Operating System

Carry Your Operating System Anywhere: How to Install Windows 10 on USB Flash Drive

Installing Windows 10 is still something that everyone wants to use. Here in this article, we will tell you how to install Windows 10 on USB flash drive. Actually, we will cover how to manually create a Windows installation USB drive form Windows installation ISO disc image file or DVD. It is useful to use a USB flash drive when your computer doesn’t have a CD drive or in the situation that you don’t have an operating system installation disc.

What you need to do so:

  • You need a Windows installation media as an installation ISO or DVD.
  • Use a USB flash drive with at least 5GB free space that this drive will be formatted. Ensure that it doesn’t have any important files on it.
  • You also need a Technician PC to format the USB flash drive.
  • Use a Destination PC that you will install Windows on.

To install Windows 10 on a USB flash drive, follow the steps below:

  1. Connect the USB flash drive to your technician PC.
  2. Right-click on Start.
  3. Select Disk Management.
  4. Right-click on the USB drive partition.
  5. Select Format.
  6. Choose the FAT32 file system to boot both BIOS-based or UEFI-based PCs.

Note: FAT32 has a limitation in size of around 4GB if your WIM image is larger than 4GB. If your Windows image is larger than 4GB, see blow:

  1. Right-click the USB drive partition.
  2. Select Mark Partition as Active.

Note: If Mark Partition as Active is not available, you can use diskpart instead to choose the partition and mark it as an active.

  • Choose File Explorer to copy and paste the whole contents of the Windows product DVD or ISO to the USB flash drive.
  • Optional: You can add an unattend file to automate the process of installation.
  • Connect the USB flash drive to a new PC.
  • Turn on the PC.
  • Press the key that opens the boot-device selection menu for the computer, such as the Esc/F10/F12 keys.
  • Choose the option that boots the PC from the USB flash drive.

Now, Windows Setup starts.

  1. Remove the USB flash drive.

Note: If the Windows image is larger than 4GB Windows USB install drives are formatted as FAT32, which has a 4GB limitation of filesize.

If your image is larger than the filesize limit:

  1. Copy everything except the Windows image file (sources\install.wim) to the USB drive. You can drag or drop, or use this command, where D: is the mounted ISO and E: is the USB flash drive.


robocopy D: E: /s /max:3800000000

Split the Windows image file into smaller files, and put the smaller files onto the USB drive:


Dism /Split-Image /ImageFile:D:\sources\install.wim /SWMFile:E:\sources\install.swm /FileSize:3800

Note: Windows Setup installs from this file automatically, so long as you name it install.swm.

How to Create the Installation Flash Drive for Windows 10?

To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. You should check the computer’s architecture number. Before downloading the installation tool for your preferred operating system, you should know whether your computer, which you want to install Windows runs a 32-bit system or a 64-bit system is on or not.

Note: You should ensure that you do it on the computer that you want to install.

  • You must have at least an 8-GB flash drive for its installation file.
    • Connect the flash drive to your computer. Your flash drive should fit to one of your computer’s rectangular USB port.
    • You should format the flash drive to FAT32 or exFAT.
    • After formatting your flash drive, select the File System drop-down box.
    • Select FAT32 or exFAT in the drop-down mwnu.

Note: After formatting your flash drive, everything will be erased.

  • Go to the Windows 10 download page.
    • Select Download Tool Now at the bottom of the page.
    • Click on the MediaCreationTool EXE file.
    • Select Yes when asked you.
    • Accept any terms.
    • Fill out any on-screen sections until you get to the installation section.
    • Run the installation tool.
    •  You will be asked to select a language, an edition of Windows, and an architecture for the process of the setup.

Note: Ensure to use the same architecture.

  1. After opening the installation section of the Media Creation Tool window, select Create Installation Media.
    1. Select Next.
    1. Choose your computer’s language, edition and architecture.
    1. Hit Next.
    1. Choose the flash drive’s name.
    1. Select Next.
    1. Wait for the flash drive setup to complete which takes several minutes.

Note: after all of the setup files have downloaded or pasted into the flash drive, you can continue with changing your computer’s boot order.

How to Change Computer’s Boot Order?

To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Enter the computer that you want to install Windows.

Note: If you try to install a new version of Windows on your existing computer, skip this step.

  • Connect your USB flash drive.
  • Select Start.
  • Select Power.
  • Select Restart.

Note: If your computer is off, press the power to turn it on and go to the next step. If your computer is on, you should restart before continuing.

  • Press the computer’s BIOS key rapidly when the computer’s setup screen spears. Your computer’s BIOS key will be different depending on the manufacturer, but it is usually function keys like F2. Esc, or Del.

Note: You can check your computer’s BIOS key online or manually.

Note: Many systems will flash a Press key to Enter Setup message at the bottom of the screen as your computer is starting up, which is the key that you should press.

Note: If your system finished the restart cycle, you will need to restart it and try again.

  • Find the Boot Order section that it is usually in the Advanced or Advanced Options tab, but each BIOS menu is different.

Note: The Boot Order section will have a list of different startup locations like your hard drive’s name and also your CD drive.

  • Choose your flash drive’s name. You should use the arrow keys, move the highlight bar down until it is covering the flash driver’s name.

Note: For some computers, you should choose Removable Storage or Removable Drivers.

  • Move the flash drive to the top of the list by pressing the + key until the flash drive comes at the top. You should check the legend at the bottom or on the side of the BIOS screen to check whether you have different controls.
  • Save changes.
  • Exit the BIOS.

Note: You might need to press another key to confirm this decision.

  1. Restart your system if it is essential. In the case that your system doesn’t greet you with a Press Any Key screen and finished the restart cycle, restart it again to boot from the flash drive, which will launch the Windows setup process.

How to Install Windows?

To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Press any key when it asked you to do so. You should press any key on your computer’s keyboard to continue with the Windows installation.
  2. Choose the language and region.

Note: You may be asked to click on keyboard settings here.

  • Hit Next in the lower-right corner of the page.
  • Go to the product key. When it asked, type the product key that come with your system or installation disk.
  • Hit Next.

Note: On Windows 10, select Install Now first. In this part, select Skip to skip the product key entry.

  • Agree to the term by checking the I Agree box.
  • Hit Next.
  • Click on a Custom Installation. You should check the Custom box.
  • Hit Next.
  • Choose an installation partition. Click on the partition that you want to install Windows on it, and confirm your choice.

Note: Sometimes you may need to choose an empty partition.

  1. Hit Next to begin the installation process.  
  2. Wait for the Windows to finish installing. In this part, your system might restart a few times during the process, and the installation might take several times to over an hour, which depends on your computer’s speed.
  3. Follow the on-screen instruction after the installation is complete. Now you will be prompted to set up a few more preference like your language, email address, account name, etc. before you start using the Windows.

How to Install Windows 10 on USB Flash Drive by Hasleo WinToUSB?

To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Connect the USB flash drive to your computer.
  2. Download, install and run Hasleo WinToUSB.
  3. Select Windows To Go USB.
  4. Hit Select Installation Source.
  5. Select Browse Image File.
  6. Choose the Windows 10 Installation ISO File from the open dialog box as installation source.
  7. Select CD/DVD drive with a Windows installation DVD which is inserted as the installation source.

Note: If you don’t have a Windows 10 installation ISO, first download it.

  • After Hasleo WinToUSB scans for and lists installable operating systems. Click the edition of Windows you want to install.
  • Hit Select Destination Drive from the drive list.

Note: If Hasleo WinToUSB does not recognize the drive, you can select the refresh drive list button to recognize the drive.

  1. Select the partition scheme and installation mode you want to use.
  2. Specify additional drivers or enable BitLocker to encrypt the Windows To Go USB drive according to your needs.
  3. Select Proceed.

Note: For better compatibility when creating Windows To Go using a USB flash drive, we recommend you using the VHD/VHDX installation mode.

Note: If you select Keep the Existing Partition Scheme, you should manually prepare the partitions on the USB drive before this step.  

  1. A new window will appear and ask you whether you want it to continue, select Yes if, you are sure.
  2. Now, WinToUSB starts installing Windows to the destination drive.
  3. It takes some time to install. After that restart your system and change BIOS to boot from your USB drive.
  4. Windows 10 normal installation starts and you have to complete all the installation steps.
  5. Now, install the programs, copy files, etc.


Installing Windows 10 on a USB flash drive is not a difficult task. Here, we presented all you may need to do so. Have you ever tried any of the methods above? Do you know any other method? Share your ideas with us.

Reyhane A

Reyhane is an author and technology enthusiast who has a passion for writing about Windows tips and tricks. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Reyhane always had an interest in technology, which led her to pursue a degree in computer engineering from the University of Tehran. After completing her studies, Reyhane began working as a software engineer, where she gained a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field of technology. She soon discovered her love for writing, and began sharing her knowledge with others through her blog. Reyhane's blog quickly gained popularity, and she became known as an expert in the field of Windows tips and tricks. Her articles are known for being clear, concise, and easy to understand, making them accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of technical expertise. Today, Reyhane continues to share her knowledge with the world through her blog and YouTube channel, where she provides tips and tricks for Windows users to help them optimize their computer's performance and get the most out of their technology. In addition to her passion for technology, Reyhane enjoys traveling, photography, and spending time with her family and friends. She is also an avid reader and is always on the lookout for new books to add to her collection. Reyhane's dedication to her work and her love for technology have made her a respected figure in the industry, and she continues to inspire and educate others through her writing and online content.

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