Installing Windows 10 from a Flash Drive

Tags: CLI, Installing Windows

8 and a half years ago I wrote about Installing Windows from a Flash Drive. These instructions have served very well for all that time. Like most things, however, times change and instructions that used to work need tweaking.

I recently got a Microsoft Surface Laptop and it’s a great machine. The first thing I did was to upgrade from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro. Then I installed a Windows Insiders build on it and that’s when things started going bad. All Win32 apps would fail to launch. Making it seem like this machine has gone back to Windows 10 S.

So I decided that a fresh install of the OS was needed. However, when I built the flash drive to install the OS refused to boot from it. Someone in a forum suggested that I had secure boot enabled in the BIOS and that’s why the flash drive wouldn’t boot. Looking deeper into this situation I found that you need to use the GPT format instead of MBR.

Okay, let’s try that. Here’s how to prepare the USB drive now. From an elevated command line run these commands:

  1. diskpart
  2. list disk
  3. select disk x
  4. clean
  5. convert gpt
  6. create partition primary
  7. select partition 1
  8. active
  9. format fs=fat32 quick
  10. assign
  11. exit
  12. robocopy D:\ E:\ /MIR

As with the old instructions, we are assuming that the ISO image is mounted on D: and that the new thumb drive is E:. If either of these assumptions are wrong then modify line 12 accordingly.

Again, line 2 will list out the disks and you have to decide which one is your thumb drive. This number goes in line 3 where the x is.

Once all this is done, select boot to USB Device in the UEFI and good luck!

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