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Microsoft makes it easy lớn create a bootable USB Flash drive sầu for Windows 10. This nifty little all-purpose tool works to lớn install whichever Windows 10 version it contains. Because it’s bootable, it also serves quite nicely as a bootable recovery drive, should you be unable lớn start .

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That means you can instruct your PC to boot lớn the USB drive by interrupting the normal boot sequence. Then, by targeting this drive as your boot source, you can run the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) it contains khổng lồ conduct repairs on any Windows 10 PC or vì a fresh install (see how to lớn get Windows 10 for miễn phí or cheap). This is extremely handy when a PC experiences a BSOD or won’t boot and you need to lớn fix the problem or access files on the boot drive.

Meet the Microsoft Media Creation Tool (aka MCT)

In order to create a bootable Windows 10 USB drive, you need lớn get Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool (MCT).

1. Insert a blank USB Flash drive inlớn your PC. It needs lớn be at least 8GB. If it’s not blank, note that it will be overwritten.

Grab the Media Creation Tool from the Download Windows 10 page to build bootable recovery truyền thông media. (Image credit: Tom"s Hardware)

This downloads a tệp tin named MediaCreationTool.exe pháo to lớn your Downloads thư mục. I usually rename this file to include the Windows Version at the end of the string, so it becomes MediaCreationTool21H1.exe cộ. Insert a blank or reusable USB flash drive into lớn an open USB port on your PC, and run this tool. First it tells you it’s “Getting a few things ready.” This can take a minute or two, so be patient.

4. Cliông chồng Accept when prompted. The MCT will continue on “Getting a few things” ready.

Cliông xã Accept so you can put the MCT khổng lồ work building bootable recovery truyền thông media. (Image credit: Tom"s Hardware)

5. Select “Create installation truyền thông …” và click Next.

Be sure to cliông chồng “Creation installation media” or you’ll upgrade the PC you’re working on. (Image credit: Tom"s Hardware)

6. Choose the language, edition & architecture to match the target PC (the one you want to fix). Most of the time the defaults from your working PC will match those of your target PC, so you can stiông xã with them unchanged as in Figure 4.

For most users, the defaults shown will work. Change only if necessary. (Image credit: Tom"s Hardware)

7. Select USB Flash drive. If you choose ISO, you will later need lớn write the ISO lớn a Flash drive sầu so this saves a step.

To create a bootable USB for recovery, choose the upper radio button (USB). (Image credit: Tom"s Hardware)

8. Select your USB Flash drive from the storage device menu.Warning! All contents will be overwritten. As you can see in Figure 6, I have numerous USB drives on my PC, và I’ll be recycling a drive which has bootable truyền thông for older Windows Version 1709. Once you’ve sầu selected your destination drive, clichồng Next.

I piông chồng Drive sầu 0: which contains bootable Win10 version 1709. (Image credit: Tom"s Hardware)

The MCT will tải về a fresh copy of the installation files for Windows 10 lớn your local C: drive. This usually involves 4-5 GB of material, so it can take a while lớn complete. On my system, it took about 2 minutes thanks to a gigabit Ethernet connection via Spectrum. A progress indicator counts you through the download process.

As the material for Windows 10 downloads, MCT reports progress in percentages. (Image credit: Tom"s Hardware)

Once the counter gets lớn 100%, it then verifies the tải về & counts through its kiểm tra in percentages there as well. I’ll skip the screencap of this step. Once it hits 100% - this process can take a minute or two – then the MCT writes the contents of the USB drive. When that’s done you’ll see a “ready” report like the one shown in Figure 8. Cliông xã Finish lớn complete the process và cchiến bại the MCT.

When the MCT writes the bootable files lớn the drive sầu, it tells you it’s ready. (Image credit: Tom"s Hardware)

The process concludes with a brief cleanup to lớn get rid of temporary files & other detritus. Then the MCT exits. Now, you’ve sầu got a brand-new, ready-to-use bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10 21H1 (or whatever version is current as you read this).

Booting Your Windows 10 Install USB

As a Windows PC is booting, you may be able to interrupt the boot sequence before the Windows loader gets going by striking a function or special key on that machine. On my newer Lenovo PCs, the BIOS tells me that striking the proverbial “any” key will interrupt initial boot-up. If I take that route, I must then strike the F12 function key to get to an alternate boot menu.

If you can boot into lớn Windows, you can force your PC to lớn boot off the USB drive on restart. If you cliông xã through Start 🡪 Settings 🡪 Update và Security 🡪 Recovery 🡪 Advanced Startup 🡪 Restart Now, your PC will restart immediately and offer the Recovery environment as an option upon start-up. Either way, as long as you’ve got the USB drive plugged inkhổng lồ a USB port as the system restarts, you will then be able khổng lồ boot from that device into lớn WinRE. If you boot to lớn this drive sầu, you can also use it khổng lồ perform a clean install of Windows 10 on your PC by running thiết đặt.exe cộ from the drive’s root folder. It will take over from there.

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On the other hand, if you want to, you can upgrade your PC to lớn whichever version of Windows 10 is present on your USB flash drive sầu. Simply run thiết lập.exe from the root folder lớn launch the nâng cấp process, và the software will take it from there.