A Windows 11 bootable USB drive is always a good thing to have, even if it’s just for emergencies. Here’s how to make one.
If you have a Windows 11 bootable USB drive, you can use it to cleanly install your operating system or perform an upgrade. The bootable USB drive also helps you troubleshoot your PC and properly install Windows on multiple PCs when you are offline.
Microsoft makes it easy to create installation media with its media creation tool. Besides, you can also use Rufus and Command Prompt to create one. This guide shows you the three different ways to create a USB flash drive installer for Windows 11.
Before you begin: how to download the Windows 11 ISO image
To successfully create a Windows 11 USB bootable drive, you will need a Windows 11 ISO file, also known as an ISO image. As such, it’s a good idea to sort that out before moving on to the three ways to create a Windows 11 USB drive.
Here’s how to download the Windows 11 ISO to your PC.
- Visit Microsoft’s official page to download Windows 11.
- Scroll to Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) section.
- Click on the drop-down menu and select Windows 11.
- Then click on the To download button to continue.
- The current page will load additional information and display the Select product language section. Click the drop-down menu to Choose one and select your preferred language. Then click To confirm Carry on.
- When the download section loads, click the 64-bit download button.
- Your download will begin immediately. However, it may take a while for the download to finish, depending on your internet speed.
Once the ISO file is downloaded, follow one of the methods below to create a Windows 11 bootable USB drive.
1. How to Create Bootable Windows 11 USB Flash Drive with Rufus
Rufus is an open source utility to format and create bootable USB drive for Windows operating system. Follow these steps to create a Windows 11 USB drive using Rufus.
- Visit the Rufus website and scroll to To download section.
- Click on the Rufus Link to download the latest version.
- Run the executable file and click Yes if prompted by UAC.
- Connect your USB stick to your PC and wait for Rufus to detect it and display it under the Device section.
- Click the drop-down menu to Start Selection and select Disc or ISO image.
- Then click on the TO SELECT button.
- Select the Windows ISO file and click Open.
- Click on the drop-down menu under the Image option and select Standard installation of Windows 11 (TPM 2.0 + secure boot).
- Otherwise, select Extended installation of Windows 11 (no TPM / no secure boot) to create a bootable drive for an unsupported system. This will ignore the system requirements during installation.
- Leave on Partition scheme (GPT) and Target system (UEFI) by default.
- Below Volume label, enter a name for your USB flash drive.
- Leave on File system and Cluster size, and other default options.
- Make sure the Quick format and Create extended label and icon files the option is checked.
- Click it To start up button to start the process of creating the bootable drive.
Once done, Rufus will display a success message. After that, you can use the Windows 11 boot drive to install the operating system on a compatible system.
Media Creation Tool is Microsoft’s in-house solution for creating installation media. Follow these steps to create a bootable USB drive or DVD using the media creation tool:
- Connect your USB stick of at least 8 GB to your PC. Make sure it is detected and that you have made a backup of all files on your USB drive.
- Then visit the Microsoft Download Center page.
- Under the Create Windows 11 installation media heading, click on the Download now button and save the file to your PC.
- Then run the MediacreationtoolW11.exe file and click Yes if prompted by UAC. It may take a few seconds for the tool to launch, so wait until you see the Configuration wizard.
- Click it Accept button to accept the conditions.
- The media creation tools will automatically select the Editing and Language. To change the language, uncheck Use the recommended options for this PC box.
- Choose your options and click Following.
- In the Choose the media to use window, select USB key to drive.
- Click it Following button.
- Select your USB drive from the list of available drives.
- Click it Following button to continue.
- Then click on the To finish button.
- The Media Creation Tool will now download the necessary Windows 11 files and create installation media. It may take a while, so feel free to grab some coffee while you wait.
When the message Your USB key is ready appears, click on the button. To finish button to close the configuration wizard. You can now boot from the USB drive to troubleshoot or clean up the Windows 11 installation.
3.How to Create Bootable Drive Using Command Prompt
If you don’t want to use a third-party tool to create a bootable drive, you can use the Diskpart utility and the command prompt to create installation media. Here’s how to do it.
- First, take a backup of all files on your USB drive and then connect it to your PC.
- press the To earn key, type cmd, and click on Execute as administrator below Command Prompt. You can also use PowerShell if you prefer at the command prompt.
- In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter to launch the Windows Disk Part utility.
- Then type the following command to list all available storage devices:
- Here, locate your USB drive. You can watch the Size column to determine your USB drive. In this case, the USB flash drive is listed as Disc 2.
- Then type the following command to select your drive:
SEL DISK 2
- In the above command, change DISC 2 with the number assigned to your USB key. For example, if you have only one SSD or SATA drive configuration, your primary drive will show as DISC 0 and USB stick like DISC 1. It’s from it is extremely important that you choose the right reader because the next step is to clean the selected drive.
- Then type the following command and press Enter to erase all contents of the drive:
- Then type the following command to create a primary partition:
Create Partition Primary
- Then type the following command to select the primary partition:
- The command prompt will display the details of your USB drive.
- Type the following command and press Enter to activate the partition:
- Then type the following command to format the USB drive. It is important to format the drive as NTFS as FAT32 format will cause incorrect parameter error.
FORMAT FS=NTFS LABEL=“BootableUSB” QUICK OVERRIDE
- When finished, type To go out and press Enter to exit the Disk Part utility.
- You will now need to mount the ISO image and then move its contents to your USB drive.
- To do this, type the following command and press Enter to mount the Windows 11 ISO file:
PowerShell Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:UsersUserNameDownloadsWin11_English_x64v1.iso"
- In the above command, replace the file path with the location of your Windows 11 ISO.
- Once the ISO is mounted, type the following command to start Diskpart.
- Then type the following command to display the available volume.
- This will help you determine the drive letter for the mounted ISO file. In the Column Type, the mounted ISO will be listed as DVD ROM. And the Ltr column lists the letter associated with the volume. Write down the details of the ISO volume as you will use it in the future.
- Once you have the volume details for the mounted ISO, type the following command to exit Diskpart:
- Next, type the letter of the mounted ISO volume and press Enter. For example, if your mounted ISO volume letter is J, then type the following command and press Enter.
- Type the following command to boot from CD:
- Then type the following command to apply the Bootmgr compatible master boot code to the USB stick:
Bootsect /nt60 I:
- In the above command, replace I with the drive letter associated with your USB key.
- Then type the following command and press Enter to copy the Windows 11 system files to the USB drive:
xcopy J:*.* I: /E /F /H
- In the above command, replace K: and I: with your ISO volume mounted and USB key letter, respectively.
- The process may take 5-10 minutes. If the Command Prompt appears to be stuck, this is normal behavior, so wait for the process to complete.
- If successful, you will see a Copied file (s) message.
That’s it. You can now use the USB boot drive to clean up the Windows 11 installation.
Multiple Ways to Create Bootable Windows 11 USB Flash Drive
With its media creation tool, Microsoft makes it easy to create installation media. However, if you have a Windows 11 ISO image ready, you can use Rufus or the command prompt to quickly create a bootable Windows 11 USB drive. You can use it to clean up Windows 11 installation on a new PC, Troubleshoot your Windows computer or duplicate Windows 10 with Windows 11.
If you want to try Windows 11 without removing Windows 10, why not double boot them both? Here’s how to do it.
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