Create Windows 10 Boot Disk

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Applies To: Windows Server 2016 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

To create a bootable USB flash drive for use in recovering or reinstalling Windows on a PC instead of a server, see Create a recovery drive. Insert a USB flash drive into a running computer.

Method 1: Use the Media Creation Tool

Open a Command Prompt window as an administrator. In the new command line window that opens, to determine the USB flash drive number or drive letter, at the command prompt, type list disk, and then click ENTER. The list disk command displays all the disks on the computer. Note the drive number or drive letter of the USB flash drive. At the command prompt, type select disk , where X is the drive number or drive letter of the USB flash drive, and then click ENTER.

Type clean, and the click ENTER. This command deletes all data from the USB flash drive. To create a new primary partition on the USB flash drive, type create partition primary, and then click ENTER. To select the partition that you just created, type select partition 1, and then click ENTER. To format the partition, type format fs=ntfs quick, and then click ENTER.

If your server platform supports Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), you should format the USB flash drive as FAT32 rather than as NTFS. To format the partition as FAT32, type format fs=fat32 quick, and then click ENTER.

Create bootable USB with Rufus

Type active, and then click ENTER. Type exit, and then click ENTER. When you finish preparing your custom image, save it to the root of the USB flash drive. If your computer runs Windows 10, it's a good idea to have a bootable Windows installation disk, in case you ever want to reinstall Windows on your computer.

If you don't have a Windows 10 disk, you can create one using the methods described below. Before you create a bootable Windows 10 disk, make sure you have the following:. A computer connected to the Internet, with a USB port or DVD burner.

A USB flash drive with a capacity of at least 8 GB, which is either empty or ready to be completely erased; or a blank DVD-R disk. A valid Windows 10 license; either a numeric license key or a Microsoft account with a Windows 10 license that is associated with your computer.

The Media Creation Tool is a program provided by Microsoft that downloads all required files, and write them to your DVD or USB flash drive.

Follow these instructions to download and use the Media Creation Tool.

Open a web browser and go to Microsoft's Windows 10 download page.

Method 2: Download ISO and create bootable USB

Under Create Windows 10 installation media, click Download tool now. Run the installer. At the UAC prompt, click Yes. The installer gets things ready, then displays Notices and License terms.

Read the terms and click Accept to proceed. At the screen What do you want to do?, select Create installation media for another PC, and click Next.

At Select language, architecture, and edition, don't change anything if you're creating the installer for this computer.

Make sure Use the recommended settings for this PC remains checked. (If you're creating a disk for another computer, uncheck this box and make changes now.) To continue, click Next.

At the screen Choose which media to use, you can choose USB or DVD as the destination.

In this example, we'll create a USB flash drive. Select USB flash drive, and click Next.

You'll be asked to Select a USB flash drive.

Download an ISO image to burn to disc

If your USB flash drive is not inserted, insert it now, wait a few moments and click Refresh drive list.

Video tutorial: how to make a Windows boot disk 10

Then, select your USB flash drive, and click Next. Windows 10 downloads the installer and write it to your USB flash drive. You can continue using your PC while it runs in the background.

When it's finished, you'll see Your USB flash drive is ready. Setup will clean up its temporary files and exit automatically.

Creating a bootable disk with UltraISO

You can now remove your USB flash drive from the computer. For information about how to use it, see how to boot with your installation disk, below.

You also have the option to download the Windows 10 ISO image file to your computer, then create your bootable disk manually with another program. If you're using Windows, you must use the Media Creation Tool to download the ISO.

If you're using another operating system, such as macOS or Linux, Microsoft offers a direct download. If you're using Windows, follow these steps to download the Windows 10 ISO with the Media Creation Tool. (Steps 1–4 are the same as in method 1.). Open a web browser and go to Microsoft's Windows 10 download page. Click Download tool now. Run the installer. At the UAC prompt, click Yes. Read the license terms and click Accept. Select Create installation media for another PC, and click Next. At Select language, architecture, and edition, don't change anything if you're creating the installer for this computer. At Choose which media to use, select ISO file, and click Next. Choose a location on your computer to download the ISO file, such as your Downloads folder. Make sure you have enough space to download the file (it's big - between 3 and 5 gigabytes, depending on the version). When the download is complete, Media Creation Tool offers to Burn the ISO to a DVD. It also displays the full path and file name of the ISO file on your computer. Optional: If you'd like to verify the location of the file, click the file name to open the folder where it was downloaded.

Optional: If you'd like to burn a DVD of the ISO now, click Open DVD Burner to open the Windows Disk Image Burner. Insert a blank DVD-R disk into your DVD drive and follow the instructions.

Requirements

Click Finish to close the Media Creation Tool. You can now skip to the step create bootable USB with Rufus. If you're using a non-Windows operating system, follow these instructions to download the Windows 10 ISO. Open a web browser and go to the Windows 10 ISO download site.

Write a Windows boot disk 10 from an ISO

How to boot with your installation disk

Microsoft detects your operating system and reroute you to the direct download page. Under Select edition, select Windows 10 and click Confirm. Under Select the product language, select your language (English, for example), and click Confirm. Under Downloads, you'll have the option to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows. If your computer has a 64-bit CPU, choose the 64-bit Download.

With other software at no cost.

If you're not sure, see: How to determine if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit CPU. The download begins in your browser. Make sure you have enough disk space to download the file (it's big - between 3 and 5 gigabytes, depending on the version). Now that you've downloaded the ISO file, you need special software to create a bootable USB flash drive with it.

macOS X, Linux: Download ISO directly

Only copying the file to the USB will not work. There are various programs which you can use to create a bootable USB flash drive in Windows, such as UNetbootin.

  • In these instructions, we'll use a free Windows program called Rufus.
  • Open a web browser and go to the Rufus website. Scroll down to Download, and choose either Rufus or Rufus portable (either one works).

Windows: Download ISO with Media Creation Tool

When the download is complete, run the Rufus executable. You don't need to install it because the program runs without being installed.

How to Recover or Restore PC with a Recovery Drive?

If your USB flash drive is not inserted, insert it now.

  1. It will be immediately recognized by Rufus.
  2. Click the disk icon. It looks like an optical drive and disk. Navigate to the Windows ISO you downloaded, select the ISO file, and click Open.
  3. The Rufus status line will say "READY." To write the ISO to your USB flash drive, click Start.
  4. Rufus warns you that all data on the USB will be destroyed. If you have any important files on the USB flash drive, this is your last chance to cancel, and back up your files. To proceed, click OK.
  5. The ISO is written to the USB flash drive. It should only take a few minutes. You'll know it's complete when the progress bar is fully green, and the status line says "READY" again.

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