When I started writing this article, my initial goal was to provide a way to burn the disc image of Windows 10 on USB using only the command line. However, Windows 10 is finicky when it comes to its booting process. You cannot do the usual ISO burning procedure where you use the “dd” command-line tool to burn the disk image on a pre-formatted USB stick. Indeed, Microsoft 10 uses a booting process call MBR which requires the FAT32 format, while at the same time necessitating the installation image to be burned using the NTFS format.
You can technically rely solely on the Terminal to do this procedure, but ONLY if your Windows 10 disk image is under 4GB. In that case, you can burn everything on a FAT32 pen drive (LINK ARTICLE → PROCEDURE). However, it is inconvenient to find such a disk image, seeing as the latest official ISO files provided by Microsoft are almost 5GB.
Because of the dual formatting required for the Windows 10 disk image, using software applications greatly facilitates the whole process. Whether you choose to rely almost exclusively on software or prefer to use the command-line as much as possible, the use of the GParted software is a must.
Note that in both cases, there is no way around avoiding the Terminal altogether. However, I kept its use to a minimum in this app-focused procedure. At any rate, it is always good to familiarize yourself with the Linux Terminal sooner or later. To entirely avoid the command line when using this operating system can quickly become counterproductive. The sooner you take the plunge, the better. And who knows, you might end up enjoying it!
Before going any further, you might want to first get your hands on a copy of the latest Windows 10 disc image. Thankfully, it is easy to do so using the official Microsoft Windows download page: https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/software-download/windows10ISO. Make sure to select the appropriate language and architecture and you’re all set.
How to burn the disc image of Windows 10 on Linux
In this article, I present two ways of burning a Windows 10 ISO file on a pen drive from Linux:
- Method One: Using GParted and UNetbootin
- Method Two: Using the command line and GParted
As you might have noticed, none of the methods presented use software readily integrated with some Linux distributions. For instance, I didn’t include Disks (the default partition tool of GNOME 3 and thus of the Ubuntu distribution). Nor other disc burning tools intended for a specific desktop environment (such as KDE Partition Manager meant for KDE Plasma 5 and other Qt-based derivatives such as LXQt). That is a voluntary choice that I made so that the procedures explained in these methods are compatible with all Linux distributions and desktop environments.
You can choose whichever procedure you prefer. It doesn’t matter whether you use Ubuntu, Debian or other Linux distributions (lightweight or otherwise), or prefer KDE Plasma 5 over GNOME 3 or Xfce.
A word of advice: if you choose method two, you’re in for quite a ride! Some would say that it’s still worth it, though if only for the significant learning opportunities it presents.
So without further due, click on one of the following methods below to begin.