Windows, developed by Microsoft, is one of the world’s most widely used operating systems. Often, the need arises to reinstall or install Windows on a computer. While DVDs used to be a popular medium for this task, USB drives have taken over because of their convenience and faster installation speeds. If you’re new to this process, don’t worry. This article will guide you through installing Windows using a USB drive.
- USB Flash Drive: At least 8GB in size, though 16GB or larger is recommended for newer Windows versions.
- Windows ISO File: An ISO file is a digital copy of the Windows installation disc. You can obtain this from Microsoft’s official website.
- A computer: With a USB port and internet connection.
- Rufus or a similar tool: This software will help us create a bootable USB drive.
1. Preparing the USB Drive:
- Plug in your USB drive to a computer.
- Ensure you’ve backed up any data from your USB, as the process will erase everything on it.
2. Downloading the Necessary Software:
- Download the Windows ISO file from the official Microsoft website.
- Download Rufus from its official website.
3. Creating the Bootable USB Drive:
- Open Rufus.
- In the device dropdown, select your USB drive.
- In the “Boot selection” section, click “Select” and choose the Windows ISO file you downloaded earlier.
- Under “Partition scheme,” select “MBR” for older computers and “GPT” for newer ones (especially if they’re UEFI-based).
- Ensure the “File system” is set to “NTFS”.
- Click on “Start”. This will format the USB and copy the Windows installation files to it. This might take a while, so be patient.
4. Setting up your Computer to Boot from USB:
- Restart your computer.
- As it boots up, press the specific key (like F2, F10, F12, ESC, or DEL) that lets you enter the BIOS/UEFI. This key varies by manufacturer, so refer to your computer’s manual or online documentation.
- Navigate to the “Boot” menu.
- Change the boot order so the USB drive is the first to boot. Use the designated keys (often the arrow keys and +/-) to move the USB drive to the top.
- Save your settings and exit the BIOS/UEFI.
5. Installing Windows:
- Your computer should restart and boot from the USB drive.
- The Windows setup screens greet you. Follow the on-screen instructions.
- Select your language, time, currency format, and input method when prompted. Click “Next”.
- Click on “Install Now”.
- Enter your Windows product key if you have one. If you don’t, you can choose to enter it later.
- Select the correct version of Windows you want to install if prompted.
- Agree to the license terms.
- On the “Which type of installation do you want?” screen, choose “Custom.”
- Select the drive/partition where you want to install Windows. If you’re unsure, it’s typically safe to select the largest one or delete existing partitions and create a new one.
- Click “Next”.
- Windows will start the installation process. This can take some time, so grab a coffee or take a short break.
- Once done, the computer will reboot and guide you through setup, like setting up a username, password, and more.
6. Post-Installation Steps:
- Once you’ve set up Windows, visit the manufacturer’s website of your computer/laptop to download the latest drivers.
- Install essential software, set up security measures (like a good antivirus), and restore your backed-up data.
Installing Windows via a USB drive might seem daunting at first, but it’s a straightforward task with the right tools and guidance. Always remember to back up your data and follow the steps carefully. Congratulations on your fresh Windows installation!