Brief: This tutorial shows you how to create a bootable Windows 10 USB in Linux with and without a GUI tool called WoeUSB.
I have talked a lot about creating bootable USB of Linux in Windows. How about the other way round? How about creating a bootable Windows 10 USB in Linux?
If you are uninstalling Linux from dual boot or if you want to reinstall Windows completely or you simply want to have a Windows installation disk ready, you’ll need a bootable Windows 10 USB or DVD.
In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to create a Windows 10 bootable USB in Linux. I am using Ubuntu for this tutorial but the steps should be valid for other Linux distributions as well.
If you want to use WoeUSB graphical tool for creating Windows bootable USB, you can jump to that section directly. Personally, I don’t recommend WoeUSB.
Creating a Bootable Windows 10 USB in Linux
Prerequisite: Get Microsoft Windows 10 ISO and a USB of at least 8 GB in size
You can download Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft’s website. You have to specify the Windows 10 version, language and then you should see the link to download Windows 10.
Note that the Windows 10 ISO download link is valid for 24 hours only. So use a download manager in Linux to download the ~5.6 GB file and finish it within 24 hours only.
Since the ISO and its content are more than 4 GB in size, I recommend a USB of at least 8 GB in size.
I have also made a video of this tutorial so that you can see the steps in action.
Step 2: Properly format the USB for creating bootable Windows USB
Insert your USB. You have to format it so make sure that you don’t have important data on the USB key.
In Ubuntu, press Super key (Windows key) and search for ‘Disks’. You have to use this tool to format the USB key.
In the Disks tool, make sure to select your USB drive and hit format.
It will ask to choose a partitioning scheme. It could be either MBR or GPT. Select one of them and hit Format.
It will show you a warning that you data will be erased.
The formatting of USB is not over yet. Now, you need to create a partition on the newly formatted USB.
Select the entire USB disk as the partition size.
Give a name to your USB and hit Create button.
Once done, your USB should be automatically mounted. It is now ready for creating bootable Windows 10 USB disk.
Step 3: Copy the content of the ISO to USB
Now it’s time to copy the content of the Windows 10 ISO to the newly formatted USB.
You may ask, Abhishek, there is only one file and that is the ISO file itself. What are you talking about?
ISO is basically an archive format and you can see it’s content like any zip file in Linux. But to do that, you need to use ‘Disk Image Mounter’ tool that is installed by default in Ubuntu.
Go to your Windows 10 ISO, select it and right click on it. Now select ‘Open with other application’.
In the applications list, select Disk Image Mounter:
The ISO will be mounted. You may not see it in the left sidebar but if you click on the Other Locations, you should see it. Click on it to enter this mounted ISO folder.
You’ll see its content. All you need to do is to select all the files (Ctrl+A), copy it (Ctrl+C) and paste it in the USB drive (Ctrl+V).
Wait for the copying process to finish as it may take some time in copying 4-5 GB of data. Once it’s done, you have a bootable Windows 10 USB in your hand. Take out the USB and use it to any system you want, restart the system and change the boot settings to boot from the USB.
Alternate Method: Creating Windows 10 bootable USB in Linux using WoeUSB
You can also use a Graphical tool called WoeUSB for creating a bootable Windows USB in Linux. However, this tool might not work perfectly all the time. This is why I prefer the first method of mounting the Windows 10 ISO and copying its content to the USB.
If you are interesting in using WoeUSB, you can click on the next section to expand it and follow the steps.
Windows 10 bootable USB using WoeUSB (Click to expand)
You can also watch a video of creating Windows 10 bootable USB. Do subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos:
Let’s see how to create a bootable Windows 10 USB in Ubuntu and other Linux distribution.
Step 1: Install WoeUSB application
WoeUSB is a free and open source application for creating Windows 10 bootable USB. It is actually a fork of WinUSB tool that has been discontinued now.
Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based Linux distributions such as Linux Mint, elementary OS etc have a PPA available. You can use the command below to install WoeUSB:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8 sudo apt update sudo apt install woeusb
For other Linux distributions, you can check out the source code from the GitHub repository:
Step 2: Format USB drive
Now, plug in your USB key. You’ll have to format it first. I presume you know how to format a USB key in your Linux distribution.
Ubuntu users can simply right click on the USB and click format.
The important part here is that you should format it in NTFS:
Note: If you use Fat 32 file system for formatting, you may encounter the error below later on:
Step 3: Using WoeUSB to create bootable Windows 10
We have everything ready for us now. Start WoeUSB program.
Browse to the downloaded Windows 10 ISO file and select the USB drive on which you want to install it. Just click on Install to begin the process.
Note that it may take up to 15 minutes in creating the Windows 10 USB. Don’t get fooled by the ‘done’ on the screen.
That’s it. You should see a success message.
Step 4: Using Windows 10 bootable USB
Once the bootable USB is ready, restart your system. At boot time, press F2 or F10 or F12 repeatedly to go to the boot settings. In here, select to boot from USB.
You’ll see that Windows 10 is being booted and it gives you the option to install or repair your system. You know what to do now from here.
I hope you find this tutorial useful for creating bootable USB of Windows 10 in Linux. If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free leave a comment.