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How to install Windows 10 from USB

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How to install Windows 10 from USB: Have you decided to install (or reinstall) Windows 10 on your computer but you don’t have a CD / DVD drive to insert the operating system installation diskette or, even worse, you don’t have the relative support and you don’t know how to get it? Well, given the circumstances, I would say that the best thing to do is to create a USB stick with Windows 10 and use the latter to install the operating system. How? I will explain it to you shortly.

In the following lines, in fact, you will find, in a simple but extremely detailed way, how to install Windows 10 from USB . I tell you right away that it is not absolutely necessary to be a great expert in computer science to succeed in the business: you just need to have a minimum of attention and follow the various instructions step by step. Contraindications? Virtually none. In fact, installing Windows 10 from a pendrive is also faster than the one made by the optical drive, I assure you.

Then? How about finally putting the chatter aside and starting to get busy? Yup? Great. Then position yourself comfortably, take a few free minutes just for yourself and start focusing on reading the following. You will see that in the end, you will achieve your goal brilliantly. Let it bet?

Preliminary operations

Before getting to the heart of the tutorial, going to explain how to install Windows 10 from USB , there are some preliminary operations that I invite you to do, to make sure that there are no hitches. For more details, go well in reading.

Back up your data

Photo of an external hard drive

Before going to install Windows 10 from USB, I invite you first to backup the data currently present on the hard disk of the computer on which you intend to act.

In this way, you will be able to ensure access to your files even after the installation of Windows 10, which would otherwise be irrecoverable (unless you choose to update the current operating system instead of performing a clean installation or to split the PC hard disk into different partitions).

To back up, just use an external hard drive and transfer all your personal files on it, as I explained in detail in my guides dedicated to how to transfer files to external hard disk and how to backup data . If you do not yet have an external hard drive and would like to receive some advice regarding which product of this type to buy, I suggest you consult my buying guide .

Partition the disk

Windows 7 partition

If you want to install Windows 10 without losing the data that is currently saved on the computer and you do not want (or cannot) use an external hard disk, you can consider partitioning the PC disk thus going to create a partition specifically intended for the new copy OS.

To give practical examples, you can create a partition intended only for the operating system and software and take advantage of the remaining disk space to store data or, again, you can evaluate the possibility of dividing the disk to have a partition with the old version Windows and the data currently on the computer and a new partition to host the new copy of the operating system, programs and other data.

To do this, you can use Disk Management , the utility included “standard” in all versions of Windows, which allows you to manage internal and external storage units: to find out more, follow the instructions in my guide on how to partition a hard drive . Alternatively, you can consider taking advantage of third-party software used for the purpose, such as the ones I mentioned in my review on partitioning programs .

Configure the BIOS


Another operation that I invite you to do before installing Windows 10 from USB is to configure the BIOS correctly, changing the boot order of the computer, so that the pendrive is started first and then the OS, then first the USB port where the key is inserted and then the PC hard disk. You can find all the details on how to proceed in my specific guide on how to enter the BIOS .

How to install Windows 10 from USB for free

After completing the various preliminary steps, I would say that you are finally ready to go to the real action and go to find out, therefore, how to install Windows 10 from USB. You find it explained how to proceed right below.

First, though, make sure you have a pendrive with a capacity of at least 8 GB . Otherwise, you can consult my purchase guide dedicated to this type of product , to receive useful information on brands, types, capacity etc. Considering that the key will be formatted , I also suggest you use an empty one or in any case on which files are saved that you have already filed elsewhere.

Install Windows 10 from USB with Media Creation Tool

Microsoft Media Creation Tool

To copy Windows 10 to a USB stick, you must first of all contact the Microsoft Media Creation Tool . It is a software made available by the same company in Redmond that allows you to download the ISO image of Windows 10 and create installation media for the operating system using any version of Windows. It is very simple to use, it is free and requires no installation.

To be able to use them, go to the Microsoft website dedicated to the tool and click on the Download tool now button . When the download is complete, open the .exe file obtained and, in the window that appears on the desktop, click the Yes and Accept buttons .

At this point, select the option Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD or ISO file) for another PC and click again on the Next button (twice in a row). Once this is done, if you intend to use the pendrive on another PC with characteristics other than the one you are using, remove the check in the box Use the recommended options for this PC , then use the appropriate drop-down menus to define the language settings , edition and architecture of the Windows version.

Next, connect the pendrive you want to use to one of the USB ports on the computer, choose the option USB flash drive in the Media Creation Tool screen, click the Next button again , select the pendrive from the list displayed and press the Next button again .

Then wait for Windows 10 to download from the Internet, for the USB stick to be formatted and set as a boot drive, then click the Finish button .

After creating the pendrive with Windows 10, if it is your intention to go to act on the current computer, also leave the key connected and restart the system, while if you have to work on a different location, disconnect the pendrive from the computer in use, insert it in a the USB ports of the PC of your interest and turn it on (or restart it, if it was already running).

Now, boot the USB stick with Windows 10, wait for the screen to start installing the operating system and select the language, time format and currency and keyboard layout , using the appropriate drop-down menus, then click on the Next and Install buttons .

Then choose whether to immediately enter the Windows product key or later, specify the edition of the OS you want to install (if required), click on the Next button , accept the conditions of use , by selecting the appropriate box, and press again on the Next button .

At this point, you must indicate if you want to perform an update of the copy of the current operating system, in order to install Windows 10 from USB without losing data , or if you want to perform a customized installation , formatting the hard disk or installing the OS on a partition.

In this regard, if you thought of changing your old mechanical disk with an SSD, at this stage you can install Windows 10 from USB on a new SSD , choosing the latter as the destination drive. In my tutorial on how to replace hard disk with SSD you can find all the indications on this specific process.

Subsequently, you must follow the instructions provided on the screen in order to perform the chosen procedure and wait for the installation of the operating system to be started and completed.

Once all the above steps have been completed, the PC will restart and, after following the simple initial configuration process that will be proposed to you, during which you will have to specify whether the PC is intended for personal or business use, you will have to carry out the log in with your Microsoft account or create a local one and adjust the rest of your preferences, you will be shown the desktop and you can finally start using Windows 10. For more details, you can consult my specific guide on how to install Windows 10 .

Install Windows 10 from USB with Rufus


As an alternative to the tool officially offered by Microsoft, you can consider installing Windows 10 from USB with Rufus . In case you have never heard of it, I inform you that it is an application thanks to which it is possible to download the ISO image of Windows 10 (as well as Linux operating systems) and create a bootable pendrive to use to carry out OS installation. It’s free and it’s also available in a no-install variant.

To download it to your computer, go to the relevant website and click on the Rufus xx Portable link found in the Download section .

When the download is complete, open the .exe file obtained and, in the window you see appear on the desktop, click on the Yes button . Subsequently, you consent to the search for any available updates, by clicking again on the Yes button , connect the pendrive you intend to use for the installation of Windows 10 to one of the USB ports on the computer and make sure that it is selected in the Device / drive drop-down menu located at the top of the screen of Rufus (otherwise you provide).

Then select the Download option from the drop-down menu next to the check mark and click on it. In the new window that is shown to you, make sure that Windows 10 is selected from the drop-down menu (if not, provide it yourself) and click on the Continue button .

At this point, use the additional drop-down menus that you see to select the relase , the exact version of the operating system to download and the language of the same, by clicking on the Continue button from time to time . Then select the architecture and click on the Download button .

Once the procedure for downloading the ISO file is completed, choose the option Disc image or ISO (select) from the drop-down menu under the item Boot selection and click on the Select adjacent button , so as to select the Windows 10 image file to be copied on the stick.

To conclude, check that the option Windows standard installation is set in the Image Options wording (otherwise always do it yourself), press the Start and OK buttons and wait for the pendrive bootable with Windows 10 to be created.

Then, proceed with the installation of the operating system on your computer or on a different PC, following the instructions I provided you in the previous step relating to Media Creation Tool , absolutely nothing changes.

How to install Windows 10 from USB on Mac

Apple Boot Camp

Do you own an Apple brand computer and would you like to understand if there is any system to be able to install Windows 10 from USB on Mac ? The answer is yes. In this case, in fact, you can install Windows on Mac in dual-boot (therefore choosing at each computer startup which operating system to use), through Apple Boot Camp , a “standard” utility of macOS designed for the purpose.

More precisely, Boot Camp downloads all the drivers necessary for Windows operation from the Internet, copies the ISO image of the operating system to a USB stick and creates the useful partition to install it on the Mac hard disk For more details, you can consult my specific tutorial on how to install Windows on Mac .