The latest version of Windows, Windows 11 is here! Everybody is curious and wants to use the new Windows 11 right away. For all the eligible PCs with Windows 10, Windows 11 is going to be a free upgrade and you will receive it just like any other Windows update.
In case you do not want to wait any longer, you can create Windows 11 bootable media and install Windows 11 right away on your PC.
In this guide, you will see three methods to create Windows 11 bootable USB flash disk. Using the bootable media, you can install Windows 11 on any eligible PC.
Minimum Requirements for Windows 11
Now before you get yourself all excited and create Windows 11 bootable media it is important to check if your PC can run Windows 11, here are the minimum system requirements:
- Minimum 4GB RAM
- Minimum 65 GB Storage
- UEFI with Secure Boot
- Graphics card with DirectX 12 with WDDM 2.0 Driver.
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
The bottom line is that your computer system should be modern and must have UEFI with Secure Boot and the TPM 2.0 chip. Most of the modern laptops/computers come equipped with it.
Understanding Firmware(UEFI, BIOS), Partition Styles(MBR, GPT) and File Systems(NTFS, FAT32)
Before you jump to create a bootable USB disk, it is important to know how you should format the USB disk. There may be an incompatibility issue if you wrongly format the disk. To have a clear idea, you need to know about firmware, disk partition style, and file systems.
UEFI and BIOS are both firmware that helps in loading the operating system to the memory so that your computer can work. BIOS is an older firmware and UEFI is better in pretty much everything BIOS does.
Most of the laptops and PCs come equipped with UEFI firmware these days. Windows 11 can only run on a computer with UEFI firmware.
On the other hand, GPT and MBR are partition styles and they determine how the operating system is loaded at the time of startup.
We have a dedicated guide explaining firmware and partition styles. If you are curious to know more about them, you can refer to our guide:
The bottom line is UEFI works with GPT and if you are creating a USB bootable media, that is the structure you have to follow.
Another thing is the file systems, these are NTFS and FAT32 mainly. The file system determines how the information on a drive is stored and retrieved. Here are the cases of file structures you need to know:
|MBR with FAT32||Works with BIOS and UEFI systems in most cases|
|MBR with NTFS||It may not boot with some UEFI firmware|
|GPT with FAT32||Works with UEFI systems|
|GPT with NTFS||Doesn’t works with most UEFI systems|
What’s the Catch?
Ideally, you should format your bootable drive as GPT with FAT32, right? Since it can work on all the UEFI systems.
However, that is where the problem occurs. You see, FAT32 format can’t take a single file larger than 4GB in size. Windows 11 has a file that is larger than 4GB so you can’t create a GPT disk with FAT32 format.
That leaves you wondering what type of disk structure and file system should you use to create Windows 11 bootable media.
Well, there is a workaround for that: you need a USB drive with two partitions. One partition will be FAT32 and contain the bootloader and some other important files.
And the other partition which will be NTFS will contain larger remaining files. You can do this by using a third-party tool called RUFUS or by CMD.
Create Windows 11 Bootable USB Flash Disk
Right now you can create Windows 11 bootable disk using 3 methods.
1. Using Microsoft Media Creation Tool
Microsoft makes it easy for you to create Windows 11 bootable media. You can achieve it by using the Media Creation tool from Microsoft. Here is how to use it:
Step 1: Plug a USB drive into your PC. Make sure that it is at least 8GB in size.
Step 2: Download the Media Creation Tool from the official Microsoft site.
Step 3: Now open the tool by double-clicking it.
Step 4: Grant all the permissions and click on Accept.
Step 5: Select language and Windows edition then click on Next.
Step 6: Here select the USB flash drive option.
Step 7: From the list, select the USB drive you want to make bootable media. Click on Next.
Step 8: The tool will now download Windows 11 and create bootable media for you.
Once it is done, you will get a message reading, “Your USB flash drive is ready”.
Once you are done, click on Finish.
2. Using Rufus
For this method, you will need three things: a Windows 11 ISO file, Rufus tool, and a USB flash drive(of course).
You can download Windows 11 ISO file from Microsoft’s official site.
Once you download the ISO file, extract it using WinRAR or some other extracting tool.
Then plug your USB drive into the PC and follow the steps below:
Step 1: Download Rufus on your PC and launch the tool. It does not require installation.
Step 2: On the top, you have to select your USB flash drive.
Step 3: Then click on SELECT and select your Windows 11 ISO file.
Step 4: The Partition scheme should be GPT and the Target system should be UEFI.
Step 5: Under Format Options you can type the name for your bootable media.
Step 6: Now click on START. Click on OK when the warning popup comes on the screen and let the process complete.
The process is going to take some time so be patient.
You will get a notice to not disable secure boot as Windows 11 uses Secure Boot. Click on Close and then CLOSE again.
That’s it! Your Windows 11 bootable media is now ready.
3. Create Windows 11 Bootable USB Drive Using Command Prompt
As mentioned earlier, to install Windows 11 on a PC, your bootable media must be compatible with UEFI firmware. Now, a GPT disk with the FAT32 file system can work with all UEFI systems, but it can’t store files larger than 4GB.
So to do that, we need to create two partitions in the USB drive, one will be FAT32 and one will be NTFS. If you use third-party tools like Rufus, they already do it while creating the bootable media.
However, if you want to do it the classic way, you need to do that all with the command prompt.
Here are a few things you need to keep ready: download and extract Windows 11 ISO files using WinRAR or WinZIP. Also, plugin a USB drive with at least 8GB capacity. Then follow these steps:
Creating a GPT Disk
Step 1: Go to the taskbar, type “command prompt” in the search bar, right-click on it to Run as administrator.
Step 2: Once the command prompt window opens, type the following command and hit enter:
Step 3: Type the following command and hit enter again:
Step 4: Find your USB drive by its storage capacity. Select it by using the following command:
select disk DISK_NUMBER
For example, the disk number of my USB drive is 2 so I used select disk 2
Step 5: Clean the disk by typing the following command and hitting enter:
Step 6: Convert the disk into GPT by typing:
Step 7: Now we have to create two partitions of the USB drive. For that use the following command:
create partition primary size=850
Here 850 is the size in megabytes. You can go up to 1024MB and that is the maximum you should go.
Step 8: Create the second partition with this command:
create partition primary
Step 9: Now we have to format both of the partitions. To select the first partition, type the following command:
select partition 1
Step 10: To format the first partition use this command:
format fs=fat32 quick
Step 11: Assign a letter to this partition by using the following command:
For example, you can assign it to letter A by using assign letter=A.
Step 12: Now select the other partition by using the following command:
select partition 2
Step 13: To format the first partition use this command:
format fs=ntfs quick
Step 14: Assign a letter to this partition by using the following command:
For example, you can assign it to letter A by using assign letter=B.
You have now created two partitions in the USB drive. Now you can exit the CMD window and follow the next steps.
Pasting Windows Files in the USB
Open the file explorer and you will see the USB drive now has two partitions. Partition A is FAT32 and B is NTFS. Follow these steps to copy files into both of the partitions:
Step 1: Open the Windows 11 ISO files from extracted folder.
Step 2: Copy everything from here except the sources folder.
Step 3: Paste the copied files in the A partition which is the FAT32 partition.
Step 4: Now go to the Windows 11 ISO file extracted folder again and copy the sources folder.
Step 5: Paste it in the B partition of the USB drive.
Step 6: Now open the sources folder in the USB drive B partition and locate a file named boot.wim.
Step 7: Select this file, right-click on it and then click on Cut.
Step 8: Go to the A partition of the USB drive, right-click in the empty space and create a new folder and name it sources.
Step 9: Paste the boot.wim file that you cut from the B partition in this folder.
That’s it and now your USB drive is all good. That is how you create Windows 11 bootable media using CMD.
Above 3 are different ways to create Windows 11 bootable USB disk. It is easy to use media creation tool and rufus, the cmd method is bit tricky but it will help you to understand the working behind scene.
Try to use the first two methods as they are comparatively easy and do not require a lot of typing.