You need a Windows 10 Installation .iso to download the latest version see Windows OEM Downloads and FAQs.
USB Flash Drive
You also need a USB Flash Drive. If you don’t have please click see more and use the affiliate links below for Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. These will hep fund the website costs for my installation guides.
These are the USB Flash Drives I have tested (note there is no point getting a larger capacity USB flash drive for Windows Installation Media as you need to format the USB as FAT32 and the ISO is far less than 16 GB, usually closer to 4 GB).
USB Type C to USB 3.0 Connectors
If your computer is brand new and only has USB Type-C connectors then you may need a USB Type C to USB adaptor. I used these on my XPS 13 9365 (please use the affiliate links to help fund my guides).
If you need to replace your drive due to drive failure see my guide Upgrading to a SSD. However do not attempt to replace the SSD until you have attempted to recover the data from the old drive.
Test PC Windows 10
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:
Installation .iso Checksums should be checked if you have downloaded the installation .iso using a direct download link to ensure you have a complete download. Windows 10 English (UK) and English (USA) .iso checksums all mainstream builds
Note the Media Creation Tool does not Download an Installation .iso. It instead Downloads Setup Files and uses these setup files to create an Installation .iso. Because the time/date and computer used to make the Installation .iso are unique the Installation .iso Checksums will be unique. It is therefore pointless checking the Installation .iso Checksums for Installaiton .isos created by the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.
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 it’s checksums:
Once you have them, you should check if they match. Unfortunately at the present time, Microsoft don’t list all the installation .iso checksums on their website so you are restricted to looking at my guides (which cover English only) or a Google search for other languages. If you cannot find them on a Google Search it likely means your Installation .iso is unique. In the case of a Direct Download link this means your Installation .iso is corrupt.
Inserting your USB Flash Drive
I have just inserted a 16 GB SanDisc Ultra USB Flash Drive. If you need a USB Flash Drive please use the affiliate links below for Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. These are the USB Flash Drives I have tested (there is no point getting a larger capacity USB flash drive for Windows Installation Media as you need to format the USB as FAT32 and the ISO is far less than 16 GB, usually closer to 4 GB).
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:
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. For more details see Clean Installing Windows 10 Version 1809.