I want to create a Windows 10 bootable USB drive (or microSD in USB) through Ubuntu without third party apps.

  • I tried dd, but it won't work, no boot.

  • I also tried formatting the device as FAT32 and copying the files, but that does not work anymore as one of the files from the ISO is larger than 4 GB.

  • The answers on How can I create a Windows bootable USB stick using Ubuntu? all use third party apps or make me copy the files, which won't work anymore.

So how can I create a Windows 10 bootable USB drive through Ubuntu without third party apps?

  • 4
    Officially the only way to create proprietary Windows installation media is using the proprietary "media creation tool" from Microsoft which only works on (proprietary) Windows. The question you linked contains all the info available for how to do this using Ubuntu
    – Nmath
    Jul 5, 2021 at 2:16
  • To boot in UEFI mode, you have to have install files in a FAT32 partition with esp,boot flags. It used to be that you could just extract ISO and have it boot in UEFI only mode. But Microsoft made the .wim file over 4GB and that does not fit on FAT32 partition. The Windows installer automatically splits the .wim file to make it work. Many older instructions are for the older smaller .wim file. askubuntu.com/questions/1274878/… & dedoimedo.com/computers/windows-10-usb-media-linux.html
    – oldfred
    Jul 5, 2021 at 3:32
  • 1
    How do you decide if an app is third party? Ubuntu developers did not create dd either. Third party apps make Ubuntu what it is. Jul 5, 2021 at 3:42
  • @ArchismanPanigrahi I just meant something in a PPA or downloadable. Things in apt-get should be ok, but the less dependent method would be preferable Jul 5, 2021 at 3:45
  • 1
    Did you mean "with only free software". Then change it. Jul 13, 2021 at 14:16

2 Answers 2


A simple 'Do it yourself' method

A rather simple 'Do it yourself' method is described at the following links. You can create Windows install drives that work in UEFI mode as well as in BIOS mode,

This 'Do it yourself' method is for you

  • if you have a Windows iso file that contains a file, install.wim, with a size > 4 GiB, or
  • if you don't like PPAs, or
  • if you want to 'Do it yourself' and understand the details

Implemented in mkusb version 12.5.6 and newer versions

This 'Do it yourself' method is implemented in mkusb-tow and available via mkusb version 12.5.6 (mkusb-dus) and mkusb-plug.

You get/update this new version of mkusb from the mkusb PPA via the following commands

sudo add-apt-repository universe  # this line only for standard Ubuntu

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mkusb mkusb-plug

sudo apt-get install usb-pack-efi  # only for persistent live drives

If what you want is to make a bootable Windows USB (for installation purposes) from the Windows OS ISO file, then that could be easier than you think.

  1. You will need first to prepare the USB disk by formatting it into MBR/DOS disk format first, which can be done with e.g. gnome-disks by selecting the USB disk then choosing Format Disk... from the main menu like so:

    Format Disk option in Disks

  2. Choose the right format and click Format... to format the disk:

    Format Disk dialog

  3. Create an NTFS partition on the disk by clicking the + sign and then clicking Next in the top of the dialog box. Then choose For use with Windows (NTFS) and format by clicking Create like so:

    Format Volume dialog

    Now, your USB is ready.

  4. Mount the Windows ISO by right-clicking on it and choosing Open with disk image mounter like so:

    right-click menu on ISO

  5. Then select the newly created mount point from the left side of the file manager like so:

    Mount point selection in file manager

  6. Finally, copy all those Windows files to the NTFS partition you previously created on the USB disk. Wait for the copying process to finish and make sure you gracefully eject the USB disk afterwords to avoid any copy/filesystem errors. That's it.

Technical Notice

UEFI standards require FAT32 support, but don't require NTFS support nor it prohibits it. However, manufacturers are increasingly adding NTFS support as well lately (I mean in the last decade). Moreover, even before that, most systems ship preconfigured with "UEFI first" firmware setting and not "pure UEFI" mode. Also, systems that can only support "pure UEFI" exist, but are not common.

The assumption that UEFI can only support FAT32/16/12 was never true, please see the 4th paragraph here that sums it up. And as the firmware dedicated chips increase in size, not only NTFS will be supported, but other filesystems will be supported natively as well.

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