How to Create Bootable Windows 8 USB Drive from ISO Image

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We saw yesterday how you can install and test the latest Windows 8 build on your system as a virtual operating system using Oracle VirtualBox. For those who haven’t heard, the consumer preview of Windows 8 is now available for everyone to test. It’s like what Microsoft did during Windows 7 launch. They first released a preview build for free to get feedback from the users before shipping the final version of the product. And the big news that the Windows 8 consumer preview has already crossed 1 million downloads.

windows 8

UPDATE: You would be happy to know that we recently compared the Top 5 Tools to Create Bootable ISO in Windows. Do check that out to know more about better tools to get this job done.

After few hours of testing I was convinced that the build is stable enough, and I can take it to next level by installing it parallel to Windows 7 via dual boot. If you too are looking forward to install Windows 8 on your computer, I would prefer you create a bootable USB drive instead of a bootable DVD.

Note: This is a consumer preview of Windows 8 and not the final stable version. So keep in mind that you are always on your own if you mess up your computer while installing or using this Windows 8 build.

A USB drive is always faster than DVDs and the chances of failed or corrupt installation are very low as compared to optical media. So lets see how you can create the bootable USB of Windows 8 in the easiest way possible.

Necessary Prerequisites

  • Download the ISO file of Windows 8 on your system.
  • A minimum of 4 GB removable drive for 32-bit Windows and 8 GB for 64-bit Windows 8 operating system.
  • Backup all the data (if any) from your removable drive. Better, backup important data on your PC too.

Creating the Windows 8 Bootable USB Drive

Step 1: Download and extract WinUSB Maker on your computer. WinUSB maker is a portable application and thus does not require installation of any kind. You only need to run the .exe file.

Step 2: Run the WinUSB Maker tool with administrative privileges to start creating your bootable USB drive. (right-click on the file, and click Run as Administrator)

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Step 3: In the tool, select the option ISO image bootable disk under the Functions  section. Select Normal Detection Mode and browse for the Windows 8 bootable ISO (Image file) you have already downloaded on your system.

USB maker

Step 4: Finally, select the USB drive and drive MBR system (if you have a single one plugged in, it will be selected by default, if you have more than one, click on the dropdown menu and make a selection from the list) and click on the button Make it Bootable .


That’s all, the tool will now format the USB drive and copy all the Windows installation files to it and make it bootable.

bootable creation

You can now plug in the device into your system and select removable drive as your first boot selection preference in your BIOS and install Windows 8.

My Verdict

Although there’s an official Microsoft tool to create bootable USB drive from an ISO image, WinUSB maker’s portable nature and ease of use drew my attention. Furthermore, WinUSB gives a bit of an extra control to the user than the official tool for the same.

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  • Rob Roberts

    is there an easy way to do this in ubuntu 11.10?

  • M. Qasim @ Win 8 Mods

    thanks ashish. a very much needed guide

  • Doodle Redeemed Head

    Thanks for the Info…It really helped.
    By the way, I’m just curios wheather I’l be able to use back the USB as a normal USB again after I’m done with the bootable process.
    Do I need to format it back in FAT to use it for normal storage purpose?

    • Ashish Mundhra

      After you have successfully installed Windows 8 just plugin your USB drive in Windows 8 (any other version of windows will also do) and format it as you format any regular USB drive.
      I would suggest you use NTFS as the File System

  • Lalit

    Hi , You breifed it all very well . I am going to it for my new laptop and I am sure I will be able to do it. Thanks for sharing such a good peice information.

  • Dni Kumar

    thank you very much bhai this guideness

  • waa hoo

    If I boot from the flash drive, will I need to re-install windows 7 if I want to go back?

    • jay kuzzy


    • john gerald

      nope ….u need to just reboot ..without the drive ….and u will have the usuall os at u r hand …..:)

  • Saidul Hassan

    Thank you Ashis! Brief and clear! I needed a bootmaker and now I know exactly which one is gonna work for Windows 8 installation :) I think I’m gonna keep returning to your site as I frequently see you on my google search result! Today is the first time I visited and I like it.

  • BigJim1

    How can we make a USB bootable Win8 that we can play directly from the USB bootable drive?. Not just one that we can install from?? One that will not affect my Win 7 installation in any manner.

    • Smell

      You can just partition your HDD.

    • BartWillemsen

      Not sure if that possible with Windows.. With Linux it’s quiet common to have a live CD (one which you can run without making any modifications to your system) but that’s because the footprint is normally a lot lower. Windows 8 is huge, keep in mind that the whole OS has to fit on the RAM in order to run it as a live CD.

    • r3ymadz

      hi u can also install windows 7and windows 8 in only 1 drive.. i made mine.. but be sure to make the partition higher than the others..

    • Mark Bennett

      VMWare or like others Partition

    • NanoNewb
  • kumar

    Thanks Dear.. Thank you very much.

  • Nithin Kn

    thanks dude

  • Abdul Hakiim Saalum

    Thanx bro

  • GlennRogers

    Many thanks, this worked beautifully. Windows 8 is not running very nicely on my ASUS Tablet (EP121).

  • Christopher Kidwell

    Best thing to do is that if you are not willing to re-install Windows 7? Don’t bother fiddling with Windows 8 Beta versions.

    If you are wiling to do that or have a computer that you can use as a ‘testbed’, then feel free to use the Release Preview.

  • Dom549

    Can I later delete the windows from my USB ?

    • Abhijeet Mukherjee

      If you delete it then it will be no longer a Windows bootable USB. Meaning, you can’t use it again, which probably won’t be desirable.

      • Nik

        But We Can Use The USB for Other Purposes after we remove Windows 8 right?
        or it will just get damaged and be un-usable?

  • Chuta

    Going to try it right now, installing Windows 8 Enterprise 64… Lets see how it goes…

  • stevesi

    This creates a WIndows 8 INSTALL USB bootable drive, if you want to boot Windows 8 directly from a USB drive then see Win8ToGo on RMPrepUSB site.

  • Asokan Naidoo

    Great post, but you need to update the images with the new release of the WinUSBMaker

  • DougZ

    Win8 is being distributed as an .img file now. How do you convert?

  • John

    Can you make a bootable USB drive for windows 8 pro, from a macbook pro laptop computer. I am building a PC now and not currently up and running.

  • Mohammed Zubair Jaffer

    will it format other drives, i mean to ask “i just wanna format c drive an try win8, i have all my important data on drive D, and Drive E.”?


    just found the right tool after trying with some other inactive tools. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • OwlCity

    Thanks mate!

  • Jason

    What is the different between “Windows 8 Consumer Preview” and “Windows Developer Preview” ??? Kindly reply~

    • Tcat Houser

      The Developer Preview is the 1st (public) build. Think Beta 1. Consumer Preview is newer. Think RC1. (And you didn’t ask) Release Preview was the last, think Release Candidate almost Final. That is the last Pre-release.

  • deep

    well dont download winusbmaker, it contain virus , removed by kaspersky 2012

  • Ahmad Zafrullah

    nice share :)

  • m2

    Btw iso is no longer avaible any idea where to download it?

  • tunght13488

    Thank you! Very handy guide :)

  • IT Certified

    Virus detected by Avast Free. sekj0bky.zmx.exe (malware) Do not use this tool

  • anuapm

    yeaah working ..100%..

  • raatul

    i am nt getting the ISO where can i get it??need a solution asap…plz

  • mat whiteside
  • RANA

    Thanks Sweetheart you have solved my very big problem. I am really really grateful to you for this upload.

  • Large Asare Emmanuel

    Very Simple and Easy as compared to other sites.
    I love this website.
    Thank you very much.

  • Vikram

    Thank you !very useful

  • bjorn6809

    Thanks, it worked like a charm!

  • naveen
  • Marty

    Thank you very much, this is working fine for me 😉

  • Amazing Man

    Nice and brief. Already did and it worked perfectly.

  • Rohan Kapoor
  • sandra

    I prefer to use this freeware: ISO2Disc. You can download it from

  • jhj

    if this will work i will kiss you :p

  • naveen
  • carborundum

    Thank you!
    After an Adobe update yesterday my 8.1 installation gave me a horrible BSOD on startup – Error 0xc0000001 IIRC. Argh! Just before I got round to making a recovery disk!
    This should hopefully get me back on track – cheers!

  • Angelo Trents
  • Mujeeb Ur Rehman

    thank you! sir i learn it very easily

  • hamza

    me ne agr usb se window krni ho to kaisy ho gi

  • Parvaazk

    Thank you so much, I needed this to make Win 8 bootable Usb for dual booting MBA.

  • Krystian Andryszko

    How can i run this on DOS ????? PLS help me , i ve tried so many times

    • BirminghamIU

      DOS lol going it old skool! I like it. Best way is to create bootable USB and simple setup your BIOS to run flash drive first as preference then install that way. I’m very supprised to here MS-DOS being mentioned it’s propper old skool tbf.

  • Chahid

    And how about the activationcode ??

  • Suman

    This tool does not work.

  • casper

    thanx its very useful and it’s working 100%

  • Mohsan Razaq

    yeh cheeez

  • Mustafa DALĞA

    Thank you

  • ferds814

    worked best for me. love that its from zotac 😛

  • Fulesh Kumar

    i want to boot with a win 8 boot cd how to make a win 8 boot cd pls explain with full procedures iam so much confused

  • XJ

    May I ask… After you make the usb as bootable installer, can you still use the usb? as a removable drive?

    • Ashish Mundhra

      @disqus_8duUwMPbUC:disqus Yes you can still use the USB as a regular drive. Just make sure you don’t delete any of the files that’s required for Windows installation.
      The best practice wold be to create a folder in the root and then save all the files in there.

      • Sugat Srivastava

        after the job is done…… if we delete the contents or format the USB…… will it be the same as before?

        • Ashish Mundhra

          Just format the drive once you have installed and it will be as good as new..