A Windows 11 bootable USB drive is always handy to have on hand, even if it’s just for emergencies. Here’s how to make one.
If you have a Windows 11 bootable USB drive on hand, you can use it to clean install or upgrade your operating system. The bootable USB will also help you troubleshoot your PC and do a clean install of Windows on multiple PCs while offline.
Microsoft makes it easy to create an installation media with the Media Creation Tool. In addition, you can also use Rufus and Command Prompt to create one. This guide will show you the three different ways to create a USB flash drive installer for Windows 11.
Before we begin: Download the Windows 11 ISO image
To successfully create a Windows 11 bootable USB drive, you need a Windows 11 ISO file, also known as an ISO image. That’s why it’s a good idea to sort this out before moving on to the three ways to create a Windows 11 USB stick.
Here’s how to download the Windows 11 ISO to your PC:
- Visit The official page of Microsoft to download windows11.
- Scroll down to the Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) section.
- Click the drop-down menu and select Windows 11.
- Then click on the To download button to continue.
- The current page loads additional information and displays the Select the product language section. Click the drop-down list for: Choose one and select your preferred language. Then click To confirm Get on.
- When the download section loads, click the 64-bit download knob.
- Your download will begin immediately. However, it may take a while for the download to complete depending on your internet speed.
Once you have downloaded the ISO file, follow one of the methods below to create a bootable USB drive for Windows 11.
1. Create a Bootable USB for Windows 11 with Rufus
Rufus is an open-source utility for formatting and creating a bootable USB flash drive for the Windows operating system. Follow these steps to create a Windows 11 USB drive using Rufus. When done, Rufus will display a success message. After that, you can use the Windows 11 bootable disk to install the operating system on a compatible system.
- Visit the Rufus website and scroll down to the To download section.
- Click on the Rufus link to download the latest version.
- Run the executable file and click Yes if requested by UAC.
- Plug your USB flash drive into your PC and wait for Rufus to detect it and show it under the Device section.
- Click the drop-down list for: Boot Selection and select Disc or ISO image.
- Then click on the CHOOSE knob.
- Select the Windows ISO file and click Open.
- Click the drop-down list below the Image option and select Standard Windows 11 installation (TPM 2.0 + Secure Boot).
- Or select Extended Windows 11 installation (no TPM / no Secure Boot) to create a bootable disk for an unsupported system. This will skip the system requirement during installation.
- Leave the Partition Scheme (GPT) and Target System (UEFI) as default.
- below Volume labelenter a name for your USB flash drive.
- Leave the File system and cluster size, and other options as standard.
- Make sure the Fast format and Create extended label and icon files option is checked.
- Click on the Get started to start the process of creating the bootable disk.
Media Creation Tool is Microsoft’s in-house solution to create an installation media. Follow these steps to create a bootable USB drive or DVD using the Media Creation Tool:
- Connect your USB stick of at least 8 GB to your PC. Make sure it is detected and you have backed up all files on your USB drive.
- Then visit the Microsoft Download Center page.
- Below the Create Windows 11 installation media section, click on the Download now and save the file to your PC.
- Then enter the . from Media Creation ToolW11.exe file and click Yes if requested by UAC. It may take a few seconds for the tool to start, so wait until you see the Setup Wizard.
- Click on the Accept button to agree to the terms.
- Media Creation Tools automatically selects the Edition and Language. Uncheck to change language Use the recommended options for this PC box.
- Choose your options and click Next one.
- In the Choose which media you want to use window, select USB memory motive.
- Click on the Next one knob.
- Select your USB drive from the list of available drives.
- Click on the Next one button to continue.
- Then click on the Finish knob.
Media Creation Tool will now download the necessary Windows 11 files and create an installation media. This may take a while, so feel free to grab a cup of coffee in the meantime.
When the message “your USB flash drive is ready” appears, click the Finish to close the installation wizard. Now you can boot from the USB drive to troubleshoot or clean install Windows 11.
3. Create a Bootable Disk Using Command Prompt
If you don’t want to use a third-party utility to create a bootable disk, you can use the Diskpart utility and Command Prompt to create installation media. Here’s how to do it.
- First, backup all files on your USB drive and then connect it to your PC.
- press the To win key, type cmd, and click on Run as administrator below Command Prompt. You can also use PowerShell if you prefer it over Command Prompt.
- In the command prompt window, type the following command and press enter to open the . to start Windows Disk Part utility.
- Then type the following command to list all available storage devices:
- Find your USB drive here. You can watch the Column size to determine your USB drive. In this case, the USB drive will appear as: Disk 2.
- Then type the following command to select your drive:
SEL DISK 2
- Change to the above command DISC 2 with the number assigned to your USB stick. For example, if you have a single SSD or SATA drive configuration, your primary drive will be listed as: DISC 0 and USB stick as DISC 1. It is from extremely important that you select the correct drive because the next step involves erasing the selected drive.
- Then type the following command and press enter to erase all contents of the drive:
- Then type the following command to create a primary partition:
Create Partition Primary
- Then type the following command to select the main partition:
- Command Prompt shows the details of your USB drive.
- Type the following command and press enter to activate the partition:
- Then type the following command to format the USB drive. It is important to format the drive in NTFS format because the FAT32 format causes the incorrect parameter error.
FORMAT FS=NTFS LABEL=“BootableUSB” QUICK OVERRIDE
- When you’re done, type Exit and press enter to exit the Disk Part utility.
Now you need to mount the ISO image and then move the contents to your USB drive.
- To do this, type the following command and press Enter to mount the Windows 11 ISO file:
PowerShell Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:UsersUserNameDownloadsWin11_English_x64v1.iso"
- In the above command, replace the file path with the location of your Windows 11 ISO.
- Once the ISO is mounted, type the following command to launch Diskpart.
- Then type the following command to display the available volume.
- This will help you determine the drive letter for the mounted ISO file. In the Type columnthe mounted ISO is displayed as: DVD ROM. And the Ltr column lists the letter associated with the volume. Note the details of the ISO volume as you will use it in the future.
- Once you have the volume details for the mounted ISO, type the following command to exit Diskpart:
- Then type the Mounted ISO volume letter and press enter. For example, if your Mounted ISO volume letter is: Jthen type the following command and press Enter.
- Type the following command to boot from CD:
- Then type the following command to apply the Bootmgr-compatible master boot code to the USB flash drive:
Bootsect /nt60 I:
- Replace in the above command l with the drive letter associated with your USB flash drive.
- Then type the following command and press Enter to copy Windows 11 system files to the USB stick:
xcopy J:*.* I: /E /F /H
- Replace in the above command K: and L: with your Mounted ISO Volume and USB port letter, resp.
- The process may take 5-10 minutes. If the Command Prompt crashes, this is normal behavior, so wait for the process to complete.
- If successful, you will see a File(s) copied message.
That is it. Now you can use the bootable USB drive to clean install Windows 11.
Multiple Ways to Create a Bootable USB Drive for Windows 11
With its Media Creation Tool, Microsoft makes it easy to create installation media. However, if you have a Windows 11 ISO image handy, you can use Rufus or the Command Prompt to quickly create a Windows 11 bootable USB drive. You can use the same to clean install Windows 11 on a new PC, troubleshoot your Windows computer, or double boot Windows 10 with Windows 11.