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How to Create a Bootable Windows 11 USB Drive

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A bootable Windows 11 USB drive is the best way to install Windows 11. (Who wants to burn a DVD?) You can easily create one with a flash drive, a free download from Microsoft, and a Windows PC.

What You’ll Need

To use the Media Creation Tool, you need a PC running Windows 10 or 11 as well as a USB drive that is eight gigabytes or larger. An external solid-state drive (SSD) or external hard disk drive (HDD) would also suffice.

Tip: Before you try to use the bootable drive, check if your PC can run Windows 11. If it can’t, you should read about how to install Windows 11 on an unsupported PC.

RELATED: How Create a USB Flash Drive Installer for Windows 10, 8, or 7

Creating a Bootable USB Drive

Microsoft provides an application to automatically create a bootable Windows 11 USB drive on their website. Scroll down until you see a section titled “Create Windows 11 Installation Media.” Then, under that, click “Download Now.”

Click "Download now."

When it finishes downloading, hit Ctrl+J to open the downloads menu on your browser. Every browser is a little different, but you’re looking for a file named “MediaCreationToolW11.exe.” Click it to start the installation.

The first page is the terms and conditions — just hit “Accept.”

Click "Accept."

The next page has a few options — if you’d like to install Windows 11 in a different language, untick the box “Use the recommended options for this PC” and select a language. Otherwise, click “Next.”

Click "Next."

Ensure “USB Flash Drive” is selected, then click “Next.”

First click "USB Flash drive." Then click "Next."

Warning: Using the Windows Media Creation Tool will wipe everything on the USB drive you choose. Be absolutely sure there is nothing important on the drive before proceeding past this point.

Select the USB drive you want, and then click “Next.”

Click the USB drive you want, and then click "Next."

Now wait. The Media Creation Tool will download Windows 11 from Microsoft’s servers. This may take a while depending on your internet speed. When it is done, click “Finish.”

Click "Finish."

Safely eject the drive by clicking the small USB icon on your taskbar, and then by clicking the name of the USB drive.

RELATED: How to Never “Safely Remove” a USB Drive Again on Windows 10

Your bootable Windows 11 USB drive is now ready. It is easy to change your PC’s boot order in the BIOS if you want to use the drive to install Windows 11, either by itself or with a Linux dual boot setup.

RELATED: How to Boot Your Computer From a Disc or USB Drive

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