How To: Create a Windows 10 bootable disk or USB

Unlike previous OS versions, upgrading to Windows 10 is free for all Windows 8.1 and 7 users (for the first year, of course). While this is great, especially since the upgrade is simple enough that anyone can do it, not all is perfect.

Firstly, the upgrade is performed via an Internet connection so a) it’s not a fresh install, but actually a system update and b) there is no physical copy of Windows 10 (like a bootable disk or USB).

Those who want to perform a fresh install of Windows 10 have stumbled across this problem, but luckily there is a way to create an installation disk for it, and we’ll show you how to do it below.

Upgrade to Windows 10

There is no way to directly install Windows 10 from a bootable disk on a PC running Windows 7 or 8.1 so the first thing you need to do is to perform the free upgrade (it’s right there in your notification area). This is the only way you can activate Windows 10 (since it doesn’t have an activation key) so this step is not optional.

Even if you’re not a power user, don’t worry – the setup is very easy and you’ll be taken through it step by step. Nevertheless, if you’re still a bit nervous about performing the upgrade yourself give Win10Wizard a try. This tool provides a handy Windows 10 upgrade guide you might find useful and a bunch of other cool features that can come in handy after you make the switch.

As long as your copy of Windows 7. or 8.1 is already activated with a product key, the credentials will be transferred to Windows 10 during the upgrade process.

Install Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool

Microsoft is offering their Media Creation Tool application for everyone that wants to create an installation disk or USB for Windows 10 so go ahead and download it directly from the link below or visit this page and click on the ‘Download tool now‘ button at the bottom of the page.

Download Microsoft Media Creation Tool (direct download)

To continue, install the tool like you would any other application.

Create a Windows 10 bootable disk or USB

1. Media Creation Tool - Create Windows 10 bootable disk

Assuming you’ve already installed the Microsoft Media Creation Tool, run the application. You will be presented with two options but for the purpose of this guide, select “Create installation media for another PC” and hit the “Next” button to continue.

2. Media Creation Tool - Create Windows 10 bootable disk

On the next screen, you can customize the language, OS edition and architecture (64 or 32-bit) for your Windows 10 installation. Be aware these fields are already completed based on the traits of your current Windows edition and in most cases you can leave them untouched. Nevertheless, you can check them to see if they are correct then click on the “Next” button again.

Note: If before the upgrade your computer was running Windows 7 or 8.1 Home edition or any other edition except Pro, make sure Windows 10 is entered in the Edition box (meaning the Home edition of Windows 10).  If you had a licensed Pro version of Windows 7 or 8.1 then you need to select Windows 10 Pro edition in the Media Creation Tool.

3. Media Creation Tool - Create Windows 10 bootable disk

Then, you’ll be asked to select the type of installation media you want to create. If you want to create a bootable DVD select the “ISO file” option and if you are using a USB to create your Windows 10 installation select “USB flash drive“. Of course, in either case, you need to insert the DVD into your computer or connect your USB to proceed with the setup. Click the ‘Next‘ button when you’re done.

4. Media Creation Tool - Create Windows 10 bootable disk

On the following screen, you will need to chose the disc (or drive) that points to the type of media (DVD or USB) you just selected. As soon as you click “Next“, the application will start to create the installation files. Be aware it may take about 15-20 minutes for the process to complete.

How to use a Windows 10 bootable DVD or USB flash drive

Now that you have your installation disk, you’ll need to enter BIOS when your system starts in order to boot from it. To enter BIOS in Windows 10 go to Settings -> Update and security -> Recovery. In the Advanced Startup menu, click on “Restart now”. Then, your computer will start into Recovery mode and display a menu where you can select how your system boots.