Tips on how to Create a Bootable Home windows 10 Installer USB on a Mac

Whether you're dual booting your Mac or formatting a new PC, the best way to get Windows 10 is to do a clean install, not an upgrade. However, you need to create a Windows 10 bootable USB drive first. The process is a little more complicated if you're using a Mac.

Microsoft offers a simple tool to create a bootable USB flash drive on Windows, but there is no such tool for Mac users. The process can be simple or fairly complicated depending on what type of Mac you have. We will explain the differences below.

What you will need before you start

Here are the things you'll need to create a bootable Windows 10 installer:

  • An 8 GB or larger USB drive that you are happy to lose data. You can get a new 8GB drive for just $ 5.

  • Your MacBook power adapter should be plugged in. You don't want the laptop's battery to run out of battery while the bootable drive is being created.

  • This method obviously requires a valid Windows 10 license to activate the operating system.

  • An active internet connection to download any necessary updates.

Download the Windows ISO

Microsoft offers free downloadable ISO files for Windows 10 on the Microsoft official website. Select Windows 10 in the edition menu, select your language and download the ISO file, depending on which Windows version you want to install (32-bit or 64-bit).

After you've downloaded the ISO, keep it somewhere that you can easily find later, e.g. B. on your desktop or download folder.

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Connect your USB drive

Disconnect any other attached USB hard drives, optical drives, or other storage media.

The process for creating the bootable USB is different on Intel and M1 Macs. We detailed both processes below.

How to create a bootable Windows 10 USB on Intel Macs

The process of creating a bootable Windows 10 USB installation disk is quite simple on Intel-based Macs as they support Boot Camp. MacOS 'built-in Boot Camp Assistant can be used to install Windows on the Mac and create a bootable USB installation drive, eliminating the need for third-party apps.

Begin Boot camp, Press Command + Space To go to Spotlight, type "Boot Camp Assistant" (without the quotation marks) and press Enter.

click Keep going in the introductory dialog.

Configure boot camp

Select the check box for "Create an installation disk for Windows 7 or later".

The other options are likely greyed out, but if they aren't, check the second box for Download the latest Windows support software from Appleand don't check the third box.

click Keep going when done.

Choose your ISO image and USB drive

Navigate to and select the downloaded Windows 10 ISO file.

Under Destination drive, make sure your USB drive is listed.

click Keep going when done.

Copy the image to the hard drive

Boot Camp will format your USB drive, so again, make sure it doesn't contain any important data that you cannot lose. All data will be deleted.

click Keep going Continue. The installation process begins now and you don't have to interact at all. Just let it go.

If you are using a MacBook, do not close the lid of the MacBook. It's an instinctive act many of us take when we're not using the laptop, but this will put your Mac to sleep and interrupt the process.

When everything is ready you will see a window that says The Windows support software has been saved.

click Stop To complete the process, undock and unmount your USB drive. Congratulations! This is now a bootable Windows 10 installer.

How to create a bootable Windows 10 USB on M1 Macs

The process of creating a bootable hard drive is a little more involved on M1 Macs. This is due to the limitation of ARM-based chips which cannot natively support the full version of Windows. As a result, Apple doesn't include Boot Camp Assistant on M1 Macs, which means you'll have to resort to a different method to create a bootable hard drive.

Another major issue with creating a bootable hard drive on Macs is the limitation of burning a file larger than 4GB to a FAT32 formatted drive. Windows and macOS only share the FAT32 file system, which can only store a single file of less than 4 GB. Since the install.wim The file included in the Windows 10 installer is about 4.79 GB, this creates a problem.

A workaround for this problem is to split the installer into smaller files and combine them later. To do this, you need to install Homebrew on your Mac. Homebrew is an open source software package manager that we use a command line tool called. Add wimlib. This will split the Windows installation file when creating the bootable disk.

Related: What Is Homebrew? How to install Mac apps in Terminal with Homebrew

To install Homebrew and create a Windows 10 bootable USB, go to finder > Applications and start terminal. Enter the following commands and press Enter– This will install Homebrew on your Mac:

curl -fsSL -o install.sh https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh

/ bin / bash install.sh

The process may take a few minutes, depending on your internet connection. It will download and install Xcode before installing Homebrew. Xcode is an integrated development environment (IDE) that consists of software development tools for macOS.

Enter your Mac user password to authenticate and press Enter Install homebrew. When the installation is complete, type the following command and press Enter to install wimlib:

brew install wimlib

In case you get an error message Command not found: brew, you may see two commands in the terminal right at the end of the previous homebrew installation. Enter the commands to enable homebrew, then re-enter the above command for it to work successfully.

Make sure your USB stick is connected to your Mac. Type Discussion list and press Enter in Terminal to see a list of all the drives connected to your Mac. Make a note of the drive's hard drive ID – disk2, disk3, disk4, etc. It should be to the left of. appear (external, physical) As shown below.

If you cannot see the USB storage device in the terminal, try to identify it using the “Size” column.

Use the following command to format the USB stick (replace disk2 with your hard drive identifier):

discussil deleteDisk MS-DOS WINDOWS10 GPT / dev / disk2

This will erase the USB storage device and rename it to WINDOWS10, which will be easier to distinguish later.

Mount the Windows 10 ISO from the Downloads Folder on your Mac. You can do this by double-clicking the ISO file it should then appear with the name in the connected devices CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9. Alternatively, you can do this in Terminal with the following command, but make sure to replace the filename and path as needed:

hdiutil mount ~ / Downloads / Win10_21H1_English_x64.iso

Use the following command to copy the contents of the ISO image – with the exception of the install.wim file – to the USB drive:

rsync -vha –exclude = sources / install.wim / Volumes / CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9 / * / Volumes / WINDOWS10

Enter the following command to split the install.wim file and copy it to the USB stick:

wimlib-imagex split /Volumes/CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9/sources/install.wim /Volumes/WINDOWS10/sources/install.swm 3000

That's it! Once Terminal successfully creates the bootable hard drive, simply detach the USB from the desktop and use it to start a Windows installation.

When booting: USB vs. UEFI

If you install Windows 10 on a PC with this USB drive, your motherboard may not boot with it even if you set it to boot with USB first. It's a common problem with a simple solution.

Enter your motherboard's BIOS settings by tapping F2 or Extinguish how it turns on. In the boot settings, you will likely see two options for your USB drive that appear similar, with the title for example USB mass storage device and UEFI USB device.

Choose UEFI instead of USB mass storage. Save the new settings, exit the BIOS and reboot. This time your computer should boot into your Windows 10 installer USB drive.

UEFI is a type of firmware for motherboards instead of the traditional BIOS, and BCA uses it by default when creating USB installation media. To a normal user it doesn't really make a difference so just change the setting and you're good to go.

Related: How to Install Windows 10 from a Bootable USB Drive

Try getting your hands on a Windows computer

With all of these options, you should be able to create Windows 10 installation media on your Mac. Since the process is quite complicated as described above, we recommend that you just borrow a friend's Windows laptop to create the bootable hard drive, which is much easier. If this doesn't work for you, you can use the guide above to create a Windows bootable disk on your Mac.

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About the author

Shujaa Imran
(29 articles published)

Shujaa Imran is a die-hard Apple user and loves helping others with their macOS and iOS issues. Apart from that, he is also a cadet pilot who wants to become a professional pilot one day.

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By Shujaa Imran

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