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How to Create a Bootable Windows 10 USB With BIOS/UEFI Support

Its almost the year's end and the Windows 10 upgrade offer is also reaching its end. You can freely upgrade your PC/laptop to Windows 10 until 31st December 2017. Upgrading to Windows 10 will preserve your previous Windows installation and you can revert back within 15 days. But if you like Windows 10 then your PC/laptop will require a clean install at some time.

Windows 10 clean install is required if your computer is running slow, booting slow, or programs crashing or not working at all. A clean install will fix all kinds of system related problems. So, in this tutorial, we will teach you how to create a bootable Windows 10 USB disk so that you can do a clean install on your laptop or desktop PC computer.

➜ Windows 10 Free Upgrade Offer Ends Soon

While reading this post you came to know that you can freely upgrade your existing Windows-based computer to Windows 10 before year's end (December 31st, 2017). What does this mean? You might be aware of getting the free upgrade to Windows 10 that Microsoft officially announced in July 2015. The offer ended one year later in July 2016.

The offer was that if your computer is running a valid copy of Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 then you can upgrade to Windows 10 without paying a penny. But since the offer has ended you can't upgrade. But Microsoft closed one door and opened another door and named it 'Assistive Technologies'. According to Microsoft, you can still upgrade to Windows 10 if you use assistive technologies. But to avail this offer you have to act fast as the clock is ticking to the end of this offer.

Please read this tutorial for a complete info: Upgrade to Windows 10 for free

➜ How To Download The Latest Windows 10 ISO

Before creating a bootable USB we will need the ISO file. It is always better to start with the latest Windows 10 ISO file because it will already have the latest updates and patches in the package. So you can save time by not downloading older updates and patches. The most reliable method to download the ISO file as suggested by Microsoft is the 'Windows 10 USB Media Creation Tool'. But it may take time to download the files and pack them in an ISO image.

Another option is to directly download the latest ISO file from Microsoft without using the Media Creation Tool. Directly downloading the ISO file via a modern browser from Microsoft requires a trick. You can learn about this trick here - Download latest Windows 10 ISO

➜ Before You Begin

Before you start to create Windows 10 installation media bootable USB and install Windows from USB it is wise to learn some essential things that we are going to tell you. So read them carefully as they will help you in creating the right bootable Windows 10 USB.

1. BIOS vs UEFI: Everyone is familiar with the word BIOS. It stands for 'Basic Input Output System'. It is a program that resides on a ROM chip on a computer's motherboard. The main function of BIOS is to initialize the computer hardware and start the bootloader file that starts the operating system. BIOS is being replaced by UEFI which stands for 'Unified Extensible Firmware Interface'. It is the successor to BIOS with improved graphical interface and mouse support.

UEFI also supports secure boot which can check for operating system validity to ensure that no malware can load while booting. Another advantage of UEFI is that it supports the GPT partition style which can handle hard drives larger than 2TB (Terabytes). BIOS can only handle less than 2TB. So it is wise to take advantage of this trending technology if your computer/laptop supports it. To check whether your laptop/PC support UEFI read this - Check if your PC supports UEFI.

2. MBR vs GPT: MBR is the short of 'Master Boot Record' and GPT is short of 'GUID Partition Table'. Here GUID stands for 'Globally Unique Identifiers'. Both MBR and GPT are partition structures that define how information is structured on the partition, where partitions begin and end, and also the code that is used during startup if a partition is bootable. GPT is the successor to MBR. GPT is designed to support hard drives larger than 2TB. MBR only supports 2TB.

In MBR partition style you can only create a maximum of four partitions while GPT allows you to create unlimited partitions. Microsoft Windows supports 128 partitions only on a hard drive. Unlike MBR, GPT stores multiple copies of the partition data and boot data across the disk. So GPT cannot suffer from boot data corruption as if suppose one copy gets corrupted somehow then it will automatically load the boot code from another copy stored across the disk. To check whether your PC is using the MBR or GPT partition style you have to follow the steps below.

  • Open CMD as administrator and type 'diskpart'.
  • When the console loads the 'DISKPART' type 'list disk'.
  • Now check if there is '*' under the 'GPT' field. If the 'GPT' field is empty then your PC is using the MBR partition style.
how to check gpt or mbr windows 10

Note: There are ways to convert from MBR to GPT from the command prompt. But Windows can't convert MBR to GPT partition-by-partition. For conversion, you will first have to delete all the partitions on your computer's hard drive and extend the C:\ drive to make it the only usable partition. But it is no use as it will delete the entire data on hard drive partitions.

Note: If you have updated to fall creators update which is Windows 10 version 1709 then you can use the built-in MBR2GPT tool to convert MBR to GPT without any data loss. Read more here - MBR2GPT tool.

The best way to do this is to first take a complete backup of your data stored on the different partitions of your computer's hard drive. After taking the backup you can convert MBR to GPT during Windows 10 installation if you don't want to use MBR2GPT, because it is a little bit complicated.

How to Create a Bootable Windows 10 USB With BIOS/UEFI Support

➜ Downloads Required

➜ Case 1: If your computer or laptop is old and supports BIOS only

  • Download the Windows 7 USB DVD Download tool and install it.
  • Now connect a USB flash drive a having storage capacity of at least 8GB. Make sure that the flash drive shouldn't have any of your precious data as it will be formatted.
  • Open it and it will ask you to select the Windows 10 ISO that you have downloaded. Click browse and select the ISO file. Then click 'Next'.
create a windows 10 install usb
  • Now click 'USB device' in the next step.
  • In step 3 the USB device will be shown. Click 'Begin copying' to make the USB bootable.
  • When you click the button then a warning message will appear. Click 'Erase USB Device'. Make sure you don't have important files stored on it otherwise they will be lost.
  • Finally, click 'Yes' to erase it. Wait until formatting completes.
  • After formatting the tool will automatically start copying the files from the ISO to the bootable USB drive.
  • Wait till the copying process gets over.
  • When the process gets completed then close the program. You now have the bootable Windows 10 USB with BIOS and MBR scheme to be used with older computers.

➜ Case 2: If your computer or laptop is newer and supports UEFI

All laptops/desktops shipped in the year 2011 or later support UEFI, not sure before the year 2011. So, it is still wise to double confirm from the tutorial that is Check if your PC supports UEFI. Now after making sure that your machine supports UEFI we will begin creating a bootable Windows 10 USB with GPT scheme for UEFI. You will need rufus software for this. You can download it from the link given above.
  • Download Rufus. It is available as an installer and also as a portable application. Download the portable version and extract it on the desktop.
  • Connect a blank 8GB flash drive and open Rufus.exe.
  • Under 'Partition scheme and target system type' select 'GPT partition scheme for UEFI'.
  • Leave the 'File system' and 'Cluster size' to default settings.
  • Make sure 'Quick format', 'Create a bootable disk using', and 'Create extended label and icon files' are checked.
  • Now click the drive icon next to 'ISO image' option and select the Windows 10 ISO file to load it in Rufus and select 'Standard Windows installation'. Finally, click 'Start' to start creating the bootable USB.

windows 10 bootable usb
  • Wait for few minutes until the process completes.
  • When the process completes, close the program and remove the USB flash drive.

➜ Performing a Clean Install Of Windows 10 With GPT Scheme for UEFI

As we told you earlier if you are doing a clean install of Windows 10 on an MBR styled hard drive with GPT scheme for UEFI then it can only happen if there is no partition on the drive. To install Windows from USB first go to BIOS/UEFI settings and change the boot order. The USB drive should be the first to boot so that it can load Windows 10 setup. You can access BIOS settings by either pressing F2, Delete, or F8 key. Check which one works for you. During the Windows installation with GPT scheme if Windows finds MBR scheme on your hard drive partitions then it will show you an error like this below.

To fix this we have to convert the hard drive from MBR to GPT partition style.

Warning: As we have mentioned earlier that this conversion will delete all the partitions and all the data stored on your hard drive will be deleted. So we are assuming that you have taken the full backup of your hard drive's data on an external storage. We won't be responsible for any data loss if you haven't taken any backups.

If you have taken backup then no need to worry because you can later copy it to your computer from the external hard drive. Now when the error appears click 'OK' to close it and follow the steps below.

Only use the following tutorial if you know what are you doing and you know that an alternative tool is also available known as MBR2GPT which can convert MBR to GPT without data loss and you are still not using it because it is a little bit complicated.

Press Shift+F10 to open command prompt.
Type these following commands one by one and hit enter.
diskpart <hit enter>
list disk <hit enter>
select disk 0 <hit enter>
clean <hit enter>
convert GPT <hit enter>
When the disk gets converted to GPT style then type 'exit' and hit enter. Now start your Windows 10 installation with GPT scheme and you will not get any error this time. During installation, you will not be able to create partitions but you can create up to 128 partitions after the Windows 10 installation by using the disk management console.

So this is how we create a bootable Windows 10 USB, convert MBR to GPT, and install Windows 10 with GPT scheme on a  UEFI based computer. If you liked the article then take two minutes to share it.

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