Installing Windows 11 from a USB is a great way to upgrade to the new operating system while having a portable way of installing it on any other device. This guide will share the steps you need to take to install Windows 11 from a USB.
Note: before installing Windows 11 using a USB device, we recommend fully backing files on both your PC and USB.
Step 1: Create a Bootable Windows 11 USB Drive
Using Windows 11 Media Creation Tool
The Media Creation Tool is a utility provided by Microsoft that allows users to create a bootable USB drive or DVD of Windows 11. This tool is straightforward to use, and in just a few steps, you can create a bootable USB drive.
- Before you begin, you will need a new (or formatted) USB disc with at least 8GB of storage.
- Download the Media Creation ToolDownload the Media Creation Tool
- Once the download is complete, navigate to the downloaded exe file and run it.
- Windows 11 setup will begin. Click Accept to get started.
5. A screen asking you to choose the language and edition you want will appear on the following page. Uncheck “Use recommended options for this PC” and choose the preferred language.
6. After choosing the edition and the language you want, select Next.
- Select the USB flash drive option and then click Next.
- If you can’t find your USB flash drive on the next screen, click Refresh drive list. Your USB drive should pop up on the list. Select it and click Next.
- After the previous step, the Windows 11 Media Creation Tool will begin downloading Windows to the USB drive. This process takes a while, so be patient.
- Once the process is complete, select Finish.
- Now, you can remove the flash drive and use it on another PC to perform a clean installation of Windows 11.
Rufus is a free, open-source utility that formats and creates bootable USB drives. This method is a little more complicated than using the Media Creation Tool. Still, it can be helpful if you’re looking for more advanced features.
- Download the Windows 11 ISO file from here.
- Download the Rufus utility.
- Once the download is complete, open the exe file and launch it.
- Connect your USB drive to your PC.
- Select your USB drive from the list under the Device section in the Rufus window.
- Next, click on the SELECT button under the “Boot selection” section and select the Windows 11 ISO file you just downloaded.
- Under the “Image option“ section, select Standard Windows installation (TPM 2.0 + Secure Boot).
If you have non-compatible hardware, choose the Extended Windows installation (no TPM / no Secure Boot) option.
- Under “Partition scheme”, select the GPT option.
- Select the dropdown menu in the “Target system” section and choose UEFI (non CSM).
- Click the Show advanced format options dropdown, then check Quick format and Create extended label and icon files. This step will format your USB drive – make sure you backup any important information on it first.
- Finally, click the START button and wait for Rufus to format your USB drive and create the bootable Windows 11 installation.
Step 2: Install Windows 11 using the bootable USB drive
After creating your bootable USB drive, you can now proceed to install Windows 11.
- Connect the bootable USB drive to your PC.
- Make sure that your USB is the first boot device. To do this, during your computer’s start-up, press the required key to open the BIOS menu. Every PC has different keys (usually F2, F12, or DEL). You can also enter the BIOS using Windows 11’s start menu: Open Windows 11 settings and then Navigate to System > Recovery > Restart Now.
- Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > UEFI Firmware Settings and press Restart.
- After restarting, you will see the BIOS menu. Go to the Advanced Bios Features
- Navigate to the First Boot Device and select USB-HDD.
- Save your changes by pressing the F10 key.
- While the PC is restarting, keep pressing the required key to open the Boot Menu. It may be different for each PC, but it will generally be F2, F12, Esc, or Delete.
- Select your USB drive, and press Enter when you see the Boot Menu.
- Once you press enter, you’ll see the Windows installation screen.
- Select your language, time and currency format, keyboard, or input method, then click Next.
- Click the Install now button
- On the next page, you need to enter your product key. You can skip this step and activate Windows 11 later if you don’t have one.
- Choose a Windows version and click Next.
- Accept the license terms and then click Next.
- Two options will appear:
Upgrade: will keep all your files and settings, but update/reinstall core Windows files.
Custom: will erase everything and do a clean installation of windows. If you’re selling your computer, we recommend doing a custom installation so that you can erase everything and start fresh.
- On the next page, you’ll see a list of all the drives and partitions on your PC. Select the drive you want to install Windows on, and click Next.
- The installation process will begin. This process will take a while, so be patient.
- Once the installation is complete, you’ll have to set up Windows 11. Follow the on-screen instructions to do this.
- After you set up your Windows, you can start using it.
Backup Files Before Installing Windows 11
If you are doing a clean installation of Windows 11, we recommend you backup all your essential files as everything on your PC will be erased (unless you choose to keep certain files).