How To create bootable Windows USB flash drive in Linux

If you want to burn the Windows installer to a separate media, and your computer is running Linux, there will be no problem – despite the competition between the two operating systems, this is not a difficult task. There are several ways of recording: using the functionality of “Linux” and through third-party applications. Let’s look at the four simplest options with sequential instructions.

Terminal and Gparted

To create a bootable USB flash drive with an image of Windows 10, we need a “Command Line” in Linux – the so-called terminal, or the “Partition Editor” – Gparted. Let’s start with the first one.

  1. Connect the USB flash drive that will be the carrier of the distribution.
  2. To get to the terminal, press Ctrl + Alt + T or open the menu, find in it “Settings” – “Devices” – “Keyboard” and set your own keyboard shortcut to invoke the “Command Prompt”, and then press it.
  3. You can also press Alt + F2, and you will see the “Run” window – just like in Windows. You need to enter into it either: “$ gnome-terminal” (separated by a space between the $ icon and the command, but without quotes), or: “$ konsole”.
  4. In the first case, you will see the classic version of the “Command Line” without any graphics, and in the second – a small, eye-pleasing window located right above the screen saver. You can choose what you like best – it doesn’t matter, everything will work the same.
  5. Next, you need to find out the name of your flash drive. For reliability, enter in the “Command line”: “fdisk –l” (without quotes), press “Enter” and save the result – now it will be useful to us.
  6. Now enter the command: “$ sudo mkfs.ntfs / dev / your_drive_name” and press “Enter” – the media will be formatted and ready for further work.
  7. Enter in the command line: “# dd if = / windows.iso of = / dev / sdx” (without quotes). Thus, the system “understands” that it is expected to write the boot disk.

Now let’s do the same through the “Partition Editor” Gparted.

  1. Install a bootable USB flash drive from which you intend to record an image via Linux for Windows.
  2. Call “Command Prompt” again and ask the system to open Gparted – enter: “$ sudo apt install gparted ntfsprogs”, press “Enter” and wait for the result.
  3. When the “Editor” window opens, you will see a small disc image in the upper right. Click it and select the desired flash drive.
  4. Now the drive with information about it is displayed below, in the main window. Right click on it and click “Unmount”. After that, unavailable commands, displayed in gray, will become clickable.
  5. And again, right-click on the name of the flash drive – this time select “Format to …”. A lot of multi-colored squares with inscriptions will appear – we are interested in bright blue with the inscription: “ntfs”.
  6. We agree with the formatting.
  7. Again, right-click on the name of the flash drive and select the Manage flags option with a label opposite boot. Apply changes.
  8. We return to the “Command line” and enter in order: “$ sudo mkdir / media / iso” and “$ sudo mount windowsiso / media / iso -t udf -o loop” to find the image files.
  9. Be sure to check the mount point via the command: “ls / run / media” and remember the result.
  10. That’s it, we start the recording process with the command: cp -R / media / iso / mount_point_ of the flash drive.

As you can see, you can cope with the OS on your own, but if this is not for you, read below on how to automate everything.

WINUSB utility

You can also create a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10 on Linux using a special program – this is much faster than completing all the previous steps. You probably already know that programs in Linux can be installed directly from the “Command Line”. Let’s use this nice option and set the values:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa: colingille / freshlight
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install winusb

You can also install this application by simply using the search in the repository, without a command line at all. When the program window opens, you will see two suggestions:

  • burn OS from iso-image;
  • burn OS from disk.

Choose the first one and confirm the start of the process. No more manipulation is required – you can take out the USB flash drive and use it.

Etcher utility

The previous program is very simple and good, but, unfortunately, it is not compatible with all flavors of Linux and does not always run, because the developers do not often present the latest updates to the public. If this is your case, then try Etcher. Like all Linux applications, it is free. With Etcher, you can burn an image of Linux and Windows 7-10 in just a few clicks. Just before downloading, pay attention to whether the software is suitable for your assembly. Now let’s look at how to make a bootable USB flash drive :

  1. Run the program and press the first highlighted button: “Select image”. Specify the required one.


  1. Next, connect the drive and start recording – after completing the first step, the second button will be highlighted – select the flash drive to which the Windows image will be recorded.
  2. Upon completion of the work, you will see an inscription indicating that the flash drive is ready for use.

Creating a bootable Windows flash drive in Linux without programs

Based on all of the above, you can generally do without the mediation of third-party software and create a USB flash drive with an installer in Linux much faster. For this:

  • stock up on a Windows optical disk image (you can download it or write it off from a running system);
  • a USB flash drive with enough memory.

Further, the procedure is as follows:

  1. The USB flash drive must first be configured for ntfs or FAT32 format (above is described how to do this).
  2. The optical disk image must be converted into installation files. To do this, open it through the archiver and extract the contents from the repository.
  3. All elements are simply dragged onto the USB stick.

It should be noted that this method will be effective only for an updated intermediary between the OS and firmware – UEFI with a GPT partition structuring system and 64-bit width. For an earlier version of BSVV, this method will not work – you simply will not find the files you need. To use a USB flash drive, it is very important to configure UEFI so that the drive is recognized as an OS launcher. To do this, restart your PC and press the key combination that matches your version of BSVV (usually F2 or Del, but there may be other options), and call an intermediary. You will see a window with images of hard drives, which are numbered in order. Select your USB flash drive (it must be connected in advance) and drag it to the first place (fortunately, UEFI allows you to use a mouse and has a more or less clear appearance.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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