I have a laptop without CD/DVD came with Windows 10 installed. Windows can be re-installed from within the Windows, but what if I want to change my HDD or hardware failure or temporarily installing standalone linux (not dual boot)?

How can I create a bootable USB from which I can re-install my original Windows?

Note that I don't have an ISO file, just the original Windows installed on my laptop.

My question is simple, I just want to have an external backup to restore my Windows installation without relying on the main HDD.

  • A combination of DISM and SYSPrep can generate a .WIM image which you can apply to any partition you desire Of course much easier to just download the current Windows 10 .ISo and install that. If you "change" your HDD or format the "HDD" with Windows on it it will automatically activate.
    – Ramhound
    May 25, 2016 at 13:41
  • @SimonS - I don't find questions, which are not clear, to be helpful to the community.
    – Ramhound
    May 25, 2016 at 14:03
  • @Ramhound how this question is unclear? It' crystal clear asking, how to make a bootable US from an installed Windows instead of ISO file. How a question can be clearer? Please elaborate to help me modify the question.
    – Googlebot
    May 25, 2016 at 14:52
  • 2
    @All - I have already explained the specific reasons I find this question confusing and not clear in previous comments. In the end it does not matter, the core of your question, was how to make a bootable Flash device that could install Windows which has been asked and answered before by me to this question
    – Ramhound
    May 25, 2016 at 14:59

3 Answers 3


You can use the MediaCreationTool to create an ISO of Windows 10 and get it on a DVD or create a bootable USB with the tool.

  • 1
    The tool you link to, will download an .ISO, and create a bootable disk off a default install.wim image which the author specifically indicated isn't what they were looking for.
    – Ramhound
    May 25, 2016 at 14:05
  • @Ramhound no, you can also create a bootable USB Stick with it, which I guess is what the OP wants
    – SimonS
    May 25, 2016 at 14:09
  • 2
    I just said that....The media will use the typical default install.wim which is contained in every Windows 10 .ISO released by Microsoft. Does not change the fact, the tool downloads an .ISO, and then creates a bootable disk .
    – Ramhound
    May 25, 2016 at 14:12
  • @Ramhound So I guess we're coming to the conclusion that we have different opinions on what the OP wants to achieve, and this justifies your downvote to the question :)
    – SimonS
    May 25, 2016 at 14:14
  • I could justify my downvote on your answer, by linking, to about 20 different questions where I personally mention the Media Creation Tool to questions which asked "how to install Windows 10". This is either a duplicate question or this answer doesn't answer the author's (actual) question.
    – Ramhound
    May 25, 2016 at 14:16

Windows has an embedded feature for that :


It will help you make a recovery USB that you can use in case you have an issue with your computer.

As you are running an OEM version on your PC, the recovery implemented by the manufacturer might have an option to backup it (on DVDs or USB). Check the documentation to get more infos.


This used to be possible in Win XP but I don't believe it is possible to build a clean install from an installed operating system.

You can create a System Image from Windows Backup and Restore and a recovery disk to launch the image restore. Before you do this you will want to shrink your partition to just larger than the space used on the HD. The image restore will only work if the image partition is smaller than the HD partition, even if it is unused space.

To shrink a volume, Right Click on 'This Computer'>Manage>Shrink Volume.

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