How to Create a Windows 10 Bootable USB in Ubuntu 20.04

If you are using Ubuntu or any other Linux operating system as the only platform on your PC or laptop and you want to move to Windows or just want to try some polished features and functions of Windows 10 then 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 below. 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 GB being older technology.
  • exFAT(newer technology) is often greyed out in 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).

Create Windows 10 Bootable USB on Ubuntu 20.04

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

Screen 1

Download the latest version of Windows 10 ISO file only from the Microsoft’s official site to avoid any modified or malicious files. Select the latest version of Windows 10 and 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

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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 the Microsoft’ official site from where you download the ISO file. It should be listed based on 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

Screen 5

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.

sudo apt-get update

Now, to install wimtools paste the following command in the terminal and hit enter.

sudo apt-get install wimtools

Further, when asked if you want to continue, press ‘Y’ and hit enter to continue.

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

Screen 6

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 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

Screen 7

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 which 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 in FAT32 format

Screen 8

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

Step 8: Copy the files from ISO to USB drive

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  • 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’.
  • In the USB drive, create a folder named ‘sources’.
Screen 10
  • 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.
  • Finally, copy the ‘install.swm’ and ‘install2.swm’ files from the Downloads folder and paste it into the ‘sources folder’ in the USB drive.
Screen 12
  • 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 or Linux mint then you can follow our guides on creating Windows 10 bootable USB in Fedora or Linux mint.

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 or on macOS.

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. You can reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, we are quite active on social media.

9 thoughts on “How to Create a Windows 10 Bootable USB in Ubuntu 20.04”

    1. I am happy that you got the solution, it was an easy fix. Understanding the problem without looking on to it sometimes becomes difficult. I hope our other guides will also help you equally and I appreciate you for providing the links of the fixes in the comment above, it will definitely help others with similar issues. Thank you.

  1. I’m running Ubuntu 20.04.1 on Desktop PC
    CPU – Amd Ryzen 5 3400G with Radeon Vega Graphics
    1 physical Processorl 4 cores; 8 threads
    Motherboard – ASUS PRIME X570-P
    Pls advise what picture I have to take and how can I share it here?
    Pls advise how to change UEFI mode to Legacy in BIOS ?

    1. Hey Stephen!
      Asus motherboards have the secure boot enabled by default which prevents other bootable devices from showing up. You can follow these steps to get that issue fixed:
      1. Hit the restart button and keep hitting delete button until you hear a beep or enter the BIOS settings.
      2. Next Press F7 to enter the ‘Advanced settings’.
      3. Then move the Boot tab and disable the secure boot option.
      4. Then press Exit and save the changes done.
      5. Now, while restarting press ‘Esc’ button to enter into the boot menu, from there choose the Windows 10 USB drive and install Windows 10.

      You can use the boot override option in the ‘Boot’ tab in Advanced BIOS settings if it shows(considering if you have already kept the bootable USB plugged) to boot directly from the USB.

      Hope the solution works!

  2. install.esd 2.8G

    $ lsblik -f
    │ vfat 2DC2-ED64 46.7G 7% /media/sat
    vfat 2E79-5F6B 9.5G 0% /media/sat

    My problem here is at booting, UEFI doesn’t find this device sdb1, unable to boot.

    1. Hey Stephen!
      You can try changing the UEFI mode to Legacy in BIOS settings and then try, may I know which device are you using? It is difficult to understand the problem without looking into it, it’d be nice if you can share a picture of the error.

  3. I follow your steps but couldn’t find install.wim on sources folder. Instead install.esd is there.

    However I couldn’t boot win10 setup, the installer USB. UEFI couldn’t find the device. Any suggestion? Thanks and Regards

    1. What is the size of install.esd file? Is it smaller than 4 GB? If it is smaller than 4 GB, you don’t need to split it, simply copy the whole sources folder to USB, you do not need to split a file of size lesser than 4 GB. Skip the steps 4 to 6 and just copy all the files(including the sources folder to the USB) only if the size of install.esd is smaller than 4 GB.

      Make sure you format the USB in FAT32 format and carefully follow all the steps above. Some devices may require a BIOS tweak, for that kindly check the device’s BIOS settings on its official documentation, forums or contact technical support. Hope it helps!

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