Many users need to create an image of Windows 10. To correctly perform this operation, you need not only to understand the features of this operating system, but also to be able to work with various tools for creating an ISO image. Users who have not previously encountered creating Windows installation media are advised to read the detailed guide.
What is a Windows 10 image and what is it used for
A disc image is a file that copies the contents of an original disc with a specific software product. In this particular case, the software product is the Windows 10 operating system.
The created image is written to an external medium, as a rule, to a USB flash drive, which can later be used as an installation disk. When opening a file recorded on a file, the behavior of the system will be the same as if the user had placed a regular disk with an operating system on the computer.
It is worth creating a bootable Windows 10 image and having an installation USB drive with you for several reasons. Firstly, any, even the most stable operating system, starts to work slower over time. At some point, the user may need to do a clean reinstallation of the OS in order to restore the previous level of performance.
A similar procedure may be required if the system is infected with viruses that cannot be detected and neutralized using special programs. Installing a new Windows 10 or restoring Windows 10 will help solve this problem, or at least temporarily restore the normal operation of the device.
Secondly, if you create an image of the installed Windows 10, you can be sure that in the event of failures or breakdowns, you can install the operating system on your PC without any unnecessary difficulties. This is especially true for computers and laptops with a damaged hard drive. Incorrect operation of the drive can lead to loss of system data and subsequent failure of Windows.
Thirdly, a bootable USB flash drive recorded with your own hand can be used to transfer the operating system to another computer. This is convenient if you need to update an old version of Windows to 10. Previously, this procedure can be carried out directly through the update center. But now it is no longer possible to upgrade to the tenth version for free, which explains the need for an installation disc.
Preparing to create an ISO Windows 10
Creating an image of a bootable Windows 10 flash drive is generally not difficult. Several attributes are needed to successfully complete this process.
- Flash drive with a capacity of at least 8 GB. It can be replaced with an SD card if you have a card reader. If you have an optical drive, you can use a regular disk, but this option is not recommended, especially if you plan to install the OS on a laptop.
- Stable internet connection. In the process of creating an image, additional loading of data occurs. On average, you will need to download 4-7 GB of data.
- Security key. To create a bootable disk, you need a key that consists of 25 characters. The required combination of symbols can be found on the box (if you purchased a branded distribution kit), in the confirmation letter (if you use a digital copy). If the user upgraded Windows 7 or 8 to 10 for free, then a digital license is used instead of a key.
To create an image, you need the Windows Media Creation Tool or Rufus. These programs can be downloaded from the developer’s site, they are distributed free of charge.
It is worth noting that you can download a ready-made image of Windows 10 on the official Microsoft website. Such an opportunity will be convenient for those who have difficulties working with the utilities.
How do I create a Windows 10 image in the Media Creation Tool?
Having prepared everything you need and installing the utility, you can create a windows 10 image for writing to a USB flash drive. The duration of the procedure varies depending on the download speed of the files. On average, it takes 25-30 minutes to create an image.
After installing the Media Creation Tool, you need to start. A window will appear on the screen informing you that the computer is being prepared. After a short period of time, a new window will appear in which the user will be asked to read the license agreement. Here you need to click the Accept command located in the lower right corner.
- After updating the window, 2 options for actions will appear. You must select the “Create installation media” command by checking the box opposite. We proceed to the next stage by clicking on the “Next” button.
- In the next window, you need to specify the necessary parameters of the operating system. You will first need to uncheck the box next to the “Use recommended parameters” line, otherwise the fields will remain inactive. We indicate in the list the required system language, version and bit depth. We complete the stage by clicking on the field labeled “Next”.
- The installer will notify you that a different license may be required to activate the newly created copy of Windows. There are no options for action in this window. You can only confirm the operation and continue, or cancel.
- Next, you will need to specify where to create an image of the Windows 10 boot disk. Since you plan to download the image to a flash drive, you need to select the appropriate option from the list provided. An alternative option is to create an ISO file. It can be saved on a PC and run using a special program or burned to disk. To continue, you need to click “Next”.
- The next step is to connect the USB drive. It is best to use a new USB flash drive that has not previously written any files. Even if there is something stored on the card, formatting will be performed when the image is written. If the image capture utility does not see the connected drive, you need to update the list of drives. You need to select removable media in the drop-down list and click “Next”.
- After specifying the media, the program starts loading the image. The screen displays the current progress of this process. The user can minimize the application window and use the programs.
- After completing the download, the program proceeds to the verification stage. If there are no failures, the image will be written to the USB drive. As well as during loading, the progress is displayed on the screen.
After recording, a message appears on the screen stating that the Windows media is ready. You can close the Media Creation Tool, and remove the USB flash drive with the system from the computer connector.
How do I create a Windows 10 image via Rufus?
If you create a Windows 10 disk image on a USB flash drive using the Media Creation Tool, you should use the Rufus program. This program allows you to quickly write an image of the operating system to the drive. To work with Windows, we recommend using Rufus version 3 and higher. The utility can be downloaded for free from the developer’s website.
- Install and run the utility on your PC. In the window that opens, you need to specify the device to which the image will be recorded. Next, you need to select a file. If it hasn’t already been downloaded to the PC, it can be downloaded directly from Rufus.
- To download an image through the program, you must select the “Download” command and execute it, specifying the desired image. It should be noted that the arrow with the transition to the download function may be inactive. Click the “Continue” command.
- Next, you need to specify the partition scheme in the appropriate field. You can choose between GPT and MBR. When specifying a schema, additional system settings will be switched automatically. If necessary, you need to specify a label for the flash drive and start recording by clicking “Start”.
Having figured out how to create an image of the Windows 10 system and write it to removable media, you should take into account several features of the described utility. Just like when recording with the Media Creation Tool, the memory card will be formatted. Therefore, if there are valuable files on the flash drive, they must first be transferred to your computer.
With Rufus, you can boot not only Windows 10. The program can also be used to create an image of older versions of the OS.
What to do when errors occur?
It is not always possible to write an installation flash drive, even if you strictly follow the algorithm of actions. Errors when creating a Windows 10 image are quite common. In most cases, you can fix the problem by understanding the causes of the problem.
If it was not possible to write the image in the Media Creation Tool, you should close the program. The same is true for Rufus.
After that, you need to determine the reason why the program failed to load and write the image to the drive. There are quite a few possible reasons, so let’s look at the most common ones.
- Insufficient storage space. A minimum of 8 GB is required to capture a Windows 10 image. If the capacity of the flash drive is less, this will most likely lead to an error. It can also appear if the drive is old and has been used many times. For this reason, it is best to use new media to write Windows to which files have not previously been written to.
- Damaged connector. The USB memory input may be damaged. Because of this, the computer may lose connection with the flash drive directly during the recording of the image. Obviously, this will crash and stop the process. To eliminate this possibility, it is worth checking the functionality of the connector before starting to create a bootable USB flash drive. You can track the reaction of the computer to the connection of external media and make sure that the contact is not broken.
- Unstable internet connection. To download the image, the connection must not be interrupted. If a failure occurs, the recording process will stop and an error will be displayed on the screen. To ensure a stable connection to the Internet, it is recommended to connect your PC via an Ethernet cable, temporarily discontinuing Wi-Fi.
- Inadequate antivirus response. Security software installed on your computer may negatively react to an attempt to download a heavy file from the Internet. Therefore, before starting the process, it is worth turning off the Windows firewall and other programs whose functions are aimed at protecting the PC in real time.
These are the most common reasons why errors occur when trying to write an operating system. With a high probability, the described actions will allow you to successfully complete the necessary operation and get the media with a working image.
What else can you do:
- Disable third-party programs and services that negatively affect the performance of your computer.
- Perform a preliminary reboot of the device.
- Clean up your computer using CCleaner or a similar utility.
- Log in to Windows as an administrator.
- Format the USB flash drive manually, excluding this step from the recording procedure.
- Check Windows Update, if necessary, install the latest version of the OS and auxiliary software.
If you follow these recommendations, the likelihood of successful image creation is significantly increased. If the operation fails, you should send a request to Windows technical support for more information.
How to create a Windows 10 image is a problem that is relevant for many users. The media with the operating system file may be needed if the current version of the OS starts to malfunction or for installation on a new device.
To create an image, you can use the Media Creation Tool or the Rufus application. In addition to the special program, you only need a clean flash drive with sufficient memory and the Internet.