Back in March, I wrote about making a MacOS installer on a USB stick . But you may not be aware that it is entirely possible to do the same with Windows 10 (or whatever the current version of Windows is).
Windows comes pre-installed with every PC but there are times when a USB version becomes invaluable. One is when you have trouble installing operating system updates the normal way (which happened to me last year). The second is if you make a living wiping and refurbishing used computers. Having a USB version of the latest Windows version makes reinstalling the system absurdly easy.
Obviously Windows isnot free, so along with the USB installer, you will also need a valid legal licensekey. Obviously we can’t help you with that. But the installer? No problem. Readon.
Creating The Windows Installation USB Stick
Before we start, it isworth pointing out that whatever version of Windows you put on your USB stickwill be the current version that Microsoft is offering. This means that anysubsequent patches and updates will not be included as the USB stick willobviously not auto-update.
So once you haveinstalled Windows using the USB method, you will need to check regularly to seeif Windows has been updated. If so, you will have to delete the version on thestick and replace it with the new version. The whole process which I am aboutto describe doesn’t take very long so it’s not a big deal.
Wipe The USB Stick
The first step is tomake sure the USB stick is completely blank. If you have just bought it, itwill already be blank. But if it is a used stick, you need to format it. Doingso will wipe all of the contents. The stick needs at least 8GB of space for theinstaller to be built properly.
To format the stick,right-click on it in Windows Explorer and click “Format”.
In the box that comesup, click “Start” to begin the formatting process.
How long it takesdepends on how used the stick is and how much data is already on it.
Download The “Media Creation Tool” From Microsoft
Next, head to the Microsoft website and download the “Media Creation Tool” . This is a portable app so no installation is necessary. Just download the file then double-click to get started.
Choose Your Installer Format
After scanning yourcomputer to see what’s needed and asking you to pretend to have read the Terms& Conditions, the installer will now ask you what you want to do.
It has seen that Ihaven’t installed the latest patch yet so it has offered me that. But I want tomake an installer USB so the second option is the one I want. You can also putWindows 10 on a DVD or ISO file, and I will be discussing ISO files in my nextarticle. As for DVD’s, I view them as impractical and expensive for somethinglike this.
Next it will ask you tochoose the language, Windows edition and whether it’s 32 bit or 64 bit yourequire. It will put it to what it thinks are the “recommended options” but ifyou disagree with any of them, just untick the box and choose what you want.
But unless you have avery good reason and you know what you are doing, it is best to stick with therecommended options.
Remember, don’t choosea version of Windows that you don’t have a valid license key for!
Now confirm that youwant a USB option and not an ISO file.
Click on the USB stickyou want to install it on. If you don’t see it in the list, click the “refreshdrive list” link.
Take extreme cautionthat you pick the right USB device. I almost chose my backup portable hard-diskwhich would have been a catastrophe.
Now Sit Back & Wait….
Your installer programwill now start to be transferred to the USB stick. As the progress screen willsay, you can continue to use your PC while you wait. But my experience was thatthe PC slowed down quite a bit when making the installer.
Either way, it tookabout 15 minutes for it to complete.
What The USB Stick Now Looks Like
Now when you click the USB stick in WindowsExplorer, this is what you will see.
The only file you needto concern yourself with is the “setup.exe” file. When you click on that, itwill open up a Windows installation window, after which you will be promptedfor your license key.