How to create a Bootable Windows 10 Installer

Get Windows 10, for free, legally, the easy way.

My computer runs...

macOS icon

macOS 10.12+
OS X 10.10+

Microsoft Windows icon

Windows 10

Linux icon

Ubuntu 18.04
Debian

I need a...

Bootable USB
Card image cap

Physical USB Flash

Bootable DVD
Card image cap

Physical DVD / BD

Bootable ISO
VirtualBox Icon

Disk Image File

How to create a Bootable Windows 10 Installer from Windows

  1. Open Microsoft Edge (not Google Chrome, not Mozilla Firefox)
  2. Go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
    • Open ...more toolsDeveloper Tools
    • Click emulation
    • Select Apple iPad
    • Now download the Windows 10 ISO
  3. The downloaded .iso is bootable and suitable for
    • Virtual Machines
    • DVDs
    • USB Flash Drives
  4. Right click on the .iso and select Burn
  5. Download Etcher from Balena
  6. Burn the Win10_xxxx_English_x64.iso to your USB using Etcher.

How to create a Bootable Windows 10 Installer from Linux

  1. Download the Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft
  2. The downloaded .iso is bootable and suitable for
    • Virtual Machines
    • DVDs
    • USB Flash Drives
  3. Right click on the .iso and select Burn
  4. Download Etcher from Balena
  5. Burn the Win10_xxxx_English_x64.iso to your USB using Etcher.

How to create a Bootable Windows 10 Installer from macOS

  1. Download the Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft
  2. The downloaded .iso is bootable and suitable for
    • Virtual Machines
    • DVDs
    • USB Flash Drives
  3. Right click on the .iso and select Burn
  4. Download Etcher from Balena
  5. Burn the Win10_xxxx_English_x64.iso to your USB using Etcher.

Need a Good Virtual Machine?

I personally use VirtualBox, but there's also a free version of VMware Workstation Player for Windows and Linux (but not Mac).

Need a Good DVD Writer?

For best compatibility use DVD-R 4.7gb when possible, or DVD+R DL 8.5gb for larger disc images.

Here's the DVD burner I personally use, and the DVD+Rs I'd buy if I didn't already have spindle:

Need a Good USB flash drive?

I recommend using MicroSD reader with a MicroSD card rated U-III (U3), v30 or 4k (all different names for the same thing), which means that it has a guaranteed minimum write speed of 30+mb/s in the worst case scenario (meaning likely 60+mb/s in the average case).

Here's what I personally use:

Option 1: MicroSD + USB 3+ Reader

Rocketek MicroSD USB Adapter
Rocketek MicroSD USB 3 Adapter (USB 3 speed verified)
nonda USB C to USB 3 Adapter
nonda USB C to USB 3 Adapter (optional, if needed)
Silicon Power 32 GB MicroSD
Silicon Power 32 GB (USB 3 speed verified)
Samsung Evo+ 32 GB MicroSD
Samsung Evo+ 32 GB (USB 3 speed verified)
Silicon Power 128 GB MicroSD
Silicon Power 128 GB (55mb/s USB 3 write speed verified)
Samsung Evo+ 512 GB MicroSD
Samsung Evo+ 512 GB (65mb/s USB 3 write speed verified)

Option 2: USB 3+ Hard Drive

2TB USB 3 Hard Drive
2TB USB 3 Hard Drive (for backups, etc)
2TB USB-C Hard Drive
2TB USB-C Hard Drive (specifically for Mac, pre-formatted)

Why not a plain old pen drive?

I've personally bought over a dozen different USB drives, but none are as fast as modern MicroSD cards.

If you are set on getting a flash drive, however, I'd definitely recommend one of these that have relatively good ratings and are thin enough that they don't block other USB ports - even when stacked side-by-side, for some of them.

USB drives have no reliable rating for reliability or speed, and there's no accountability for false advertising - even among top brands.

After testing DOZENS of USB drives, including those from name brands like Samsung, Transcend, and Kingston, I found that they're ALL ABSOLUTE GARBAGE.

As you can see in the Amazon Reviews, even the most expensive USB drives from top brands are either very SLOW or outright FAKE. Even those that average 4+ stars are rated poorly by people who transfer large files or otherwise actually test the speed against what's advertised.

However, you can get MicroSD cards have a verified rating (such as U-I, V30, V60, V90) which refers not to a theoretical "maximum" speed, but rather a guaranteed minimum / worst performance speed.