For this guide you require a:
- Windows 10 iso (preferably of the latest build) see Windows OEM FAQs and Downloads if you don’t already have this.
- A 16-32 GB USB 2.0/3.0 Flash Drive. For any new hardware you may require a USB-C to USB Adapter. It is also possible to get a 16-32 GB USB Type-C Flash Drive.
- Note you will likely format the Flash Drive as FAT32
- This has an upper limit of 4 GB per file.
- The largest partition FAT32 supports is 32 GB. This means larger capacity Flash Drives will be restricted to a 32 GB partition with all remaining storage space on the USB being unallocated and it makes little sense to get a larger capacity Flash Drive for Windows 10 Installation Media.
- Note you will likely format the Flash Drive as FAT32
Creating a Bootable USB: Windows 10 Example
This guide will also work for a Linux Installation .iso, Parted Magic Installation .iso if the Bootable USB is to be created within the Windows Operating System.
If you are running Linux opposed to Windows see my Guide Creating a Windows 10 Bootable USB for a UEFI BIOS within Linux.
Open up Google Chrome and search for Rufus. Go to the Rufus website:
Scroll down to get to the Download Link:
Wait for the Download to finish:
Double click on Rufus-x.x.exe
Select Yes at the User Account Control Prompt:
Select Yes or No to search for Updates Online (you likely have downloaded the latest version so it’s immaterial at this moment in time):
The new Rufus Version 3.x will launch. Version 3.x has a more streamlined user-interface and a layout which is much more logical in older editions.
At current I don’t have a USB device connected so Devices are blank:
I’m going to load the installation .iso first. Select “Select” to load the installation .iso:
I will use a Windows 10 Version 1803 English UK (English International) installation .iso in this example (instructions are identical for other builds):
Select your installation .iso and then press open:
When and when not to to check for Installation iso Checksums:
Any file created gets a checksum, this is dependent on the size of the file and the date it is created.
The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool downloads Windows 10 setup files and then creates an iso from them on your computer. Because this iso is created on your computer at a unique date, your installation iso will be unique and there is no sense checking for the checksum.
Direct Download Links
If you download Windows 10 using direct iso links, they were created by Microsoft and are stored as a iso on their servers,. The iso downloaded therefore should have the same checksum otherwise indicating it is corrupt.
Once the installation .iso is loaded you may look at the .iso checksums by pressing the tick button:
Rufus will scan the installation .iso and compute its checksums:
If using a Direct Download Link and the iso checksums are unique, your iso is likely corrupt. Unfortunately at the present time, Microsoft don’t list all the installation .iso checksums on their website so you will need to Google Search to get the checksums. I have listed the English (UK and US) iso checksums here.
Inserting your USB Flash Drive
I have just inserted a 16 GB USB Flash Drive. It shows under Device in my case as D\:
UEFI or MBR
All computers manufactured from 2012 onwards have a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot. Windows 10 should be installed using a UEFI Boot with Secure Boot for optimal performance and security. Rufus will use these default settings:
Windows 10 Version 1809 Direct Link issue.
Unfortunately Microsoft made the install.wim in the Windows 10 Version 1809 Direct Link iso exceed 4 GB meaning it is too large for FAT32. This a problem for a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot.
Computers manufactured before 2011 do not have a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot. In order for your system to recognise the Bootable USB you must use the MBR partition scheme:
If your computer was manufactured in 2011 or you are unsure you’ll need to check for a UEFI Boot.
Checking for a UEFI Boot with SecureBoot within Windows
If you are uncertain and are logged into your computer running Windows 8 or later you can quickly check using system information.
For a system with a Windows 7 installation that you plan to clean install Windows 10 on you can check your SMBIOS version but won’t get Secure Boot state because its unsupported in Windows 7. If supported in your systems hardware you’ll need to Enable the UEFI Boot and Secure Boot before Clean Installation. You’ll be able to determine more by accessing your computers UEFI Boot Menu (see below).
If you are making your Bootable USB on another computer because the computer you are installing Windows 10 on cannot boot you’ll be able to determine more by accessing your computers UEFI Boot Menu (see below).
Press [Windows] and [ r ]:
This will bring up the run command:
In the run box type in
Then press ok.
If the BIOS Mode is set to UEFI and the Secure Boot state is set to On you are ready to make your Bootable USB.
If the BIOS Mode is set to Legacy and the Secure Boot state is set to Off or unsupported then you may wish to check the BIOS version and SMBIOS version.
- If your SMBIOS is 2.4 or less your computer will likely be unable to Boot from a USB and will be incompatible with Windows 10.
- If your SMBIOS is 2.5 then it is time to consider buying a new computer as your system is over a decade old however you should be able to install Windows 10 by configuring the USB for Legacy Boot options.
- If your SMBIOS is 2.6 then you won’t have the ability to Enable Secure Boot however the system might have a UEFI Boot and if it does this should be Enabled by use of the UEFI BIOS Setup. See my UEFI Guide for instructions. Do not Enable the setting until you have finished making your Bootable USB as your old installation will not boot once the settings are changed.
- If your SMBIOS is 2.7 or later then you should Enable a UEFI Boot with Secure Boot. See my UEFI Guide for instructions. Do not Enable the setting until you have finished making your Bootable USB as your old installation will not boot once the settings are changed.
Checking for a UEFI Boot with SecureBoot by using the UEFI Boot Menu
Power down your Dell and as you power it up press [F12].
This will take you to the Boot Menu, to the top it should state the Boot Mode and Secure Boot status:
If the Boot Mode is set to UEFI and Secure Boot is set to On then you are good to create your Bootable USB using the GPT Partition Scheme for UEFI and FAT32 File Format.
If the Boot Mode is set to Legacy and/or Secure Boot is set to Off then you should re-enable these technologies. If the system came with Windows 7 preinstalled these are the the typical settings as Windows 7 does not support Secure Boot. For more details see my UEFI guide. Do not Enable the setting until you have finished making your Bootable USB as your old installation will not boot once the settings are changed.
If there is no mention of Secure Boot but you see you have the options for a UEFI Boot then you likely have an early UEFI BIOS. You should Update your UEFI BIOS to the latest version (which in some cases may not be updated to include Secure Boot) and configure your Boot menu to use UEFI by default. For more details see my UEFI guide. Do not Enable the setting until you have finished making your Bootable USB as your old installation will not boot once the settings are changed.
If there is no mention of UEFI or Legacy on this menu you likely have a computer older than the advent of UEFI with a Legacy only BIOS. You should consider getting newer hardware however if you wish to install Windows 10 on your older system create your Bootable USB using the MBR Partition Scheme for BIOS or UEFI-CSM and NTFS File Format.
Creating the Bootable USB
Once you have selected the correct Partition scheme and File system for your computer. Click start to make your Bootable USB:
Select ok to format your USB Flash Drive.
Now it is a case of just waiting for Rufus to make the Bootable USB:
When its finished the green bar will be full and it will say Ready:
You may now close Rufus and you have a Windows 10 Bootable USB. You can use the setup.exe on the Bootable USB to perform an inplace upgrade from an older build of Windows 10 or use it to perform a clean install.
If you have an older Mechanical Hard Drive (HDD) in your PC you may get a substantially low performance when running Windows 10 due to the slow speed of the HDD (100 % Disc Usage). It is recommended to replace the HDD with a Solid State Drive (SSD) and 250 GB Models are now affordable. For SSD and Memory Upgrades the best Vendor is Crucial, I have been recommending them for years and just recently joined their affiliate program. If purchasing an upgrade please click the link below as affiliate purchases will help cover my website costs.
For more details see Clean Installing Windows 10 Version 1809.