How to Prepare or Create Windows 10 Bootable USB on Linux

May.23, 2019 16:13. Posted by to Tutorials
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Creating Windows 10 bootable USB can be easy on a Linux machine if you have the right tools. Doing this requires a combination of command line inputs in Terminal and certain GUI apps to format the USB drive for Windows 10. This article shows you the entire process of creating a Windows 10 bootable USB in Ubuntu, but it will work on most other Linux distributions. For Mac users, you can follow the steps in this tutorial to create a Windows 10 bootable USB on Mac.

 

This particular example uses Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus, but it's very similar to what you'd do on more recent versions like 18.04.2 LTS Bionic Beaver or 19.04 Disco Dingo because the underlying tools are pretty much the same. We're also assuming that your Windows 10 target device runs UEFI firmware.

 

The first step is to get your ISO file for Windows 10. We recommend getting the April 2018 update because the October 2018 one can't be moved to a FAT32 partition on your USB drive. Be sure to execute this step on the same or different Linux machine rather than Windows, since the latter will take you to the Media Creation Tool, not directly to the ISO download, which is what you need.

Create Windows 10 Bootable USB on Linux via GUI (Lagacy Boot)

If you want to create bootable Windows 10 USB for legacy BIOS, you can use another utility called WoeUSB. The challenge here is that you will first need to compile the software unless you're using Ubuntu 14.04/16.04/17.04. Since we're using Ubuntu 16.04 for this example, here's how to use WoeUSB as a bonus for readers who need bootable media for legacy BIOS.

 

Step 1: Run the following commands one at a time, with Enter after each.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install woeusb

Step 2: Since this Personal Package Archive contains other software, you can delete the archive using the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update

 

Step 3: Launch WoeUSB from the Applications menu or the Unity Dash. To start it from the command line, use the following: woeusbgui

 

woeusb

 

Step 4: Inside WoeUSB, choose the ISO file that you downloaded in the beginning and set the target device after inserting your USB. Hit Install and wait for it to be completed. Your bootable USB with Windows 10 is now ready.

Create Windows 10 Bootable USB on Linux via Commands (UEFI Boot)

The subsequent process flow explains how to create a GPT scheme in your USB and create a FAT32 file system so the Windows 10 ISO can be burned to USB to create bootable media. The last step shows you how to put Windows 10 ISO onto your USB to round off the entire process. Here are the steps involved:

 

Step 1: Open Terminal in your Ubuntu machine and run the following command:sudo apt install gparted

 

Step 2: Backup any important data on your USB drive because everything will be erased after this point. Once that's done, insert the drive into your computer and launch the GParted Partition Editor that you installed in the previous step. You may need to authenticate the the installation with your admin password when launching the app.

 

Step 3: Inside GParted, you'll see a drop-down menu on the top right corner of the software. Select your USB drive from that list, as shown in the screenshot below. Your drive will obviously have a different name than the one shown in the image.

 

Step 4: Once your drive is mounted, it will appear in the main list under the Partition column, and all partitions will show as Mounted, meaning you'll see a key icon next to each one. Right-click on all the partitions in your drive and select Unmount from the contextual menu. Please note that all the partitions will need to be unmounted before you proceed further.

 

Step 5: In the top menu of GParted, click on Device and select Create Partition Table…

 

Step 6: In the warning pop-up, select GPT and hit Apply. Your drive partition will now show as unallocated. Right-click on it and select New in the contextual menu. The file system in the next window should be fat32, so change it if it's showing ext4 and click on Add.

 

GParted on Ubuntu Linux

 

Step 7: You'll see a green check mark which you have to click on to confirm the action. Subsequently, make sure you exit GParted. Don't ignore this final step.

 

Step 8: The next step is to use Disk Image Mounter to open your Windows ISO file. You can do this in File Explorer by right-clicking the file > Open With… > Disk Image Mounter. In cases where you don't see the Disk Image Mounter in the contextual menu, you can use these two commands (followed by Enter after each line) to create a mount point and mount the ISO under it.

sudo mkdir /mnt/windows10/
sudo mount -t auto -o loop /path/to/window-10-iso /mnt/windows10/

 

Step 9: Copy all the files in the mounted file system and paste them in your USB drive. Once you see the confirmation message with the check mark, that means it's done.

 

You can now boot from the USB drive and install Windows 10 on any compute. You can even boot in on the same Ubuntu machine, but you may need to remove and reinsert the drive so the boot loader is detected by your device firmware.

 

 

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