How to Create a Bootable Windows 10 USB in Linux

Brief: This tutorial shows you how to create a bootable Windows 10 USB in Linux with and without a GUI tool called Ventoy.

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.

There are two ways to do that and I have discussed both in this tutorial.

  • The first method is mounting the ISO image of Windows to a USB disk formatted in ExFAT system. This works most of the times but there could be instances where it wouldn’t boot.
  • The second method is to use a tool like Ventoy. It creates a UEFI compatible bootable disk.

Creating a Bootable Windows 10 USB in Linux

How to create 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.

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.

Disks Tool Ubuntu
Disks Tool in Ubuntu

In the Disks tool, make sure to select your USB drive and hit format.

Format USB before creating Windows 10 Bootable USB
Format USB before creating Windows 10 Bootable USB

It will ask to choose a partitioning scheme. It could be either MBR or GPT. Select one of them and hit Format.

Format USB for creating Windows 10 Bootable USB
Choose either of MBR or GPT

It will show you a warning that you data will be erased.

Format USB in Ubuntu Linux
Format the USB

The formatting of USB is not over yet. Now, you need to create a partition on the newly formatted USB.

Create a partition on the formatted USB
Create a partition on the formatted USB

Select the entire USB disk as the partition size.

Creating partition on USB for creating a bootable Windows 10 USB in Ubuntu
Creating partition on USB

Give a name to your USB and hit Create button.

Formatting USB in Ubuntu Linux
Give a name and hit Create

Once done, your USB should be automatically mounted. It is now ready for creating bootable Windows 10 USB disk.

Tip: Files larger than 4 GB?

Newer Windows 10 ISO might have files larger than 4 GB. In that case, FAT filesystem won’t work as it doesn’t allow a single file of size greater than 4 GB.You should then format the USB in ExFAT format.

This newer format allows files bigger than 4 GB. Use this tutorial to learn how to format a USB in ExFAT format in Linux.

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’.

Mount the Windows 10 ISO in Ubuntu
Mount the Windows 10 ISO

In the applications list, select Disk Image Mounter:

Mounting Windows 10 ISO in Ubuntu
Mounting Windows 10 ISO

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.

Windows 10 ISO mounted in Linux
Windows 10 ISO Mounted

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).

Windows 10 Iso Content
Windows 10 ISO Content

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.

Method 2: Create bootable Windows 10 USB using Ventoy

Ventoy is an open source tool for making live USBs. You can use it to create a multi-boot USB, persistent Linux live USB and bootable Windows USB.

I find Ventoy an unorthodox tool. It is slightly tricky to use and this is the reason I am writing this step-by-step tutorial.

Step 1: Prepare your USB drive

Ventoy formats the USB disk while creating the bootable disk. However, I noticed it failed to do so for an already bootable Linux disk. For this reason, I advise you to format the USB disk before you proceed further.

Plug in and then format the USB disk. You can do that by right-clicking on the mounted disk and then selecting the format option.

format usb disk ubuntu linux

It doesn’t matter which filesystem you choose during formatting. It will be formatted again by Ventoy in the later steps.

formatting usb in ubuntu

Once it is formatted, keep it plugged in and go on to the next step of installing Ventoy.

Step 2: Download and install Ventoy on Linux

Ventoy is a mix of GUI and CLI tool. It can be used on any Linux distribution. Download Ventoy for Linux from the release page of its GitHub repository.

You’ll find the .tar.gz file with Linux in its name. This is the file you should download.

download ventoy for linux

Once downloaded, extract the tar gz file. Simply right click on it and extract it.

extract ventoy linux

Go inside the extracted folder, and you’ll find a few scripts in it. You need to run one named VentoyWeb.sh. To do that, you’ll have to use the command line.

Now if you are familiar with Linux command line, I presume that you can easily find your way to the file by using the cd command.

Alternatively, you can use the “open in terminal” feature of the file manager to open the location in a terminal.

open in terminal

Once you are in the correct directory in the terminal, use the following command to run Ventoy:

sudo ./VentoyWeb.sh

Ventoy runs inside a browser. It will give you the URL when you run it. Copy this URL and paste it in a browser.

run ventoy linux

It will open a web page with Ventoy running in it and if the USB is already plugged in, it should recognize it. If not, press the refresh button.

Step 3: Use Ventoy to create bootable Windows 10 USB disk

Though Ventoy has the option to create a bootable disk with secure boot, it is experimental and may not work.

Considering you are going for a UEFI installation, it will be wise use GPT for partitioning scheme.

choose partitioning scheme

Once things are set, hit the install button. It will show you a couple of obligatory warnings. If the installation completes successfully, you should see a success message.

install ventoy on disk

Note: If you do not see Ventoy disk mounted after the successful installation, please plug out the USB and then plug it in again.

When you hit the install button, it creates two partitions on the USB disk.

  • VTOYEFI: A small partition for the UEFI files.
  • Ventoy: A big, empty partition in ExFAT format where you’ll copy the ISO image.
check ventoy partitions

Yes. That’s what you need to do. Copy the ISO image of the Windows 10 into the bigger ExFAT partition on the USB disk.

copy windows iso to ventoy

Once the copying finishes, DO NOT RUSH to plug out the USB just yet. Click on the unmount option from the file manager. Chances are that some files are still being written and it may show an error message.

dont plug out the usb

Wait for a few more minutes and you should see a message that it is safe to remove the disk. Now you can unplug it and use it on whichever system you want.

Step 4: Using the bootable Windows 10 disk

Alright! You are almost there. Plug in your bootable Windows USB you created in the previous section. Start the computer and go to the BIOS setting by using the F2/F10 or F12 key at the time you see the logo of your computer’s manufacturer.

In here, look for the secure boot settings and disable it. If the secure boot is enabled, chances are that your system won’t allow you to boot from the USB disk (to secure your system and data at boot time).

disable secure boot dell system
Disable secure boot in BIOS

After disabling the secure boot, go into the boot order and then choose the UEFI USB Disk to boot from. Some systems will give this option after you press F12 or F10 button.

boot from windows disk ventoy

It takes a couple of minutes to start the Windows disk. You should see a screen like this and it will give you the option to repair boot or install Windows.

booting windows with ventoy
Booting into Windows ISO image with Ventoy

I think you can take things from here. Enjoy it :)

There is another popular tool WoeUSB that can also be used for this purpose.

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.

Booting Windows 10 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.

Booting Windows 10 USB

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 to leave a comment.

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  • This doesn’t work for windows 11, because it contains a file of 4.5 GB. If you choose a file system of FAT for the stick, as suggested above, then this will exceed the maximum file size. So better choose the NTFS file system for the stick.

  • I am really glad I found this page. Ventoy worked like a charm. It was worth the extra effort to create a bootable USB this way. I’ll use Ventoy again.

  • Unfortunately the MS site you link to says my linux machine does not support the ability to download a windows 10 os. Bit of a dead end then if you cant’t even download windows.

  • Hello, I’m an Ubuntu Only PC user and I need some Windows app for school thus need a bootable Windows USB with persistence as I need to read proprietary files formats from teachers and send them my homworks in said formats (and no conversion exist): does your tutorial create such persistent USB à la Windows To Go? Or do I need anotther tutorial for persistence ?

    • Do everything in virtual windows, you don’t need to install win on usb, just setup in linxu virtualbox and install windows in the virtual hdd (a lot of instructions in the net)

  • Abhishek, what a good guide for Me this is. I needed to reinstall/go back to the beginning reset the factory setting on my Acer Swift 3 back to Windows OS for some reasons. I have been using Linux OS but just feel I needed to do this right now. I really loved the way you guided me to do it. Feels easy to follow and I am almost ready to Clean My Slate. Thank you!