You can use installation media (a USB flash drive or DVD) to install a new copy of Windows, perform a clean installation, or reinstall Windows. To create installation media, go to the software download website, where you'll find step-by-step instructions.
Windows: Download ISO with Media Creation ToolOn that website, you can select a version of Windows and create your own installation media using either a USB flash drive or a DVD. To go directly to one of the versions, select one of these links:. Windows 10 (Then select Download tool now.). Windows 11 (Then select Download tool now.). Important: Back up your files before you install or reinstall Windows on your PC. Learn how for Windows 10 and Windows 11 or for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. To create the installation media, here's what you'll need:. A PC with a reliable internet connection. The download time will vary, depending on your internet connection. A USB flash drive, external hard drive, or DVD. A blank USB flash drive or external hard drive with at least 8 GB of space, or a blank DVD (and DVD burner). We recommend using a blank USB or blank DVD because any content on it will be deleted. When burning a DVD from an ISO file, if you're told the disc image file is too large, you'll need to use dual layer (DL) DVD media. Your 25-character product key (not required for digital licenses). For help finding it, go to Find your Windows product key. After you've created the installation media, you can reset or reinstall Windows. To learn more, go to Recovery options in Windows. 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. 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. If your USB flash drive is not inserted, insert it now, wait a few moments and click Refresh drive list. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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). When the download is complete, run the Rufus executable. You don't need to install it because the program runs without being installed. If your USB flash drive is not inserted, insert it now. It will be immediately recognized by Rufus. 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. The Rufus status line will say "READY." To write the ISO to your USB flash drive, click Start. 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. 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. Click Close to exit Rufus. To use your Windows 10 installation disk, follow these steps. Verify the computer's BIOS is configured to boot from a removable disk. To access your BIOS, you need to reboot the computer and press a specific key before boot sequence begins. For detailed instructions, see: How to enter the BIOS or CMOS setup. Then, if necessary, change your boot sequence so the DVD/USB drive is listed before your HDD or SSD in your boot order. (If you don't see your USB drive in the list, insert your installation USB flash drive before powering on the computer and try again.). If your BIOS is properly configured, power down the computer. Insert your installation disk. Power on the computer. Instead of loading the operating system from your HDD/SSD, your computer boots from your removable disk, and the Windows installation begins. Installing Windows 10 from a USB drive beats installing it with a DVD any day of the week. Here’s what you need to make your own bootable Windows 10 installer—and how to do it. We’ll be using Microsoft’s recommended method to make a bootable Windows 10 USB drive. The Windows Media Creation Tool, which you can download for free. An eight-gigabyte flash drive. An internet connection. RELATED:Why You Need to Own an External SSD. To make a bootable Windows 10 USB drive, begin by downloading the Media Creation tool from Microsoft’s Download Windows 10 website. Click “Download Tool Now” on the page. Wait for the file to finish downloading in your browser. Then hit Ctrl+j to open your browser’s downloads — a menu listing your downloads should appear. Click “MediaCreationTool21H2.exe” in the list. (You can also launch this file from your downloads folder.). Click “Accept” in the bottom right-hand corner of the Terms and Conditions page. Select “Create Installation Media” and then click “Next.”. You should leave the default settings alone if you don’t have a specific need to install a different version of Windows 10. Then, click “Next.”. Select “USB Flash Drive” and click “Next.”. Select the USB drive you want to use, then click “Next.” The Media Creation Tool will download Windows 10 and create a bootable USB drive. The download is several gigabytes in size, so it could take a while if you’ve got slower internet. Once it is done downloading, click “Finish.”. You should safely eject unless you’ve set up your PC so it isn’t necessary. Click the USB drive icon on the taskbar, and then click “Eject.”. Your Windows 10 bootable USB drive is now ready. You’ll need to set your PC to boot from a USB drive rather than a hard drive to use it. Once you do that, you can use it to reinstall Windows 10 on your current computer or install it on a new PC. RELATED:Confirmed: Windows 10 Setup Now Prevents Local Account Creation. 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