Step-By-Step: Prepare USB Media to Install Windows 10

Hello Folks,

6 years ago I wrote about easily making USB media to install Windows 7. the process worked so well it’s been drilled in my head and I’ve been using that process ever since.  Last week, I was in Montreal to meet the guys from the MITPRO.  While I was there one local IT pro and I were trying to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview on a surface.  and as much as I tried, the USB stick we created would not boot.

So we just knew we needed to figure out why.  But first if Windows 10 is something you’re interested in.  I recommend the Windows 10 Technical Preview Fundamentals for IT Pros MVA course.  It’s full of great info.

Step 1- Download the Windows 10 ISO

Windows 10 Technical Preview is here today, but it’s a long way from done. We’re going to make it faster, better, more fun at get the idea. Join the Windows Insider Program and you can now get access to the ISO for build 10041. We downloaded the latest available build.

Step 2- Prepare the USB Stick

Use a USB with a capacity of at least 4 GB for the 32-bit version and 8 GB for the 64-bit version.  Ensure that you have removed whatever files you have on it since the following process will wipe it clean.

1- connect the USB to a windows 7 or 8.1 machine (make sure to match the architecture 64bit OS to prep a 64bit USB stick…)

2- Open a Command Prompt Window with elevated credentials

3- Use the Diskpart utility to clean the drive, create a partition you can boot from and format it. Below is the captured output of that process. ( the command are in Blue and comments are in green)

Microsoft DiskPart version 10.0.10061
Copyright (C) 1999-2013 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: PR-SURFACE-2
DISKPART> list disk
  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online          238 GB      0 B        *
  Disk 1    Online         7648 MB      0 B

DISKPART> select disk 1 (pick the disk that matches the size of the USB stick you connected to the system)

                         (picking the wrong drive could cause you to destroy your running PC)
Disk 1 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART> clean (this will wipe the drive clean without asking for confirmation)

DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.
DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.
DISKPART> select partition 1
Partition 1 is now the selected partition.
DISKPART> active
DiskPart marked the current partition as active.
  100 percent completed
DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.
DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.
Leaving DiskPart...

4- mount the ISO you downloaded earlier and copy the entire content to the root of the USB stick we just created.


5- Once the copy is complete, change your focus to the USB drive ( mine is mapped as drive E:  )  navigate to the Boot directory and update the boot manager using the following command from an elevated command prompt windows.

This is the part we was missing.

Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.
D: (\\?\Volume{75299495-0000-0000-0000-100000000000})
    Successfully updated FAT32 filesystem bootcode.
Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.

Once the Boot manager is updated.  you can use the stick to boot and install Windows 10 Technical Preview.

I hope this is useful.  go ahead install the technical Preview.




Pierre Roman
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Comments (6)

  1. Hi,

    very nice and helpful article :).
    Just to be precise your USB drive should be mapped as D: because according to the screenshot drive E: is the mounted ISO image.


  2. Pierre Roman says:

    Hey Kaloyan,

    you are correct. The USB drive was my drive D: and the mounted ISO was E:

    I ran the BOOTSECT.EXE from the mounted ISO. The important thing is that you run it from Windows 10 media. Either the USB you just created or the mounted ISO.



  3. Theo says:

    Thank you sir. It worked for me.

  4. Jesus Mena says:

    Muchas Gracias
    Lo hice con un windows server 2012 x64 y funciono bien.
    La ultima parte no la hice y salio todo bien

  5. Jeff Culler says:

    I am planning on upgrading from windows 10 32 bit to windows 10 64 bit. Can I create a usb stick with 64 bit iso and bootsec from a 32 bit machine?

    1. You can. Be aware that your drive will be formatted to upgrade to 64 bit. Please backup your documents / images / etc prior to upgrading to 64 bit.

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