Install media

How to create bootable Windows 11 USB install media

Here's the process to create a bootable USB drive to perform a clean install of Windows 11.

Create bootable Windows 11 USB

If you plan to install Windows 11 on a computer that meets the minimum requirements using the clean process, you will need a bootable USB media, and in this guide, you will learn how.

Although you can start a clean install of Windows 11 directly from the Media Creation Tool or mounted ISO file, booting the device with USB installation media is still the best approach to proceed with the installation. Also, it’s perhaps the only way to install Windows 11 on a new computer or a device with an empty hard drive.

If you need to create a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows 11, you have multiple options, including the Media Creation Tool, Rufus, and Command Prompt.

In this guide, you will learn the different ways to create a USB bootable media to perform an in-place or clean install of Windows 11 with support for UEFI. You can use Windows 10 or Windows 11 to use these instructions. (See also this video tutorial in the Pureinfotech YouTube channel to learn more about doing this process.)

Create Windows 11 bootable USB with Rufus

To create a bootable USB to install Windows 11 using Rufus, use these steps:

  1. Open Rufus website.

  2. Under the “Download” section, click the link to download the latest version.

  3. Double-click the executable to launch the tool.

  4. Click the Settings button (third button from the left) a the bottom of the page.

    Rufus settings button

  5. Under the “Settings” section, use the “Check for updates” drop-down menu and select the Daily option.

    Rufus enable updates

  6. Click the Close button.

  7. Click the Close button again.

  8. Open Rufus again.

  9. (Optional) Under the “Device” section, use the drop-down menu and select the USB drive to create the installation media.

  10. Under the “Boot selection” section, use the drop-down menu and select the Disk or ISO image option.

  11. Click the down-arrow button (on the right side) and select the Download option.

  12. Click the Download button.

    Rufus Windows 11 download

  13. Select the Windows 11 option.

  14. Click the Continue button.

  15. Under the “Release” section, select the Windows 11 ISO you want to download. For example, select the 21H2 (Build 22000.194 – 2021.10) option to download the 21H2 ISO file.

    Windows 11 download settings

  16. Click the Continue button.

  17. Select the Windows 11 Home/Pro option.

  18. Click the Continue button.

  19. Select the installation language of Windows 11.

  20. Click the Continue button.

  21. Select the x64 option for the OS architecture.

  22. Click the Download button.

  23. Select the location to save the Windows 11 ISO file automatically.

  24. (Optional) If you connected a USB flash drive to create a bootable media, continue with the default settings after the download.

  25. Click the Start button.

    Rufus create Windows 11 USB

  26. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, the tool will begin creating a bootable media with the Windows 11 installation media.

Create Windows 11 bootable USB with Command Prompt

To create a USB flash drive to install Windows 11 with Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Support website.

  2. Under the “Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)” section, select the Windows 11 option.

    Windows 11 ISO download

  3. Click the Download button.

  4. Select the installation language.

    Select ISO file language

  5. Click the Confirm button.

  6. Click the Download button to save the Windows 11 ISO file on the device.

    Windows 11 x64 ISO download

  7. Open Start

  8. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as Administrator option.

  9. Type the following command to open Diskpart and press Enter:

    diskpart
  10. Type the following command to determine the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    list disk
  11. Type the following command to select the storage and press Enter:

    select disk 1
    Quick tip: The select disk 1 command as an example, but you have to replace 1 with the flash drive you want to use.
  12. Type the following commands to delete everything from the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    clean

    DiskPart clean USB

  13. Type the following command to create a primary partition and press Enter:

    create partition primary
  14. Type the following command to select the new partition and press Enter:

    select partition 1
  15. Type the following command to make the USB flash drive bootable and press Enter:

    format FS=FAT32 quick
  16. Type the following command to assign a volume and a drive letter for the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    assign letter=X

    Create UEFI bootable USB

    Change X for any available letter you want to use in the command.

  17. Type the following command to quit the tool and press Enter:

    exit
  18. Type the following command to mount the Windows 11 ISO file and press Enter:

    PowerShell Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:\path\to\Windows11.iso"

    PowerShell mount ISO command

    In the command, update the path with the location where you have stored the Windows 11 ISO file.

  19. Type the following command to relaunch Diskpart and press Enter:

    diskpart
  20. Type the following command to determine the drive letter for the mounted Windows 11 ISO file and press Enter:

    list volume
  21. Type the following command to exit Diskpart and press Enter:

    exit
  22. Type the following command to access the Windows 11 ISO file and press Enter:

    E:
  23. Type the following command to the boot folder and press Enter

    cd boot
  24. Type the following command to update the volume boot code for the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    bootsect /nt60 X:
  25. Type the following command to copy all the Windows 11 installation files to the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    xcopy E:\*.* X:\ /E /F /H

    Create Windows 11 USB

    In the command, change the E and X drive letters with the correct drive letters for the Windows 11 ISO image and the USB flash drive, respectively.

After you complete the steps, you can use the bootable flash drive to install Windows 11 on UEFI devices.

Create Windows 11 bootable USB with Media Creation Tool

To use the Media Creation Tool to create a bootable Windows 11 USB install media, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft support website.

  2. Under the “Create Windows 11 installation media” section, click the Download Now button.

  3. Double-click the MediaCrationToolW11.exe file to launch the tool.

  4. Click the Accept button.

  5. Click the Next button.

    Media Creation Tool language settings

    Quick note: If you want to create a Windows 11 USB for another device, you can also clear the “Use the recommended options for this PC” option to select the correct language, architecture, and edition.
  6. Select the USB flash drive option.

    USB flash drive option

  7. Click the Next button.

  8. Select the USB flash drive from the list, but make sure that it does not have any important files as this process will erase everything on it.

    Select USB to download Windows 11

  9. Click the Next button.

  10. Click the Finish button.

Once you complete the steps, you can start the UEFI compatible device with the USB drive to install Windows 11. (See also this video tutorial at the Pureinfotech YouTube channel to complete this task.)