Third-party tool

How to create bootable USB drive for Windows 11 with Rufus

Rufus lets you download the ISO file and create a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows 11 on supported and unsupported hardware.

Rufus create Windows 11 USB

Rufus is a free tool that you can use to easily create a bootable USB flash drive to upgrade or clean install Windows 11. The tool works similar to the Media Creation Tool, and you can provide an existing ISO file or there’s an option to download the files directly from the Microsoft servers.

Unlike the Microsoft solution, Rufus not only allows you to create a USB installation media, but it does it faster, and you can even prepare a USB drive with an older version of Windows 10 and Windows 8.1. Also, starting with version 3.16 and higher there’s an “Extended” option to create a bootable USB that bypasses the security and memory requirements.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to use Rufus to download the ISO file and create a bootable media to install Windows 11 from scratch.

Create Windows 11 bootable USB using Rufus with ISO download

To use Rufus to download the Windows 11 ISO file and create a bootable media, connect a USB flash drive with 8GB of space, and then 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 flash 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.

    Rufus Windows 11 ISO download option

  12. Click the Download button.

  13. Select the Windows 11 option.

  14. Click the Continue button.

  15. Under the “Release” section, select the 21H2 (Build 22000.194 – 2021.10) option to select Windows 11.

    Rufus download settings

  16. Click the Continue button.

  17. Select the Windows 11 Home/Pro option.

  18. Click the Continue button.

  19. Select the language of Windows 11.

  20. Click the Continue button.

  21. Select the operating system architecture. (Windows 11 is only available in x64 architecture.)

  22. Click the Download button.

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

  24. Under the “Image option” setting, select the Standard Windows 11 Installation (TPM 2.0, Secure Boot, 8GB+ RAM) option.

    Rufus standard and extended options

  25. (Optional) Under the “Image option” setting, select the Extended Windows 11 Installation (no TPM 2.0, no Secure Boot, 8GB+ RAM) option to create a USB flash drive that bypasses the system requirements.

  26. (Optional) Continue with the default settings after the download.

  27. (Optional) Under the “Volume label” setting, specify a name for the drive.

  28. Click the Start button.

  29. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, you can use the bootable USB flash drive to install Windows 11 using a clean or in-place upgrade installation.

Create Windows 11 bootable USB using Rufus with existing ISO file

To create a bootable USB with Rufus using an existing ISO file, use these steps:

  1. Open Rufus website.

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

  3. Double-click the rufus.3.xx.exe file to launch the tool.

  4. Under the “Device” section, use the drop-down menu and select the USB flash drive to create the Windows 11 bootable media.

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

  6. Click the Select button.

    Rufus select Windows 11 ISO

  7. Select the Windows 11 ISO file.

    Windows 11 ISO

  8. Click the Open button.

  9. Under the “Image option” setting, select the Standard Windows 11 Installation (TPM 2.0, Secure Boot, 8GB+ RAM) option.

    Rufus ISO USB settings

  10. (Optional) Under the “Image option” setting, select the Extended Windows 11 Installation (no TPM 2.0, no Secure Boot, 8GB+ RAM) option to create a USB flash drive that bypasses the system requirements.

  11. Under the “Partition scheme” section, select the GPT option.

  12. Under the “Target system” section, select the UEFI (non CSM) option.

  13. Under the “Volume label” section, specify a descriptive name for the bootable USB drive – For example, Win11_Install_USB.

  14. Use the default settings for the File system and Cluster size options.

  15. Check the Quick format option.

  16. Check the Create extended label and icon files option.

  17. Click the Start button.

  18. Click the OK button to confirm the deletion of the USB and the creation of the bootable drive.

After you complete the steps, the tool will begin the process to create a USB media with the Windows 11 installation media.

Create Windows 11 bootable USB for unsupported hardware using Rufus

Alternatively, on Rufus version 3.16 and higher there’s an option that allows you to create a bootable USB that bypasses the TPM 2.0, Secure Boot, and memory requirements to install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware.

To create a Windows 11 bootable USB for unsupported hardware, use these steps:

  1. Open Rufus 3.16 website.

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

  3. Double-click the rufus.3.16.exe file to launch the tool.

  4. Under the “Device” section, use the drop-down menu and select the flash drive to create the Windows 11 bootable USB media.

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

  6. Click the Select button.

  7. Select the Windows 11 ISO file.

    Windows 11 ISO

  8. Click the Open button.

  9. Under the “Image option” section, select the Extended Windows 11 Installation (no TPM/no Secure Boot/8GB – RAM) option.

    Rufus Extended Windows 11 Installation option

  10. Under the “Partition scheme” section, select the GPT option.

  11. Under the “Target system” section, select the UEFI (non CSM) option.

  12. Under the “Volume label” section, specify a descriptive name for the Windows 11 bootable USB flash drive – For example, Win11_Install_USB.

  13. Use the default settings for the File system and Cluster size options.

  14. Check the Quick format option.

  15. Check the Create extended label and icon files option.

  16. Click the Start button.

  17. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, Rufus will create a bootable USB media that will bypass the security and memory requirements to upgrade or install a fresh copy of Windows 11 on virtually any supported or unsupported hardware. (See also this video tutorial at the Pureinfotech YouTube channel to complete this task.)