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How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media with Media Creation Tool

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One of the best things about Windows is the ease with which people can upgrade or downgrade to a particular version. To further aid this, Microsoft has a utility application called the media creation tool that allows users to create a bootable USB drive (or download an ISO file and burn it onto a DVD) of any Windows OS version. The tool also comes in handy for updating a personal computer as the built-in Windows Update functionality is notorious for malfunctioning every now and then. We have already covered a bunch of Windows Update related errors including the most common ones such as Error 0x80070643, Error 80244019, etc.

You can use installation media (a USB flash drive or DVD) to install a new copy of Windows or reinstall Windows but before that, you need to create Windows 10 installation media with Media Creation Tool. Let’s see how to do that with the below-listed step-by-step guide.

How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media with Media Creation Tool

How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media with Media Creation Tool

Before we get started with the procedure of creating a bootable USB flash drive or DVD, you will need to check for the following requirements:

  • A good and stable internet connection – The Windows ISO file that the tool downloads range anywhere between 4 to 5 GB (usually around 4.6 GB) so you will need an internet connection with a decent speed otherwise it might take you more than a couple of hours to create the bootable drive.
  • An empty USB drive or DVD of at least 8 GB – All the data contained in your 8GB+ USB will be deleted when turning it into a bootable drive so create a backup of all its contents beforehand.
  • System requirements for Windows 10 – If you are planning to use the bootable drive to install Windows 10 on an archaic system, it will be better to pre-check the system requirements for Windows 10 to ensure the system’s hardware can smoothly run it. Visit Microsoft’s official website to know the basic requirements for installing Windows 10 on a PC: How to Check Windows 10 Computer System Specs & Requirements.
  • Product Key – Finally, you will need a new product key to activate Windows 10 post-installation. You can also use Windows without activating, but you won’t be able to access certain settings and utilize a few features. Also, a pesky watermark will persist at the bottom-right of your screen.

If you are using the media creation tool to install updates on the existing computer, just ensure you have enough empty space to accommodate the updated OS files.

As mentioned earlier, one of the prerequisites for creating a Windows 10 installation media is a blank USB drive. Now, some of you might be using a brand new USB drive for this purpose, but it won’t hurt to give the drive another format before using it.

1. Properly plug in the USB drive to your computer.

2. Once the computer detects the new storage media, launch the File Explorer by pressing Windows key + E, go to This PC, and right-click on the connected USB drive. Select Format from the ensuing context menu.

3. Enable Quick Format by ticking the box next to it and click on Start to initiate the formatting process. In the warning pop-up that appears, confirm your action by clicking on OK.

select NTFS (default) file system & mark check box Quick Format

If it is indeed a brand new USB drive, formatting won’t take more than a couple of seconds. After which you can start creating the bootable drive.

1. Open up your preferred web browser and visit the official download page of the Media Creation Tool for Windows 10. Click on the Download tool now button to start downloading. The media creation tool is a little over 18 megabytes so it should hardly take a couple of seconds to download the file (although it will depend on your internet speed).

Click on the Download tool now button to start downloading

2. Locate the downloaded file (MediaCreationTool2004.exe) on your computer (This PC > Downloads) and double-click on it to launch the tool.

Note: A User Account Control pop-up requesting administrative privileges for the media creation tool will appear. Click on Yes to grant permission and open the tool.

3. Like every application, the media creation tool will ask you to read its license terms and accept them. If you have nothing scheduled for the rest of the day, go ahead and read all the terms carefully or like the rest of us, skip them and directly click on Accept to continue.

Click on Accept to continue | Create Windows 10 Installation Media with Media Creation Tool

4. You will now be presented with two different options, namely, upgrade the PC you are currently running the tool on and create an installation media for another computer. Select the latter and click on Next.

Select create an installation media for another computer and click on Next

5. In the following window, you will need to select the Windows configuration. Firstly, unlock the drop-down menus by unticking the box next to Use the recommended options for this PC.

Unticking the box next to Use the recommended options for this PC | Create Windows 10 Installation Media with Media Creation Tool

6. Now, go ahead and select the language & architecture for Windows. Click on Next to continue.

Select the language and architecture for Windows. Click on Next to continue

7. As mentioned earlier, you can either use a USB drive or a DVD disc as the installation media. Select the storage media you want to use and hit Next.

Select the storage media you want to use and hit Next

8. If you select the ISO file option, as obvious, the tool will first create an ISO file which you can burn on the blank DVD later.

9. If there are multiple USB drives connected to the computer, you will need to manually select the one you want to use on the ‘Select a USB flash drive’ screen.

Select a USB flash drive screen | Create Windows 10 Installation Media with Media Creation Tool

10. However, if the tool fails to recognize your USB drive, click on Refresh Drive List or reconnect the USB. (If on Step 7 you choose ISO disc instead of a USB drive, you will be first asked to confirm a location on the hard drive where the Windows.iso file will be saved)

Click on Refresh Drive List or reconnect the USB

11. It is a waiting game here, onwards. The media creation tool will start downloading Windows 10 and depending on your internet speed; the tool may take up to an hour to finish downloading. You can meanwhile continue to use your computer by minimizing the tool window. Although, do not perform any internet extensive tasks or the tool’s download speed will get affected negatively.

Media creation tool will start downloading Windows 10

12. The media creation tool will automatically start creating the Windows 10 installation media once it finishes downloading.

Media creation tool will automatically start creating the Windows 10 installation

13. Your USB Flash Drive will be ready in a few minutes. Click on Finish to exit.

Click on Finish to exit | Create Windows 10 Installation Media with Media Creation Tool

If you choose the ISO file option earlier, you will be provided with an option to save the downloaded ISO file and exit or burn the file on a DVD.

1. Insert the blank DVD in the DVDRW tray of your computer and click on Open DVD Burner.

Click on Open DVD Burner

2. In the following window, select your disc from the Disc burner drop-down and click on Burn.

Select your disc from the Disc burner drop-down and click on Burn

3. Plug this USB drive or DVD to another computer and boot from it (repeatedly press ESC/F10/F12 or any other designated key to enter the boot selection menu and select USB/DVD as the boot media). Simply follow all the on-screen instructions to install Windows 10 on the new computer.

4. If you are using the media creation tool to upgrade your existing PC, after step 4 of the above method, the tool will automatically check your PC and start downloading files for the upgrade. Once the downloading process is complete, you will again be asked to read and accept some license terms.

Note: The tool will now start checking for new updates and set up your computer to install them. This might take some time.

5. Finally, on the Ready to install screen, you will see a recap of your choices which you can change by clicking on ‘Change what to keep’.

Click on ‘Change what to keep’

6. Select one of the three available options (Keep personal files and apps, Keep personal files only or Keep nothing) carefully and click Next to continue.

Click Next to continue | Create Windows 10 Installation Media with Media Creation Tool

7. Click on Install and sit back while the media creation tool upgrades your personal computer.

Click on Install

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So this is how you can use Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool to create a bootable Windows 10 installation media for another computer. This bootable media will also come in handy if your system ever experiences a crash or is plagued by a virus and you need to install Windows all over again. If you are stuck on any step of the above procedure and need further help, feel free to get in touch with us in the comments below.

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Elon Decker

Elon is a tech writer at TechCult. He's been writing how-to guides for about 6 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to cover topics related to Windows, Android, and the latest tricks and tips.

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