This is a step-by-step guide to creating a bootable USB drive with a Windows 10 or Windows 7 installation image for a UEFI computer. This is what we need:

  • A USB stick (USB v2 or v3) of at least 4 GB for Windows 7 or 8 GB for Windows 10 ;
  • A 64-bit Windows installation image (32-bit versions of Windows will not boot on a UEFI computer). The distribution of Windows can be done as an installation DVD or an ISO image file.

To boot a UEFI computer from a USB stick, the stick must be formatted in the FAT32 file system.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways to create a bootable UEFI USB drive for Windows 10 installation.

Using the Media Creation Tool to create a Windows 10installation USB flash drive

The official Microsoft tool for creating installation media and ISO images on Windows 10 is the Media Creation Tool. You can download the latest version here – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10.

Older versions of Windows USB/DVD load the USB drive formatted by the tool into the NTFS file system when writing the Windows 7 image. A UEFI computer cannot boot from this media in native mode. Therefore, this tool is not suitable for creating an installation flash with Windows 7.

  1. Run the file MediaCreationTool20H2.exe;
  2. Select Create an installation media (USB stick, DVD or ISO file) for another PC) ;
  3. Select the language, edition, and architecture (bit rate) of the Windows 10 image you want to write to the USB flash drive;
  4. Then select how the image should be written to the USB stick;
  5. Select your USB drive from the list of removable media and USB drives.

That’s all I’m saying. Click Next -> Finish and wait for the Windows installation image to be written to the USB stick.

In this case, formatting will permanently erase all data from the USB drive.

This USB stick can be used to boot UEFI and BIOS computers.

Using Rufus to create a Windows UEFIUSB drive

For inexperienced users, it is much easier to create a bootable UEFI USB drive to install Windows via the graphical interface of the popular Rufus program. Version 3.10 of Rufus is currently available on the developer’s website at https://rufus.ie. The tool is quite compact (about 1 MB), requires no installation and is absolutely free. He also works much faster than the others.

Run the Rufus tool as administrator and specify the following settings:

  • Device: Select your USB stick;
  • Select Boot : Specify the Windows ISO image file (you can create an ISO image of the latest version of Windows 10 using the Media Builder, see example);
  • Separation regime : GPT ;
  • Target System : UEFI (non-GSM) ;
  • File system : FAT32.

Press the START button to write the Windows image to the USB flash drive. In 10-15 minutes, your bootable USB drive with the Windows installation image for UEFI computers will be ready.

Using Diskpart to create a UEFI boot card in Windows

You can manually create a UEFI boot USB drive with the Windows installation image. The following procedure is suitable for experienced users, it is done from the command line and allows you to check (and understand) all the steps in the process of creating a bootable USB drive.

Step-by-step instructions for creating a bootable Windows USB flash drive for a UEFI system using diskpart :

  1. Connect the USB stick to the appropriate PC port;
  2. Run the command line as administrator ;
  3. Start the DISKPART program by entering the command line : Data carrier
  4. Displays a list of all hard drives in the computer: List of Hard Drives
  5. Find and select the drive that corresponds to your USB drive (drive 2 in our example) :
    Select disc 2
  6. Warning. The following command removes all information and partitions from the USB drive. It is therefore best to make sure in the previous step that you select the USB removable drive and not one of the hard drives in your computer. Delete all data from the disk with this command: clean
  7. Create a main section : Create a main section
  8. Make this partition active (system volume) : Active
  9. List system volumes with this command: listvolume
  10. Select the partition you created (in our example, volume 3): Select volume 3.
  11. Format the selected partition with FAT32: format fs=fat32 fast
    Note. Unlike older BIOS computers that allow booting from partitions with FAT, FAT32, exFAT or NTFS file systems, UEFI only allows booting from a boot disk located on a FAT32 boot disk.
  12. Assign a drive letter to the formatted partition: Assign.
  13. DISCPART output : Output

Copy the contents of the Windows x64 installation image to the prepared USB drive. For example, you can use Windows Explorer, your favorite file manager or the :

Passage d:* f: /s/e

(where D: is the installation DVD or mounted ISO image containing the Windows distribution, and F: is the letter assigned to the USB drive);
Note. Since the maximum file size in a FAT32 file system cannot exceed 4 GB, you cannot copy a large install.wim image file. The install.wim file may be larger than 4 GB if it contains updates, drivers, etc. In this case, you should split the file install.wim into several files with a maximum size of 4 GB (e.g. 3 GB). To do this, you can use the Dism /Split-Image command:
Dism /Split-Image /ImageFile:D:sourcesinstall.wim /SWMFile:c:tmpinstall.swm /FileSize:3000
Or with the imagex program:
imagex /split D:sourcesinstall.wim c:tmpinstall.swm 3000
The resulting files (install.swm, install2.swm, install3.swm…) must be copied to the USB storage device in the directory F:sources. The Windows installer mounts the zwm files and applies the full wim image to the hard drive during the installation process.

This completes the process of creating a bootable UEFI USB drive running Windows 10.

Create a bootable UEFI USB drive to install Windows 7.

When creating a Windows 7 installation USB drive for a UEFI computer, you need to perform additional steps:

  1. Navigate to the f:efimicrosoftboot folder on the USB drive;
  2. Copy the contents completely one level up (in the F:efiboot directory) ;
  3. Copy the file bootmgfw.efi to the f:efiboot directory and rename it to bootx64.efi.
    Pay attention. The UEFI environment must pass control to the bootx64.efi file. You can copy the bootmgfw.efi file from an installed Windows 7 x64 computer (it is located in the %windir%BootEFI directory). You can also get it with the 7ZIP archiver, for example. B. from the install.wim file in the installation ISO image. You will find it in the directory sourceinstall.wim1WindowsBootEFIbootmgfw.efi.

Pay attention. For some motherboards, you will also need to copy the bootx64.efi file to the root directory of the USB stick; it should have the same name as the shellx64.efi file.

Creating a bootable UEFI USB drive with PowerShell

You can also use the PowerShell commands to create a bootable UEFI USB drive.

The single-line PowerShell list lists the connected USB drives. After selecting the desired USB drive, it is emptied, the main partition is created and formatted in the FAT32 file system (using the Disk Management Module commands) :

Results = Get-Disk |Where-Object BusType -eq USB |Out-GridView -Value ‘Select USB Drive to Create UEFI bootable device’ -OutputMode Single |Clear-Disk -RemoveData -RemoveOEM -Confirm:$false -PassThru |New-Partition -UseMaximumSize -IActive -AssignDriveLetter |Format-Volume -FileSystem FAT32

Install the ISO image of the Windows 10 installation:

$ Volumes = (Get-Volume).where({$_.DriveLetter}).DriveLetter
Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath C:ISOWindows10-2004×64.iso
$ISO = (Compare-Object -ReferenceObject $Volumes -DifferenceObject (Get-Volume).where({$_.DriveLetter}).DriveLetter).InputObject

Since I could not determine in PowerShell which drive letter was assigned to the mounted ISO image, I had to use Compare-Object to compare the list of drives before and after mounting.

You now need to go to the boot directory and copy the contents to a USB drive using the Copy-Item command:

Set-Location -Path $($ISO): boot
bootsect.exe /nt60 $($Results.DriveLetter) :
Copy-Item -Path $($ISO):* -Destination $($Results.DriveLetter) : -Recourse. -Verbosa.

Note that installing a Windows operating system in UEFI mode requires the use of a GUID partition table (GPT) for the computer’s hard drive. You can use the mbr2gpt tool to convert an MBR disk to a GPT partition table without losing any data).

After the above procedures, you will have a bootable USB drive to install Windows on the EFU computer in native mode.

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