How to Create a Windows 11 Installation Media
3 easy methods to create a Windows 11 installation media so you can fresh install the OS in a jiffy when required.
Creating an installation media is a great way to ensure that you always have a copy of Windows available at your disposable should you ever need to reinstall the operating system in your machine, or in case you are helping a near and dear one to fresh install the operating system.
Though the process is largely similar to the previous versions, you need to make sure the machine you wish to install Windows 11 using the installation media fulfills the minimum requirements.
You can either head to Windows 11 minimum requirements page to manually check for the requirements or you can download the PC Health Check App to make sure you will be able to run Windows 11 on the machine that you are installing the operating system on.
Furthermore, there are multiple ways to create a Windows 11 installation media. You can either use third-party software to create a bootable USB disk or create a bootable media using the official Media Creation Tool from Microsoft. Alternatively, if you prefer the Command Prompt over the tools, you can also use the Command Prompt to create a bootable disk.
Let’s first start with the Media Creation Tool, then head on to third-party software and lastly look at the process to create bootable media using the Command Prompt.
Method 1: Create a Bootable Media Using the Media Creation Tool
Creating a bootable disk using the Media Creation Tool is one of the most common and convenient methods to create an installation media. Moreover, you do not need to have a Windows 11 ISO beforehand in order to create an installation media using the Media Creation Tool.
First, head to the Windows 11 Download page, and then locate the ‘Create Windows 11 Installation Media’ section. Next, click on the ‘Download Now’ button present under the section to initiate the download of the Media creation tool on your system.
Once the download is complete, head to the default downloads directory on your system and double-click on the
MediaCreationTool.exe file to open it.
Now, a UAC (User Account Control) window will appear on your screen. If you are not logged in with an admin account, enter credentials for one. Otherwise, click on the ‘Yes’ button to proceed.
Now, on the ‘Windows 11 setup’ window, click on the ‘Accept’ button present in the bottom right corner to proceed.
Then, on the next screen, the tool will automatically select the language and edition suitable for the current PC. In case you wish to choose the edition and language other than the default values, click on the checkbox preceding the ‘Use the recommended options for this PC’ to uncheck it. After that, click on the respective dropdown menu to change the language or edition.
Once you have adjusted the settings according to you, click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
On the next screen, you will have to choose if you wish to create a bootable USB disk or a bootable DVD. Click on the radio button preceding the respective option to select, and click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
Note: If you wish to create a bootable USB, make sure you have a flash drive with a minimum 8GB capacity.
If you had selected the USB flash drive option in the previous step, select the external USB disk connected to your system on the next screen, you can also connect a USB drive to your machine at this step and click on the ‘Refresh list’ option to let the tool detect your drive. Once visible, click to select the drive and click on the ‘Next’ button present in the bottom right corner to continue.
In case you had selected the ISO option, a File Explorer window will open on your screen. Now, browse a directory where you would like to download the ISO and click on the ‘Save’ button from the File Explorer window to confirm the directory and start downloading the file.
After that, the Media Creation Tool will start downloading Windows 11 on either your USB disk or will create an ISO in your default downloads directory which you will have to later burn to a disk.
Once the downloading or creating of the bootable USB media has been completed, the Media Creation Tool will state the same on the window. And that’s it, you have successfully created an installation media. Only in the case when you have downloaded an ISO file, you will need to burn it to a DVD drive to use it. Alternatively, you can also create a bootable USB using third-party software with the downloaded ISO file.
Method 2: Use a Third-Party Software to Create a Bootable USB
There is much third-party software that can create an installation media for Windows 11 installation. However, ‘Rufus’ is one of the best and most lightweight software that can get your job done. Moreover, it is portable software, which means you do not need to install it on your system as well.
Note: You will need a Windows 11 ISO, and a minimum 8 GB capacity flash drive to create a bootable USB using Rufus.
First, head to rufus.ie using your preferred browser, then once the website is loaded, scroll down to the ‘Download’ section and click on the ‘Rufus 3.18’ option (software version may vary) to initiate the download.
Once downloaded, head to your default downloads directory, and double-click on the
Rufus.exe file that you downloaded to run the program.
Now a UAC (User Account Control) window will appear on your screen. If you are not logged in with an admin account, enter the credentials for one. Otherwise, click on the ‘Yes’ button to proceed.
Note: Insert the USB drive into one of the USB ports of your Windows PC, if not already connected.
After that, on the Rufus window, click on the dropdown menu present under the ‘Device’ option and select the USB drive from the list. After that, click on the ‘Select’ button present right next to the ‘Boot selection’ option. This will open a File Explorer window on your screen; browse and select the Windows ISO file present on your PC.
Next, once you have selected the ISO file. Locate the ‘Image option’ field and click on the dropdown present right beneath it; then select the ‘Standard Windows installation’ option.
For further configuration, you would need to know the BIOS mode of the target PC. Hence, on your target PC, press the Windows+R keys together to bring up the Run Command utility. Then, type msinfo32 and hit Enter on your keyboard. This will bring up a separate window on your screen.
Then, from the separately opened window, locate and check the BIOS Mode field, it should display either ‘Legacy’ or ‘UEFI’.
Now back to Rufus, locate the ‘Partition scheme’ option, and click on the dropdown menu present right beneath it. Then, select ‘MBR’ option from the dropdown if your BIOS Mode is ‘Legacy’. In case it is ‘UEFI’ select the GPT option.
Next, Rufus will automatically populate the name for volume, you can either keep it or type in an appropriate name for your bootable USB using the text field under the ‘Volume label’ field.
After that, choose the file system for your drive using the drop-down menu under the ‘File System’ option. (Only with a GPT partition scheme, you will be able to choose the FAT32 file system, otherwise, NTFS would be your only option.
Finally, click on the ‘Start’ button from the bottom section of the Rufus window pane to continue. This will bring an alert to your screen.
Now, from the alert window, click on the ‘OK’ button to initiate the process and let the Rufus do its job. Once the bootable media is completed, you will receive a notification of the same on the Rufus window.
Method 3: Use Command Prompt to Create an Installation Media
In case you are not very comfortable using a Media Creation Tool or using a third-party software at the same time do not hesitate in taking the Command Prompt route, this method might suit you the best.
Note: Before proceeding, connect the USB drive to your computer.
To create an installation media this way, first, head to the Start Menu and type Command Prompt to perform a search for it. Then, from the search results, right-click on the Command Prompt tile and click on the ‘Run as administrator’ option.
Now, on the Command Prompt window, type or copy+paste the below mentioned command and hit Enter to launch the Windows Diskpart utility.
After that, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter on your keyboard to view the list of all the available storage devices.
Now, from the storage devices list, you can determine your USB drive using the size column.
After that, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter on your keyboard to select the drive.
Note: Replace the placeholder in command with the actual disk serial number before executing. Please be careful when selecting the drive as the next step will wipe the selected drive clean.
SEL DISK 1
After that, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter to erase all the content from the drive.
Next, type or copy+paste the following command and hit Enter to create a primary partition on the drive.
Create Partition Primary
After that, to select the main partition, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter on your keyboard to execute the command.
Then, you would need to format the drive in NTFS format in order to create a bootable disk. To do so, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter to execute it.
FORMAT FS=NTFS LABEL="Bootable_USB" QUICK OVERRIDE
After that, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter on your keyboard to assign a letter to the ‘bootable USB’ you just made.
After that, you will need to exit the DiskPart utility, to do so, enter the following command in the Command Prompt window and hit Enter on your keyboard to execute the command.
Now, after formatting the disk, you will need to mount the ISO file on the USB drive. To do that, type or copy+paste the following command and hit Enter on your keyboard.
Note: Replace the placeholder path in the command below with the actual file path to mount the file on the USB drive.
PowerShell Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath "C:\<Users>\<Username>\<Directory>\<filename.iso>"
Once the ISO is mounted, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command to again invoke the DiskPart utility.
After that, for further steps, you will require the Drive letter for the mounted drive. Hence, to determine that type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter on your keyboard. Since the USB is now mounted, it will be listed as a DVD-ROM; note down the alphabet of the ISO listed in the Ltr column.
Once you have noted the volume details for mounted ISO, exit the DiskPart utility by typing the following command.
Next, type the below-mentioned command in the command prompt and hit Enter on your keyboard. In our case the volume letter is F.
<ISO Volume Letter>:
After that, type or copy+paste the following command and hit Enter on your keyboard to execute.
Next, to make the USB drive master boot code compatible, type or copy+paste the following command and hit Enter to execute.
Note: Replace the placeholder with the letter of your USB flash drive.
Bootsect /nt60 <placeholder>:
Finally, type or enter the below-mentioned command to copy the ISO volume files to the USB flash drive.
Note: Replace the respective placeholders with the letters of the mounted ISO volume and the USB drive on your PC.
xcopy <mounted ISO volume letter>:\*.* <USB drive letter>:\ /E /F /H
The process may take up to several minutes and the Command Prompt might seem stuck in between; it is completely normal behavior as few large files take time to be copied. Hence, allow the process to complete.
Once the process is successfully completed, you will see a ‘File(s) copied’ message on the Command Prompt window. And that’s it, you can now use the USB drive to fresh install Windows 11 on any computer.
There you go people, hopefully, using one of these 3 methods you will be able to create an installation media to fresh install Windows 11 if and when you need it and also help your near and dear ones install it on their supported PCs.