How to install Windows 10 without USB media

You can install Windows 10 using an ISO file without creating a bootable media — Here's how you do it.

Windows 10 install ISO mount

On Windows 10, when you choose to download the ISO file to upgrade or reinstall the operating system, you usually end up using third-party tools, such as the Media Creation Tool or Rufus to create a USB media to proceed with the installation setup.

However, if you only have access to the Windows 10 ISO file, you don’t need a USB flash drive or disk to continue with the installation. You can always mount the ISO using File Explorer to launch the upgrade.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to install a new version of Windows 10 by mounting the ISO file without of a USB bootable media.

How to install Windows 10 mounting an ISO file without USB

To install Windows 10 without a USB, use these steps:

  1. Download the Windows 10 ISO without using the Media Creation Tool.

  2. Right-click the ISO file, select the Open with submenu, and choose the Windows Explorer option.

    Windows 10 mount ISO
    Windows 10 mount ISO
    Quick tip: If you don’t have a third-party application to manage file compression, such as 7Zip, you can simply double-click the ISO file.
  3. Click on the mounted drive from the left navigation pane.

  4. Double-click the Setup file to begin the Windows 10 installation.

    Windows 10 install files
    Windows 10 install files
  5. (Optional) Click the Change how Windows Setup downloads updates option.

  6. Select the Not right now option.

    Disable updates before installing Windows 10
    Disable updates before installing Windows 10
  7. Click the Next button.

  8. Click the Accept button to agree to the terms.

  9. Click the Install button if you upgrading to a new version and you want to keep your files and apps.

    Windows 10 install without USB
    Windows 10 install without USB

If you’re looking to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows 10 with the latest feature update, click the Change what to keep link, select the Nothing option, click the Next button, and then click the Install button.

Once you complete the steps, the installation process will begin and the device will restart several times. After the installation you’ll need to go through the out-of-box experience (OOBE) finish configuring Windows 10.

Of course, you could download the Media Creation Tool to perform an in-place upgrade that doesn’t require to create a bootable media or using the Update Assistant. However, you’ll find this option particularly useful in those situations when you don’t have internet access, or the computer you’re trying to install Windows 10 doesn’t include a disc drive, and you don’t a USB flash drive to create a bootable media.