How to create bootable Windows 11 USB installation media

If you plan to install Windows 11 on a device that meets the minimum requirements with the cleanup process, you will need bootable USB media. This guide will tell you how to do it.

Although you can start a clean installation of Windows 11 directly from the Media Creation Tool or mount an ISO file, booting the device with a USB installation media is still the best approach to proceed with the installation. Also, it may be the only way to install Windows 11 on a new computer or device with a blank hard drive.

If you need to create a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows 11, you have several options including using the Media Creation Tool, Rufus, and Command Prompt.

In this guide, you will learn about the different ways to create a bootable USB media to do a direct or clean install of Windows 11 with support for UEFI. You can use Windows 10 or Windows 11 to follow these instructions. (See also that Video tutorial on the Pureinfotech YouTube channel to learn more about this process.)

Use Rufus to create a bootable USB stick to install Windows 11

To create a bootable USB stick for installing Windows 11 with Rufus, proceed as follows:

  1. Open minded Rufus website.

  2. In the Download section, click the link to download the latest version.

  3. Double-click the executable file to start the tool.

  4. Press the settings Button (third button from the left) at the bottom of the page.

  5. In the Settings section, use the Check for Updates drop down menu and select the Daily Opportunity.

  6. Press the Close Button.

  7. Press the Close Button again.

  8. Open minded Rufus again.

  9. (Optional) In the Device section, use the drop-down menu and select the USB drive to create the installation media.

  10. In the Boot Choices section, use the drop-down menu and select the Disk or ISO image Opportunity.

  11. Press the Down arrow (on the right) and select the Download Opportunity.

  12. Press the Download Button.

    Download Rufus Windows 11

  13. Choose Windows 11 Opportunity.

  14. Press the Keep going Button.

  15. In the Release section, select the Windows 11 ISO that you want to download. For example, choose the 21H2 (Build 22000.194 – 2021.10) Option to download version 21H2 ISO file.

    Download settings for Windows 11

  16. Press the Keep going Button.

  17. Choose Windows 11 Home / Pro Opportunity.

  18. Press the Keep going Button.

  19. Select the installation language of Windows 11.

  20. Press the Keep going Button.

  21. Select the x64 option for the operating system architecture.

  22. Press the Download Button.

  23. Select the location to automatically save the Windows 11 ISO file.

  24. (Optional) If you connected a USB flash drive to create bootable media, continue with the default settings after the download.

  25. Press the begin Button.

    Rufus creates Windows 11 USB

  26. Press the OK Button.

Once you complete the steps, the tool will start creating bootable media with the Windows 11 installation media.

Use Command Prompt to create a bootable USB stick to install Windows 11

To create a USB flash drive to install Windows 11 using Command Prompt, do the following:

  1. Open minded Microsoft support website.

  2. In the “Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)” section, select the option Windows 11 Opportunity.

    Windows 11 ISO download

  3. Press the Download Button.

  4. Select the installation language.

    Select the language of the ISO file

  5. Press the Confirm Button.

  6. Press the Download Button to save the Windows 11 ISO file to the device.

    Windows 11 x64 ISO download

  7. Open minded begin.

  8. Search for command prompt, right click on the topmost result and select that Execute as administrator Opportunity.

  9. Enter the following command to open Diskpart and press Enter:

    diskpart
  10. Enter the following command to identify the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    list disk
  11. Enter the following command to select the store and press Enter:

    select disk 1
    Quick tip: the select disk 1 Command as an example, but you need to replace 1 with the number of the flash drive you want to use.
  12. Enter the following commands to erase everything from the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    clean

    DiskPart clean USB

  13. Enter the following command to create a primary partition and press Enter:

    create partition primary
  14. Enter the following command to select the new partition and press Enter:

    select partition 1
  15. Enter the following command to make the USB flash drive bootable and press Enter:

    format FS=FAT32 quick
  16. Enter the following command to assign a volume and drive letter to the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    assign letter=X

    Create bootable UEFI USB

    Change in command x for each available letter you want to use.

  17. Enter the following command to exit the tool and press Enter:

    exit
  18. Enter the following command to mount the Windows 11 ISO file and press Enter:

    PowerShell Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:pathtoWindows11.iso"

    PowerShell mount ISO command

    In the command, make sure you update the path with the location where you saved the Windows 11 ISO file.

  19. Enter the following command to restart Diskpart and press Enter:

    diskpart
  20. Enter the following command to determine the drive letter for the mounted Windows 11 ISO file and press Enter:

    list volume
  21. Enter the following command to exit Diskpart and press Enter:

    exit
  22. Enter the following command to access Windows 11 ISO file and press Enter:

    E:
  23. Enter the following command in the boot folder and press Enter:

    cd boot
  24. Enter the following command to update the volume boot code for the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    bootsect /nt60 X:
  25. Enter the following command to copy all of the Windows 11 installation files to the USB flash drive and press Enter:

    xcopy E:*.* X: /E /F /H

    Create Windows 11 USB

    In the command, change the E. and x Drive letters with the correct drive letters for the Windows 11 ISO image or USB flash drive.

After following the steps, you can use the bootable flash drive to install Windows 11 on devices with UEFI.

Use the Media Creation Tool to create a bootable USB stick for installing Windows 11

The Media Creation Tool for Windows 11 is expected to be available immediately after its official launch sometime in October 2021. Since the new operating system is based on Windows 10, the steps will be similar to those for the current version of the tool.

To use the Media Creation Tool to create a bootable Windows 11 USB installation media, do the following:

  1. Open minded Microsoft Support website.

  2. In the “Create installation media for Windows 11” section, click the Download now Button.

  3. Double click on that MediaCrationToolW11.exe File to start the tool.

  4. Press the Accept Button.

  5. Press the Next Button.

    Language settings for the Media Creation Tool

    Quick note: If you are creating a Windows 11 USB for another device, you can also use the “Use the recommended options for this PC “ Option to choose the right language, architecture and edition.
  6. Choose USB stick Opportunity.

    USB stick option

  7. Press the Next Button.

  8. Select the USB flash drive from the list, but make sure it does not contain any important files as this process will erase everything on it.

    Choose USB to download Windows 11

  9. Press the Next Button.

  10. Press the End Button.

Once you’ve completed the steps, you can boot a device with UEFI using the USB drive to install Windows 11.

Update October 4, 2021: Originally published August 2021 and updated October 4 to reflect the new changes.