Need to install a fresh copy of Windows? Booting Windows 10 (and Windows 7) from a USB stick is straightforward. Within minutes, you can have a brand new version of Windows installed on your PC, laptop, or media center.

Here’s everything there is to know about installing a fresh copy of Windows 10 from a bootable USB stick.

Why boot Windows installation from USB?

If your spare PC doesn’t have an optical drive, or you’re out of DVDs, a bootable USB stick is ideal.

After all, a USB stick is portable, and you can guarantee it’s compatible with every desktop and laptop computer out there. While some computers may not have a DVD drive, they all have a USB port.

Installing Windows 10 from a USB stick is also faster. A USB drive can be made bootable faster than an optical drive; It also installs the operating system quickly.

To install Windows 7 or Windows 10 from a USB stick, it must have at least 16GB of storage. Before proceeding, make sure that your USB flash drive is formatted.

Making Sure the USB Stick Has UEFI Boot Support

Before downloading a bootable Windows installation image, it is important to know the difference between UEFI and BIOS.

Older PCs rely on the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) to boot the operating system and manage data between the operating system and devices. For the past decade, UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) has replaced the BIOS, adding support for older ones. UEFI can aid in PC diagnosis and repair without additional software or media.

Fortunately, the most common way to install Windows 10 USB supports UEFI and legacy BIOS hardware. So, whichever option you choose, it should work for your hardware.

Creating a Windows 10 Bootable USB

Before proceeding, insert your formatted USB flash stick into your PC or laptop.

Ready to Install Windows 10? While several methods exist, the easiest way to do this is by using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

To grab it, head over to the Microsoft Download Windows 10 page, and click on the Download tool now.

Save the tool to your computer. It’s about 20MB, so it shouldn’t take long on a fast connection. Note that the creation of a bootable Windows 10 USB installer requires an internet connection.

Create Bootable USB Installer for Windows 10

Once downloaded, launch the Media Creation Tool and click Accept when prompted. Then follow the steps given below to create your own bootable USB installer for Windows 10.

This last step prompts the download of the Windows 10 installation files.

Wait until the bootable USB Windows 10 installer is created. How long it will take will depend on your internet speed. Several gigabytes of data will be installed. If you don’t have a fast internet connection at home, consider downloading from a library or your workplace.

Installing Windows 10 with a Bootable USB Drive

With the installation media created, you are ready to install Windows 10 from USB. As the USB drive is now bootable, simply remove it from your PC, then insert it into the target device.

Turn on the computer you are installing Windows 10 on and wait for the USB drive to be detected. If it doesn’t, reboot, this time pressing the key to access the UEFI/BIOS or boot menu. Make sure the USB device is detected, then select it as the primary boot device.

The subsequent reboot should detect the Windows 10 installation media. You are now ready to install Windows 10, so start the installation wizard.

Once you’ve worked through the wizard,
Windows 10 will be installed. Note that some installation may continue even after you log in, so be patient. It is also worth checking for Windows Update (Settings > Update & security > Windows Update) after installation. This ensures that you are running the latest version of Windows 10.

how to install windows 7 from bootable usb drive

So, that was all about setting up your Windows 10.

But what if you’ve had enough Windows 10? If you have a valid license for Windows 7, you can also install it from a bootable USB drive.

The process is largely the same, although for older PCs you won’t need to worry about UEFI support. Windows 7 is a great choice for new PCs in terms of being comparatively lightweight. However, support for the operating system ends in January 2020. Therefore, you should make sure that you upgrade to a more secure operating system when the time comes.

See our complete guide to installing Windows 7 from a bootable USB drive for details.

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