How to Create Bootable USB Drive of Windows 10/11 using Rufus?

Microsoft has refined the process of creating and setting up media for its operating system with Windows 11, building upon its efforts from Windows 10. As modern systems now use the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)—an advancement over the Basic Input/output System (BIOS)—tools such as the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool are becoming less relevant.

If you run into issues during a Windows 11 installation using bootable media, you might encounter errors or system unrecognized media problems, which can sometimes be traced back to the ‘GUID Partition Table’ error message.

Therefore, in this article we will show you how to use Rufus to create a Windows bootable installer. Rufus basically simplifies this process and automates the process based on your specific computer configuration.

This method requires you to prepare a few things ahead of time. Rufus, will not automatically fetch the ISO file for you, so you’ll need to source it yourself. Here’s how to obtain the official ISO:

  1. First, visit this website
  2. In ‘Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)’ Select ‘Windows 11’, and click ‘Download‘.
  3. You will then be prompted to choose the architecture and language of Windows you wish to download.
  4. Select the appropriate version and begin the ISO download.

Note: Download links are usually valid for 24 hours from creation. Ensure you complete the download within that timeframe.

Next, you’ll need to transfer the ISO file to your USB flash drive. Download Rufus from this [link], a utility that easily creates bootable media for both MBR and GPT partitions.

  1. Open Rufus and select the device (USB) you want to make bootable.
  2. Choose the GPT partition scheme for UEFI. Leave the File System & Cluster Size at their default settings, and name your drive.
  3. Tick ‘Create a bootable disk using’, ensuring that the ‘ISO Image‘ option is selected from the dropdown menu. Click on the drive icon next to the dropdown to locate and select your ISO file.
  4. Click “Start” and wait for Rufus to complete the process of writing the ISO to your USB flash drive.

That’s it now you can continue to install Windows using the installer you created using Rufus.

Creating Bootable Windows Media Using PowerShell (Advanced users)

Another advanced option for creating bootable Windows media is to use PowerShell, a powerful scripting tool built into Windows. Before you begin, download the Windows 10 or Windows 11 ISO file from the official Microsoft website. Use the following links to download the respective ISO files:

– Download Windows 10 ISO
– Download Windows 11 ISO

Follow these step-by-step instructions to create your bootable USB drive using PowerShell:

1. Insert your USB flash drive into your computer.
2. Open PowerShell with administrative privileges. To do this, search for ‘PowerShell’ in the Start menu, right-click on ‘Windows PowerShell’, and select ‘Run as administrator’.
3. Use the Get-Disk PowerShell command to list all the disk drives connected to your computer. Carefully identify the number that corresponds to your USB flash drive.


4. The next step will erase all the data on the USB drive. Make sure to replace # with the disk number you identified in the previous step. It’s critical to choose the correct drive number to avoid data loss on the wrong disk.

$USBDrive = Get-Disk -Number #

5. Clean the USB drive.

$USBDrive | Clear-Disk -RemoveData -Confirm:$false

6. Initialize the disk as GPT, which is required for UEFI systems.

Initialize-Disk -Number $USBDrive.Number -PartitionStyle GPT

7. Create a new primary partition and format it to NTFS. Also, assign a drive letter; in this case, replace X with the drive letter you want to assign to the USB drive.

$Partition = $USBDrive | New-Partition -UseMaximumSize -AssignDriveLetter
$Partition | Format-Volume -FileSystem NTFS -NewFileSystemLabel "WIN11" -Confirm:$false
$DriveLetter = ($Partition | Get-Volume).DriveLetter

8. Using the Mount-DiskImage cmdlet, mount the ISO image you downloaded earlier. Replace C:\path\to\your\windows.iso with the actual path to your ISO file.

Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:\path\to\your\windows.iso"

9. After mounting the ISO, a new volume will be available on your system, corresponding to the ISO file. Identify the drive letter associated with it.
10. Use xcopy to copy all the contents from the mounted ISO to your USB drive. Replace Y: with the drive letter of the mounted ISO, and X: with the drive letter you assigned to your USB drive.

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

11. Once all the files are copied over, you can dismount the ISO file.

Dismount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:\path\to\your\windows.iso"

12. Your bootable USB drive is now ready. You can safely eject the USB and use it to install Windows 10 or Windows 11 on a computer with UEFI.

Remember to backup any important data before starting, use the correct drive letters, and ensure no file operation interruptions occur during the copy process for a smooth creation of your bootable USB drive.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.