How to Create a Windows 10 Bootable USB in Ubuntu 20.04 and Fedora

Ajay Choudhury 04 Aug, 2021 9 mins
How to Create a Windows 10 Bootable USB in Ubuntu 20.04 and Fedora

If you are using Ubuntu or any other Linux distro as the only platform on your PC or laptop and you want to move to Windows 10 or just want to try some polished features and functions of Windows 10 and since Microsoft has recently announced their polished Windows 11, it might be tempting to try out some new features on Windows, then it is likely that you might face an issue while creating the bootable USB for Windows 10.

If you are searching for an easy and 100% working solution then you have landed on the correct place as we have prepared the tested and always working solution for both UEFI BIOS with secure boot and Legacy BIOS. Let us have a look at the problems you may face while using any other general methods to prepare the bootable USB for Windows 10.

Problems with Other General Methods

  • FAT32 formatted USB drive fails to accept files larger than 4.0 GB (4,294,967,296 Bytes) being older technology, which results in incomplete installation media.
  • exFAT(newer technology) is often greyed out in the Disks app in Ubuntu or any other Linux distro.

Considering the above problems we have prepared the guide below to make the process work flawlessly on any Linux system without any issue. You need to follow the steps carefully such that you do not generate any error (chances are rare unless you do a typing mistake).

Windows 10 UEFI Bootable USB on Ubuntu or Linux Mint

This method creates a Windows 10 UEFI Bootable USB on Ubuntu or Linux Mint distros. UEFI and secure boot are enabled by default in almost all devices purchased after 2012. I am using Ubuntu 20.10 but instructions should remain identical on other versions like Ubuntu 20.04 and other flavours of Ubuntu as well, this method also works on other distros based on Ubuntu such as Mint 20/20.1.

Step 1: Download the Windows 10 ISO file from the official site.

Download Windows 10 from Official Site

Download the latest version of the Windows 10 ISO file only from Microsoft’s official site to avoid any modified or malicious files. Select the latest version of Windows 10 and the language for your usage. After downloading do not close the Windows as you will need to verify your ISO file after download.

Step 2: Navigate to the folder containing the ISO file

Open the terminal and navigate to the folder where you downloaded the ISO file for Windows 10 by typing the command below and then hit Enter. In the command below, in place of ‘Downloads’ type the folder name where you downloaded the ISO file, I downloaded it in the Downloads folder.

cd Downloads

Step 3: Verify the downloaded version on terminal

Verify the Download

Next, you need to verify if the downloaded ISO file is 100% working or not. To verify that copy the name of the ISO file downloaded along with the extension(.iso). I have used my filename(in my case it was ‘Win10_2004_EnglishInternational_x64.iso’) in the command below, remember to replace it with your one.

sha256sum Win10_2004_EnglishInternational_x64.iso

Once you hit enter, it should give in output a code which you can verify with the code listed on Microsoft’s official site from where you download the ISO file. It should be listed based on the languages of the versions. If the desired output is not produced in the terminal then you need to download the ISO file again to ensure you have the correct and fully functional file of Windows 10.

Step 4: Install wimtools via terminal

Install wimtools

First of all, to ensure that the software repositories are up-to-date paste the following command and hit enter, then a prompt will ask you for the user password to continue the update process and then it will install wimtools.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wimtools

Further, when asked if you want to continue, press ‘Y’ and hit enter to continue. Now, you can install the GParted tool using the command below, if it is not present in your system already.

sudo apt-get install gparted

Step 5: Mount the ISO file and copy the ‘install.wim’ file out

Extract install.wim file out

In the file manager, press right-click on the Windows 10 ISO file and select ‘Open with Disk Image Mounter’. Now open the mounted disk and inside the folder named ‘sources’ find the file named ‘install.wim’ and copy it to the Downloads folder.

Now for the proper functioning of the wimtools, restart the terminal. Simply close the terminal and open a fresh terminal.

Step 6: Split the ‘install.wim’ file to bypass FAT32 memory limitations

Divide install.wim file into parts

Memories formatted in FAT32 format have a limit of file transfer and it cannot handle a single file of size greater than 4 GB. exFAT is the newer technology that is capable of doing it but often it is seen that the option of exFAT is greyed out in systems like Ubuntu and Fedora.

So to bypass the memory limitations of FAT32 format, we will split the ‘install.wim’ file (which is of size greater than 4 GB) into two parts, each having size less than or equal to 4 GB. To perform the above function paste the following command in a fresh terminal.

wimlib-imagex split Downloads/install.wim Downloads/install.swm 4000

You will now see two extra files in the Downloads folder named ‘install.swm’ and ‘install2.swm’ respectively. These are the files you are going to need, now you can delete the ‘install.wim’ file from the Downloads folder.

Step 7: Format the USB drive with GPT partition table in FAT32 format

The UEFI Bootable USB requires a GPT Partition Table and a FAT32 partition. To create the partition table follow the images below.

Create partition table

Select GPT partition table to create UEFI bootable USB for Windows 10.

GPT partition table

Search for ‘Disks’ in the applications section, open it and format the USB drive in FAT32 format.

Select FAT32

Step 8: Copy the files from ISO to the USB drive

Preparation is almost over and now you just need to copy Windows files to your USB drive.

Copy all files except sources folder

  • Now upon getting the success message in the terminal, close the terminal. Next, open the mounted ISO file in the file manager and copy all the files from the mounted drive to the USB drive except the folder named ‘sources’.

Create sources folder

  • In the USB drive, create a folder named ‘sources’.

Copy all files except sources folder

  • Now navigate to the mounted ISO drive and copy all the files inside the ‘sources’ folder except the ‘install.wim’ file to the newly created ‘sources’ folder in the USB drive.

Copy .swm files created

  • Finally, copy the ‘install.swm’ and ‘install2.swm’ files from the Downloads folder and paste them into the ‘sources folder’ in the USB drive.
  • Wait for the transfer process to finish and then only eject the USB drive from the device.

Now you have successfully created the bootable USB drive for Windows 10 in Ubuntu 20.04. You can use the USB drive to fresh install Windows 10 on any laptop or PC. If you are using other Linux distros like Fedora then you can follow the guide below.

Windows 10 UEFI Bootable USB on Fedora

The process remains the same as described above in detail with screenshots. You just need to change the commands a bit. The commands are listed below in sequential order.

sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install wimtools
cd Downloads
wimlib-imagex split Downloads/install.wim Downloads/install.swm 4000

Windows 10 Legacy Bootable USB on Ubuntu or Linux Mint

Legacy mode is present in older devices, usually, devices purchased before 2012 have legacy mode enabled in them. The Legacy Bootable USB requires an MBR Partition Table and NTFS partition. This process is going to be very easy, so there is less text below and more pictures to give you a good visual idea.

Step 1: Add the repository for WoeUSB

This repository is now discontinued as very few devices now use legacy boot mode but still, you can use this if you have a legacy device. Run the codes below on the terminal to add the repository as shown in the image.

Ass repository for WoeUSB

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tomtomtom/woeusb
sudo apt-get update

Step 2: Install GParted and WoeUSB

If you do not have GParted present on your device you can use the code below to install GParted on your system.

sudo apt-get install gparted

Now, to install WoeUSB, do not use sudo apt-get as get fetches packages only from the official repositories. So use the command as:

sudo apt install woeusb

Install WoeUSB

Step 3: Unmount all the partitions of the USB

If you have any partitions of the target USB open, you need to unmount all of them for the successful creation of a Windows 10 bootable USB.

Unmount partitions

Step 4: Create bootable media using WoeUSB

Open WoeUSB and follow the steps below to create a Windows 10 legacy bootable USB.

  • Add on the ‘Add file’ button to add the Windows 10 ISO file to WoeUSB.

Click to add the ISO file

  • Locate and add the ISO file to WoeUSB.

Select the ISO file

  • Choose NTFS filesystem for the bootable media, select the target USB drive and click on ‘Install‘.

Click on Install to start

  • Wait for the process to finish and meanwhile you can add a comment down below to say whether you found what you were looking for, it feels good if you find us helpful.

Wait for the process to finish

  • When the process finishes, a message should pop up saying ‘Installation succeeded‘.

Installation is complete

That’s it! You are now ready with a Legacy bootable USB for Windows 10. You can now try out Windows 10 on your device.

Windows 10 Legacy Bootable USB on Fedora

Again, the process and flow for Fedora remain the same but you need to change the commands. The required commands for Fedora are given below in sequential order.

sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install gparted
sudo dnf install woeusb

Hope you liked our guide on how to create a Windows 10 bootable USB in Ubuntu 20.04. You might like our guides on creating Windows 10 bootable media on Android and on Windows itself for a clean installation.

If you have found the above article useful, kindly share it with other people. If you have any doubt regarding the above commands or methods, put a comment below in the comments section.

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Ajay Choudhury

Ajay Choudhury

A learner and a student of technlogy. He loves sharing experiences and learning with others through his projects and blog. Along with technology, he loves playing football and enjoys listening to music and podcasts.

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