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a comprehensive guide to make a bootable USB in windows

Hi readers, this is me, Abdullah with an article to explain an important but advance task of windows operating system usage. In this guide, I will teach you how to create bootable USB flash drive on windows OS, without using any third-party application.

Some words about bootable media:

Many of the user will not understand that what I mean by “bootable USB”. Keep reading you will surely get to know.
A bootable disk means the disk from where computer starts from. It contains the required boot codes which helps computer to load basic drivers for running its hardware and provide on-screen user interface. It can be used to install operating system or run it directly from removable media such as USB disk, CD/DVD disk etc. my focus is just restricted to USB flash disk in this article, so I will move through it further accordingly.
Now, you have familiarized yourself to the term of bootable media. Let’s move to have a look to the actual procedure!

Things you need:

  • A windows computer.
  • A USB flash drive of 4GB or above (depends on what you are going to make it bootable for).
  • Windows installation DVD or ISO image (or whatever elce you want to boot from USB).
  • Basic knowledge about command prompt interface.

If you prepared everything, then let’s go in!


The process of creating bootable USB disk can accomplish by using a command-based utility called “disk part”, which is included in all version of windows operating system. Here is step by step instruction of how to do this.

  1. Plug the USB flash drive or penDrive to the computer after having it turned on and ready.
  2. Go to “run” through start menu or by pressing windows key + R and type “diskpart” without the quotes and press enter. A command prompt windows will appears with the title “diskpart”.
  3. Now you have to determine the disk number of your USB flash drive. For this purpose, type “list disk” without the quotes and hit enter. All of the connected hard disks and USB storage are now being displayed on screen. Figure out what is the number for this USB on which you are working. In my case it is listed as “disk 1”. So move to the next step with having supposed the same situation.
  4. Type “select disk 1” without the quotes and press enter. “disk 1 is now the selected disk” message appears, means all command from now on will just applied to that particular disk drive. Let’s prepare the disk for being bootable.
  5. Type “clean” without the quotes and press enter. Note: this will erase all data on the disk, make sure you have backed-up everything before this step.
  6. Now we are going to make a new partition on the disk and make sure it’s bootable by Typing “create partition primary” without the quotes and hitting enter.
  7. Then Type “select partition 1” without the quotes and hit enter.
  8. Type “active” and press enter.
  9. Next, type "format fs=fat32 quick" without quotes and hit enter (if you choose to use ntfs, you'll later have to run the "Bootsect.exe /nt60 xx:" command, [where’s “xx” will be replaced by respected drive letter], to put boot manager compatible files onto your USB flash drive to make it a bootable device).
  10. Finally, type “assign” and hit enter. This will assign A the drive letter to the new partition.
  11. At this point, you have successfully prepared your drive as a bootable device. Close the command prompt windows by typing “exit” and then enter.
  12. Next, you have to add the required files of whatever you want to boot from this drive. You can make it windows installation disk, or also put your preinstallation environment image such as TWPE (talking windows preinstallation environment) to boot directly to it. For practicing, let’s create it as an installation setup disk for windows.

    Note: through this procedure, it is possible to create setup disk for all versions of windows except Windows 95, 98, windows ME, 2000, windows XP, or server 2003. All later versions are supported.
  13. Insert the windows installation DVD in to the CD-ROM drive and wait for its appearance in windows explorer/computer. Close any autoplay windows or setup program, if it appears, and move to the next step.
  14. Right-click the DVD drive and choose “open”. Here you will see some files and folders those are responsible for windows installation process. Mark all of them at once, then right-click and select “copy”, or press windows standard copying command from your keyboard which is control+C.
  15. Now brows to the USB drive, and paste them here. Make sure that the content of DVD should be placed in the root folder of USB disk and not in any sub-directory. Otherwise, it will not boot. Copying will take some time, so go grab a snack, we'll wait.
  16. If you do not have windows installation DVD, or you want to create boot disk from downloaded .ISO image file. Then first mount the image to virtual drive and then copy its contents in a same way. Alternatively you can also extract the image by making use of WinRAR/winZIP, and then copy the extracted contents to the USB as well. Same rule should applied while making bootable disk for any type of preinstallation image.
  17. Upon successful transfer, there is nothing more to be done. Congratulation! You have now a working bootable USB flash disk which can be used for installing windows on any computer/laptop.

Instructions for booting to the USB drive may differ by manufacturers and models. For example, in most of the HP’s machines, you need to press f12 or f9 repeatedly just after you hit the power button to turn it on until the “boot menu” appears. Then choose “USB/removable media” from there. To learn how to go to the boot menu in your own system, refer to its manual or just google it about your specific manufacturer.

Well, that’s all up till now. Thanks a lot for reading, also do share and recommend it to others for just sake of spreading knowledge, and subscribe to our mail service to keep in touch for more upcoming tips and tricks.

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