Windows USB Installer from Linux

I wasted an afternoon recently trying to figure out why a fresh installation attempt of Windows 10 complained about missing drivers once getting to the “Drive Selection” screen.


Long story short, as it turns out, the issue was how I was creating the bootable USB from the Windows ISO.

I was using the USB Image Writer app that comes with Linux Mint to create the bootable USB. It seemed to work. The USB write succeeded. I could boot into the Windows 10 installer on the destination machine… but apparently it didn’t copy all the data/drivers to the USB. Odd that it actually let me get that far. I didn’t realize you could create a “partial” installation media drive. Lesson learned. Perhaps it was the UEFI boot.

The proper way to create a UEFI Bootable Windows 10 USB is essentially to format the USB with a GPT partition table and format the drive as NTFS. Then, mount the Windows 10 Installation ISO (right click the ISO and select Open With->Disk Image Mounter) and manually copy and paste the files from the mounted ISO to the NTFS USB drive. Note the copy can be slow. USB writing buffers in strange ways.

That’s it. Now go boot from it.

For further details on the above steps, see this site where I gleaned the details.