How to create a bootable USB drive of Windows 11

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Philippe Gloaguen
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A bootable Windows 11 USB drive is always useful to have around, even if it's just for emergencies. Here's how to make one.

If you have a bootable Windows 11 USB drive handy, you can use it to clean up your operating system installation or perform an update. The bootable USB also helps you troubleshoot your PC and clean Windows installation on multiple PCs while offline.

Microsoft makes it easy to create installation media with its media creation tool. Additionally, you can also use Rufus and Command Prompt to create one. This guide shows you the three different ways to create a USB flash drive installer for Windows 11.



Before you begin: how to download the Windows 11 ISO image

To successfully create a Windows 11 USB boot drive, you will need a Windows 11 ISO file also known as an ISO image. Therefore, it's a good idea to fix it before moving on to the three ways to create a Windows 11 USB stick.

Here's how to download the Windows 11 ISO to your PC.

  • Visit to download Windows 11.
  • Scroll down to the section Download Windows 11 disk image (ISO) .
  • Click the drop-down menu and select Windows 11 .
  • Then, click the button Download to continue.
  • The current page will load additional information and show the section Select the product language . Click the drop-down menu for Pick one and select your preferred language. Then, click Confirmation to continue.
  • When the download section loads, click the button Download a 64 bit .
  • The download will begin immediately. However, the download may take some time to complete, depending on your internet speed.

After downloading the ISO file, follow one of the methods below to create a bootable Windows 11 USB drive.



How to create a Windows 11 bootable USB with Rufus

Rufus is an open source utility to format and create a bootable USB flash drive for the Windows operating system. Follow these steps to create a Windows 11 USB drive using Rufus.

  • Visit the and scroll down to the section Download .
  • Click the Rufus link to download the latest version.
  • Run the executable file and click Yes if requested by the UAC.
  • Connect your USB stick to the PC and wait for Rufus to detect it and show it in the section Device .
  • Click the drop-down list for Boot selection and select Disc or ISO Image.
  • Then click the button SELECT .
  • Select the file Windows ISO and click apri .
  • Click on the drop-down menu under the Image option and select Standard installation of Windows 11 (TPM 2.0 + Secure Boot).
  • Alternatively, select Extended installation of Windows 11 (no TPM / no secure boot) to create a boot drive for an unsupported system. This will skip the system requirement during installation.
  • Leave him partition scheme (GPT) and target system (UEFI) as default.
  • In Volume label , enter a name for the USB flash drive.
  • lascia il file system and cluster size and other options as default.
  • Make sure the option Quick format e Create extended label and icon files is selected.
  • Click the button Home to start the boot drive creation process.

Once done, Rufus will show a success message. Later, you can use the Windows 11 boot drive to install the operating system on a compatible system.


How to create a Windows 11 bootable USB drive with the media creation tool

Media Creation Tool is Microsoft's internal solution for creating installation media. Follow these steps to create a bootable USB drive or DVD using the media creation tool:


  • Plug your 8GB or greater USB stick into your PC. Make sure it is detected and that you have backed up all files on the USB drive.
  • Then, visit the.
  • In the  Create Windows 11 installation media , click here Download now and save the file on your PC.
  • Then, run the file MediacreationtoolW11.exe and click Yes if requested by the UAC. It may take a few seconds for the tool to start, so wait for the installation wizard.
  • Click the Accept button to accept the terms.
  • Media Creation Tools will automatically select the edition and language . To change the language, uncheck la box Use the recommended options for this PC .
  • Choose your options and click Forward. 
  • In the Choose which media to use window, select USB flash drive .
  • Click the Next button.
  • Select your USB drive from the list of available drives.
  • Click the button NEXT to continue.
  • Then, click the button end .
  • Media Creation Tool will now download the necessary Windows 11 files and create installation media. This may take a while, so feel free to grab a coffee in the meantime.
  • When the USB flash drive is ready message appears, click the button end to close the setup wizard.
  • You can now boot from the USB drive to troubleshoot or clean the Windows 11 installation.

How to create a bootable drive using command prompt

If you don't want to use a third-party tool to create a boot drive, you can use the Diskpart utility and command prompt to create an installation media. Here's how to do it.


  • First, make a backup of all files on your USB drive and then connect it to your PC.
  • Press the key Win , digita cmd e click Run as administrator in command prompt. You can also use PowerShell if you prefer it at the command prompt.
  • In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and hit enter to start the utility Windows Diskpart .

    DISKPART

  • Then, type the following command to list all available storage devices:

    LIST DISK

  • Here, locate your USB drive. You can look at the Dimensions column to determine your USB drive. In this case, the USB drive is listed as Disk 2
  • Then, type the following command to select the drive:

    SEL DISK 2

  • In the previous command, change DISK 2 with the number assigned to your USB drive. For example, if you have a single SSD or SATA drive configuration, the primary drive will appear as DISK 0 and the USB drive such as DISK 1 . And of it is extremely important to select the right unit as the next step is to clean the selected drive.
  • Then, type the following command and hit enter to erase all contents from the drive:

    Chub

  • Then, type the following command to create a primary partition:

    Create Partition Primary

  • Then, type the following command to select the primary partition:

    List By

  • The command prompt will show the details of your USB drive.
  • Type the following command and hit enter to activate the partition:

    active

  • Then type the following command to format the USB drive. It is important to format the drive in NTFS format as FAT32 format will cause incorrect parameter error.

    FORMAT FS=NTFS LABEL=“BootableUSB” QUICK OVERRIDE

  • Once done, type Exit and hit enter to exit the Disk Part utility.
  • Now you will need to mount the ISO image and then move its contents to the USB drive
  • To do this, type the following command and press Enter to mount the Windows 11 ISO file:

    PowerShell Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:UsersUserNameDownloadsWin11_English_x64v1.iso"

  • In the above command, replace the file path with the location of your Windows 11 ISO
  • Once the ISO has been mounted, type the following command to start Diskpart.

    Diskpart

  • Then, type the following command to show the available volume.

    List volume

  • This will help you determine the drive letter for the mounted ISO file. In Type column , the mounted ISO will be listed as DVD-ROM . And the colonna Ltr lists the letter associated with the volume. Note the details of the ISO volume as you use it going forward.
  • Once you have the volume details for the mounted ISO, type the following command to exit Diskpart:

    Exit

  • Then, type the letter of the mounted ISO volume and hit enter. For example, if the letter of the mounted ISO volume is J , type the following command and hit Enter.

    J:

  • Type the following command to boot from CD:

    Cd boot

  • Then, type the following command to apply the Bootmgr compatible master boot code to the USB flash drive:

    Bootsect /nt60 I:

  • In the above command, replace I with the drive letter associated with your USB flash drive.
  • Then, type the following command and press Enter to copy the Windows 11 system files to the USB flash drive:

    xcopy J:*.* I: /E /F /H

  • In the above command, replace K: e I: respectively with the mounted ISO volume and the letter USB drive .
  • This process may take 5-10 minutes to complete. If the command prompt freezes, this is normal behavior, so please wait until the process is complete.
  • If successful, you will see a message File (s) copied.

That's all. You can now use the USB boot drive to clean the Windows 11 installation.


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