If you want to upgrade to Windows 11 or do a clean install, it’s a good idea to create a bootable installation USB flash drive. You can use a USB installation drive to erase and reinstall Windows. A Windows USB drive allows you to perform updates on a PC offline.
We have shown you how to create a bootable USB drive with RufusBut another easy method is to use the Microsoft Media Creation Tool. The media creation tool allows you to perform an in-place update that preserves all your files and settings. It also allows you to boot from the drive and do a clean install.
Below is explained How to create a bootable Windows 11 USB drive and install Windows 11.
Note: An 8GB or larger USB drive is required. Make sure to back up any data you need on the drive first. Before updating a Windows 10 PC, make sure all applications are closed and back up the system.
Creating a Windows Bootable USB Drive with the Media Creation Tool
If you want to use the Media Creation Tool to create a bootable installation USB drive for Windows 11, you will need to follow these steps.
To get started, head to the Windows 11 download page and press the button “download now” in the section Create Windows 11 installation media.
Let the download complete and run the file MediaCreationToolW11.exe from your download folder.
Next you will have to follow some simple instructions on the screen.
First, click To accept when the EULA appears, and then choose your language; too you can change the language later.
To change any of the recommended installation options, uncheck the box Use recommended options for this PC and click Next.
Make sure to select “USB Flash Drive”At the next stage, and then click Next.
You will have to select the USB drive that you want to use as the boot drive. To do this, select the correct unit on the display screen. Selecting a USB flash drive , and then press Next.
If you don’t see the correct drive, make sure it’s plugged in and hit “Update unit list“. Any drive you choose will be formatted, so be sure to back up your files first.
The Windows 11 installation files will download; wait for them to complete. The time it takes will vary depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
After the download is complete, the wizard will begin creating your Windows 11 bootable USB drive.
When finished, the message “Your USB flash drive is ready“. Click on Finalize to finish the process.
You can also click on the drive letter; the contents of the drive will open in the File Browser. You should find the installation files shown in the following image.
How to install Windows 11 from a USB drive
After the USB drive is created, you can install Windows 11 with it.
Note: Before starting the Windows 11 installation, be sure to back up your system and close all applications.
Plug the USB drive into an open port on the PC to be updated. For an in-place upgrade (which allows you to keep all files and settings), click the file Setup.exe.
You will have to accept the EULA and follow the additional instructions that appear on the screen.
Note that you will be able to choose when to install available updates and drivers. If you install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, you may want to check the option “Not now“. You can always check manually for updates later.
When I get to the screen “Ready to install“, click on “Change what to keep”To confirm which files and settings you want to keep (and which settings and files you want to delete).
If everything looks correct, click the button Install.
Wait for Windows 11 to install on your Windows 10 PC. The time it takes varies, so take a break while this happens. Your PC will restart a few times during the process.
How to boot from a Windows 11 USB drive
You can also start from scratch and perform a clean install of Windows 11 using your USB drive.
Make sure to go into your PC’s BIOS / UEFI settings and change the “Boot order”(Boot order) to USB to do so. Creating the USB drive with the Media Creation Tool makes it “EUFI ready” so you shouldn’t have a problem with Secure Boot locking your drive.
If you are not sure how to enter the BIOS / UEFI setup menu, consult your PC manufacturer’s support documentation.
When changing the PC boot order to prioritize the USB drive, the Windows 11 installer should appear.
When the installation wizard starts, follow the instructions on the screen – it’s a simple process and shouldn’t take too long to complete.
Using a USB installation drive for Windows 11 PCs
If you are concerned about your PC, have a USB drive ready with the latest Windows 11 installation files. So you can install Windows 11 with a USB drive at any time; the same unit will work on multiple computers. If the drive was created recently, you can also use the files to update your offline computers.
If you do not plan to reinstall Windows 11 for a while, you can create a recovery USB drive. This will allow you to recover your PC if something goes wrong.