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How to Create a Bootable Windows 10 USB on Ubuntu

During the recording of the Ubuntu Podcast this week Ubuntu MATE’s Martin Wimpress mentioned a tool he used to create a bootable Windows 10 USB on Ubuntu.

I rarely make use of Windows 10 myself but I know that, every now and then, you might need to. And should you need to make a bootable Windows USB I’m sure you’d rather do it on your Ubuntu or Linux desktop.

Now, before we go on, be aware that the method I present in this post is just one of several ways to go about this. I’s probably the easiest way to make a bootable USB of Windows 10 that actually boots, but I’m not saying that it’s the only way.

WoeUSB Lets You Create Bootable Windows USB on Ubuntu

WoeUSB is the (oddly named) tool we are going use to create a bootable Windows 10 USB stick on the Ubuntu desktop. It’s a fork of an earlier tool called WinUSB.

The tool is free, open-source software. It is available as both a GUI and CLI client though this post we focus on the graphical version.

WoeUSB lets you create bootable USB of most modern Windows releases, including: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Window 8, Windows 10. The tool supports all languages and all versions of Windows, including pro, home, N, 32-bit, etc, and will work with both ‘legacy’ and ‘UEFI’ bootmodes.

For advanced usage you can dive in to the WoeUSB CLI which has all sorts of flags and switches. Most of you will be fine using the GUI client though.

To make a bootable Windows USB on Ubuntu you will need:

  • WoeUSB app
  • USB flash drive (4GB minimum)
  • Windows 10 .iso file

Microsoft lets you download Windows 10 disc images from their website so if you don’t have one, you can go grab one. Be aware that you will need a valid Windows license to activate and use the OS, but you don’t need one to create an install USB or install it.

1. Download WoeUSB from Github

WoeUSB is available to download from its Github page as source code. Ubuntu users can download installer that pulls it all the required dependencies is also available, but an actual installer for the app is not available there.

The easiest way to install WoeUSB on Ubuntu is by downloading one of these installers from the Webup8 PPA (though an official PPA is on the way):

Download WoeUSB for Ubuntu 17.04 (64-bit)

Download WoeUSB for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (64-bit)

Installers for Ubuntu 17.04 (32-bit) and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (32-bit) are also available.

2. Run WoeUSB

Once WoeUSB is installed you can launch the app from the Unity Dash (or whatever menu your desktop environment provides).

The app is super simple to use.

First select a valid Windows 10 ISO image using the file selector, and then select the correct USB drive you want to install it to from the ‘Target device’ section.

If you don’t see your USB device listed in the ‘Target device’ section make sure it’s attached and then click the ‘refresh’ button to update the list of attached devices.

3. Hit install

Once you’re ready to roll you can go ahead and hit install.

But before you do this please, please double-check that you’ve selected the correct drive first. The install process will reformat and wipe the contents of the selected USB drive. You will lose any data stored on it.

Other than that, the tool will do the rest. Just let it run its course. Once done you can close the app, eject the USB and use it to install Windows 10 on a different device.

Everything should work as normal — though I’m told the app may spit an error out but that the actual USB will still boot/install fine — but if it doesn’t you can file bugs on the WoeUSB Github page.

Open WoeUSB Issues Page on Github