This article presents one of the two ways to burn the ISO file of Windows 10 on USB from Linux. For an overview of the procedure in general and to get more information regarding the two methods available, take a look at this article.
- This article’s procedure relies on the use of two free applications: GParted and UNetbootin.
- If you’d prefer to use the command-line as much as possible, then I recommend using the other method. With the latter, you will be able to burn your ISO to USB using the Terminal and GParted.
How to burn the Windows 10 ISO image to USB using GParted and UNetbootin
You will need:
- A pen drive with a capacity of at least 6GB
- Access to the GParted, UNetbootin and the Terminal
Download the latest Windows 10 disk image from the official software download page (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO).
If your current Linux OS doesn’t come with Gparted, you will have to install it from the software manager. Use the search feature to look for “GParted,” enter your password when prompted and voilà.
Now that you have installed Gparted, we will download UNetbootin. This app is a free third-party software program that makes it easier to burn an ISO to USB, especially when burning the Windows 10 disc image. This software also has the advantage of being compatible with all Linux distributions.
Download UNetbootin by following the instructions found here: https://unetbootin.github.io/linux_download.html. The easiest way to download this software is through the Ubuntu PPA, which is available out-of-the-box for Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Elementary OS and other Ubuntu-based distros. If you use one of these distros, then open the Terminal and execute the following commands. Otherwise, follow the instructions provided in the link above.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gezakovacs/ppa
Enter your password, then press Enter when prompted.
Update your system.
sudo apt-get update
You are now ready to install UNetbootin.
sudo apt-get install unetbootin
If you get an error message saying that the app “extlinux” is missing, fetch it from the Terminal before continuing. The UNetbootin software will still open nonetheless even if the app is missing, but make sure you install “extlinux” before proceeding.
You can do so by typing the following command in the Terminal:
sudo apt install extlinux
As UNetbootin doesn’t come with pre-made configurations for the booting sequence specific to Windows, we will have to do a little workaround.
Leave UNetbootin open. Use your Software Manager to install GParted.
Open GParted, then format your pen drive using FAT32. Make sure to unmount it first.
If you aren’t sure which flash drive is associated with the one you will use for Windows, open the Terminal and type the following:
This command will show a list of all the flash drives found on your machine, including the USB flash drives. You can then easily associate each disk name with its pen drive by looking at its size and partitioning. As a general rule, USB keys use the “sdb” name, as the system reserves “sda” for the internal drive. Depending on the number of hard drives you have and their particular type, your USB keys might fall down the list to “sdc” or even lower.
Click on the “Apply All Operations” icon. Gparted will ask you if you are “sure you want to apply the pending operations.” Click “Apply.”
Once the formatting completed, click “Close.” WITHOUT EXITING GPARTED, open UNetbootin.
Click on “Diskimage”, then choose your ISO file by clicking on the “…” icon. Make sure that the selected drive is the USB key you just formatted.
DO NOT PRESS OK, instead, while still having UNetbootin opened, switch to GParted.
MAKE SURE TO KEEP UNETBOOTIN OPENED; DO NOT EXIT THE PROGRAM.
In GParted, format your FAT32 USB using NTFS (yes, we are formatting the same pen drive twice in a row; it is part of the process).
Once the formatting completed, while still in GParted click on “Partition,” then on “Manage Flags” and make sure that “Boot” is selected.
Close the Flag window, then exit GParted.
Enter the Terminal, then mount your pen drive by typing the following:
sudo mount /dev/<YOURUSB> /mnt
Where <YOURUSB> is your USB key identifier as indicated in GParted when you formatted the pen drive; you can also find the identifier by typing “lsblk” in the Terminal (it will often look like “sdb1” or “sdb2”, with the occasional “sdc1” or “sdc2” outlier).
Go back to UNetbootin (which was left opened), and now click “OK” without touching anything else.
Voilà! You now have a bootable Windows 10 USB key.
A final word of advice:
If you plan on booting Windows 10 directly on a laptop or desktop computer’s internal drive (as opposed to a virtual machine), you will have to adjust some of its UEFI settings. Before installing Windows 10, you will have to change the boot priority order and disable the UEFI secure boot option. You can find the instruction on how to do so HERE.