings before you try to create a bootable USB drive.

  • You’ll require a flash drive of at least 8 GB size.
  • Check you have sufficient storage space on your PC to download and create IOS image file.
  • Check your Windows 10 installation is 64 or 32 bit.
  • Windows system language
  • Correct version of Windows 10.
  • Keep your product license key handy.

3. How to Download ISO Image File for Windows 10?

With Windows 10, you don’t need to use third party software for creating ISO disk image files. Microsoft provides free ISO disk image file for Windows 10 which you can use as a starting point. Go to Windows 10 download page and download the Windows media creation tool.

Downloading Windows Media Creation Tool
Downloading Windows Media Creation Tool

This is an independent executable file doesn’t need installation, you can simply run the tool and create the ISO image. Double click on the .exe file and follow the below steps.

  • Accept the terms and conditions and on the next step choose “Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD or ISO file) for another PC” option and click “Next” button.
Creating Installation USB
Creating Installation USB
  • The tool will capture the language, Windows edition and architecture details from your Windows installation. You can disable the checkbox “Use the recommended options for this PC” and modify these details. Click on the “Next” button.
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Choosing System Details
Choosing System Details
  • Here you will see two options – USB flash drive and ISO file.

You can directly choose the USB flash drive and create a bootable USB drive. Otherwise choose “ISO file” option to download the ISO file to your local computer. In this article, we explain by choosing “ISO file” option and click on the “Next” button.

Choose ISO File Option
Choose ISO File Option

Choose the folder to download the ISO file. It will take long time for the generation of ISO file and you can see the progress anytime.

Viewing ISO File Download Progress
Viewing ISO File Download Progress

After completion of the process, you will see an option to burn a DVD from the downloaded ISO file. But you don’t need a DVD for creating bootable USB drive, hence click on “Finish” to close the window.

ISO File Successfully Created
ISO File Successfully Created

4. Formatting a Flash Drive

It’s essential to remember you must format your flash drive before you make it bootable. Ensure to copy if you have any content and format the drive.

5. Creating Bootable USB Flash Drive

Finally, your USB drive and the ISO image file are ready. You’ll need to make your Flash drive bootable using third-party software. There are several online tools at your disposal to make your flash drive bootable. Examples of popular tools include:

  • Rufus
  • Power ISO
  • WinTo Flash
  • Windows USB/DVD download tool
  • Windows Media Creation Tool (as explained above)

In this example we’ll use Rufus tool. Rufus can be downloaded from the official site. Similar to Windows media creation tool, Rufus is also an independent utility that doesn’t need any installation. After downloading, double click on the executable file to run the application.

The Rufus pop-up below will be displayed. The first section represents the volume name and it’s capacity. In this case, our flash drive has a capacity of 8 GB. Select “ISO Image” option from the dropdown against “Create a bootable disk using” checkbox. To navigate to the Windows 10 ISO file, click on the small icon located at right side. Browse to the folder containing the ISO file and select the Windows 10 ISO file.

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Rufus - Creating Bootable USB
Rufus – Creating Bootable USB

As for the other options, leave them in their default state to avoid any complications. Click “Start” and wait for few minutes to complete the process.

6. Booting Windows 10 from USB

Upon completion, your USB drive will be ready for booting. Follow the below steps to verify whether you can boot from the USB drive.

  • Restart your system and navigate to the BIOS options. You can do this by pressing the option shown when booting, generally press “Shift + F8”.
  • In the boot order section, set your system to boot from the USB drive as the first priority.
  • Save the changes and proceed with booting your system.

Finally, you’ll then be presented with a Windows 10 installer window on start up.

Conclusion

You can create a bootable USB flash drive directly from the Windows 10 download page using Windows media creation tool. If that doesn’t work for any reason, download the ISO image file to local computer and use Rufus tool to create a bootable USB as explained above. Remember to check whether it is working so that you can use it for emergency purposes. Unless you need a bootable external drive, Also Windows 10 allows you to mount the ISO file and launch the installer without the need of creating separate USB drive.

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