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How to Setup Windows from USB drive?

You are here:  Tutorials > How to setup Windows from USB drive?

PowerISO can create Windows installation USB drive from ISO file, you can then use the drive to setup Windows. PowerISO supports writing the USB drive in both BIOS and UEFI mode, thus provides best compatibility for most of computers. 

Following is a list of supported Windows setup ISO file,

Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8 / 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008, ...

To setup Windows through USB drive, you will need a Windows ISO file, and a USB drive with the storage capacity of at least 8GB. Please follow the below steps,

Step1: Create Bootable USB Drive

  1. Start PowerISO (v8.7 or newer version, download here).

  2. Insert the USB drive you intend to boot from.

  3. Click on "USB" toolbar button and select "Create bootable USB drive..." from the popup menu.

  4.  PowerISO requires system administrative privilege to write USB drive, please confirm the UAC dialog to continue.

  5. The "Create bootable USB drive" dialog shows.

    Click browse button to select the iso file of Windows operating system.

    Select the correct USB drive from the "Destination USB Drive" list if multiple USB drives are connected to the computer. If your USB drive is not listed, please check the option, "List USB hard drives".

    Choose the proper boot mode. For most of modern computers, UEFI mode is recommended. For old computers which doesn't support UEFI, or you have enabled CSM support in BIOS settings, you can also select BIOS as the boot mode. 

    Click "Start" button to start creating bootable USB drive.

  6. PowerISO will alert you that all data on USB drive will be destroyed. Please make sure that you have backed up the important files in the USB drive before clicking OK.

  7. The program will start writing USB drive, and showing the progress information. PowerISO will erase all partitions in the USB drive, create and format new partitions, then write files and boot information to the USB drive. You should get the message "Writing USB drive completed successfully." after the process completes.


If no errors occurred in the above process, you should now be all set to setup Windows from USB drive!


Step 2: Configure the BIOS to boot from USB drive

You should now reboot and go into the BIOS configuration to boot from USB. Instructions for doing so vary wildly from system to system, but generally entail the following:

  1. Reboot the system.

  2. While booting (before Windows starts loading), get into the BIOS configuration screen by hitting something like F1, F2, Delete or Escape. Hotkey instructions are generally provided on the screen.

  3. Go to the section that contains your boot devices.

  4. With your USB drive plugged in, the USB drive should be listed. If it isnít, your system might not support booting from USB. Assuming that it is supported (as is the case with virtually all modern hardware), promote your USB drive to the primary boot device. If you created the bootable USB drive in "BIOS & UEFI-CSM" or "BIOS" mode, please enable the CSM support in BIOS settings. 

  5. Exit from the BIOS configuration, saving all changes.

Please notice that you can seriously screw up your system by providing incorrect BIOS settings!


Step 3: Boot and setup windows from USB drive

Assuming that you properly configured your BIOS and your USB drive supports booting,  Windows setup should now load. Depending on the speed of your USB drive, this may take a while.

If it isnít working, then double-check the following before making a scene:

  • Is your BIOS properly configured for booting from the USB device? (Is the USB device listed and does it have top priority?) Please enable the CSM support if the USB drive can only support boot in BIOS or UEFI-CSM mode.

  • Have you correctly prepared the USB drive in step one? (Restart the procedure.)

  • Does your USB drive properly support being booted from? (Try another one!)

  • Try another boot mode when creating USB drive. Usually the default boot mode should work, but if it doesn't, you can try another boot mode. 

Note: The above guide works with Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1 / Vista, and Windows Server operating systems. For Windows XP with SP2 or SP3 please refer to another guide at https://www.poweriso.com/tutorials/how-to-make-winxp-bootable-usb-drive.htm .


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