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This article will show how to create bootable USB from Windows 10 ISO file via Command Prompt, so that you can use it to make clean install of Windows 10.

Recently, we’ve seen how to download latest Windows 10 ISO file in following article:

Download Latest Windows 10 ISO Files For Clean Install

In this article, we’ll learn how to make a bootable USB drive with Windows 10 ISO file you downloaded in above mentioned article. Of course, there are tons of third-party software already available in market for this purpose. You can also use Microsoft‘s official Windows 7 USB/DVD tool for this purpose. But in this guide, we’ll see how to do this natively, via Command Prompt. See, it is very easy to create bootable USB using Command Prompt, the only condition is that you should have some basic knowledge of manipulating commands.

For the ease of readers, the steps mentioned below are written in descriptive mode which tells you why we’re running the particular command and what you need to substitute in your case. All you need is one USB drive of 4GB+ space and Windows 10 ISO file, that’s it! The commands will take care of everything else. Here’s how:

How To Create Bootable USB From Windows 10 ISO File Using Command Prompt

It is highly recommended to create a System Restore point before you try steps. In this example, I: is DVD drive letter while J: is USB drive letter. Replace these drive letters with actual ones in your case.

1. Plug in the USB drive which you want to make bootable one. Then open administrative Command Prompt.

2. Type these commands (mentioned in bold) one by one and press Enter key after each:

diskpart                               Opens Disk Management in command interface
list disk                                 List all available disks on system
select disk #                   Replace # with your USB disk number (judge by volume)
clean                                        Wipes the data on drive (if present)
create partition primary                           Creates a partition on USB drive
select partition 1                                 Selects Partition 1 created above
active                                                Marks Partition 1 as active
format fs=ntfs                Formats Partition 1. Use format fs=fat32 for UEFI systems
assign                                             Assigns a drive letter to USB
exit                                                        Exists DiskPart

How To Create Bootable USB From Windows 10 ISO File Using Command Prompt

3. Minimize Command Prompt window and locate the Windows 10 ISO file in Windows/File Explorer. Right click on ISO file and select Mount.

How To Create Bootable USB From Windows 10 ISO File Using Command Prompt

This will mount the ISO file to DVD drive on your system and in this way, ISO gets a drive letter assigned. If you’ve Windows disc came with your system or bought from retailer, you can directly plug it into DVD drive and go ahead with steps mentioned below.

How To Create Bootable USB From Windows 10 ISO File Using Command Prompt

4. Now come back to Command Prompt window and type these commands (mentioned in bold) followed by Enter key:

I:                                                  Replace I: with DVD drive letter
cd boot                                             Goes to I:\boot
bootsect /nt60 J:                               Updates bootcode on USB drive (J:)
cd\                                            Changes directory to I: from I:\boot
xcopy i:\*.* /s/h/f j:\           Copy all files from DVD drive (I:) to USB drive (J:)

How To Create Bootable USB From Windows 10 ISO File Using Command Prompt

5. The copy operation will take few minutes to complete. When it is completed (you’ll get XXX File(s) copied message), you can type exit command to close Command Prompt.

How To Create Bootable USB From Windows 10 ISO File Using Command Prompt

So your bootable USB drive is ready. You can go ahead and make a clean install of Windows 10 now.

FYI: You can use same steps to create bootable USB to install Windows 8.1/8/Server editions.

That’s it!

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  • Thank you for this. Anyway, after doing all the steps above, do I still need to set BIOS for boot priority to read the bootable USB first?

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ I don’t think so. Also you can manually choose which device to boot from, using ‘Boot device section’ dedicated key (usually F9) on your machine. If that doesn’t work set boot order in BIOS.

  • Followed directions…get “The target volume does not support symbolic links” then the process stops… Any suggestions??

    Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.14393]
    (c) 2016 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    F:\>xcopy f:\*.* /s/h/f e:\
    F:\autorun.inf -> E:\autorun.inf
    F:\bootmgr -> E:\bootmgr
    F:\bootmgr.efi -> E:\bootmgr.efi
    F:\setup.exe -> E:\setup.exe
    F:\boot\bcd -> E:\boot\bcd
    F:\boot\boot.sdi -> E:\boot\boot.sdi
    F:\boot\bootfix.bin -> E:\boot\bootfix.bin
    F:\boot\bootsect.exe -> E:\boot\bootsect.exe
    F:\boot\ -> E:\boot\
    F:\boot\memtest.exe -> E:\boot\memtest.exe
    F:\boot\en-us\bootsect.exe.mui -> E:\boot\en-us\bootsect.exe.mui
    The target volume does not support symbolic links

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Suggest you to use different USB drive and see if that helps.

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