20

By udisk, I mean a 2.5 inch HDD placed in an External Hard Drive Enclosure

I'm quite familiar (not professional, daily use only) with Linux (Arch&Ubuntu) but newbie to Windows. Sometimes I accidentally kill my Windows installation with some silly yet unrecoverable operations, and I have to:

  1. Download Windows 10 iso image
  2. Borrow a PC w/ a working Windows installation from someone.
  3. Install Ultraiso on that computer.
  4. Create Windows 10 installation udisk w/ Ultraiso and iso image.
  5. Boot my computer w/ the udisk.
  6. Repair/Reinstall my Windows 10.

I'm tired of borrowing computers or preparing extra udisks. Is there any way to create a Windows installation udisk w/o Windows, w/ Linux only?

Unacceptable solution:

  • dd if=[XXX.iso] of=/dev/sdX - There is no way it's ever gonna work
  • Install Ultraiso on Windows VM, create a virtual disk, flash iso to virtual disk w/ Ultraiso in VM, then binary dump virtual disk to my udisk - Too much trouble

Possible solution:

  • Manually set up ISOLINUX/GRUB2/etc. on udisk and extract iso (If so,a thorough tutorial is much appreciated)
4
  • 1
    Have you tried Unetbootin yet?
    – DarkMoon
    Jan 31 '18 at 6:36
  • @DarkMoon 3 mins ago I tried Unetbootin on my Arch Linux. I'm able to boot from the unetbootin-created udisk into UEFI mode, but fail when trying legace mode (non-UEFI mode).
    – Darren Ng
    Feb 9 '18 at 0:56
  • @DarkMoon Yet an ultraiso-created udisk boots into both UEFI and Legacy mode with no problem.
    – Darren Ng
    Feb 9 '18 at 1:10
  • Thank you I've been through this problem, oh too often. Last time I ended up using a DVD but this time there is no optical medium support Jul 13 '21 at 21:11
39

The best way to do that currently is to use woeusb

woeusb  --target-filesystem NTFS --device path/to/windows.iso /dev/sdX

There is also a GUI for those that prefer it.

4
  • 5
    The target-filesystem option --tgt-fs NTFS is necessary because the files in the new Windows installations are larger than 4GB and are not supported by a fat32 file systems. Without the option woeusb itself would complain about it. fat32 file systems are essential for UEFI boot loading. However, woeusb works around this under hood and produces a USB immediately recognized by the boot loader provided Secure Boot has been disabled. It sorts out a good number of headaches. Mar 24 '20 at 15:52
  • @XavierStuvw (comming from the future) Now, woeusb 5.1.0 can split that large wim blob with wimlib and fit everything into a FAT32 filesystem.
    – Darren Ng
    Jul 15 '21 at 10:51
  • Unfortunately, I cannot launch woeusb on my Arch Linux distro: "WoeUSB requires wimlib-imagex command in the executable search path, but it is not found." There is no entry in the AUR, so not sure where to go from here.
    – Bus42
    Sep 16 '21 at 15:22
  • This seems to have an issue with the latest 5GB+ windows ISO image. github.com/slacka/WoeUSB/issues/226#issuecomment-950976623 Nov 5 '21 at 17:15
1

I did some search, and found a perfect script: windows2usb.

Since woeusb doesn't support UEFI, this tool supports BIOS and UEFI(with rufus driver), FAT32 and NTFS.

2
  • Looking forward to checking it out. Thanks.
    – Darren Ng
    Mar 6 '20 at 12:19
  • 1
    Please do not post the same answer to multiple questions. If the same information really answers both questions, then one question (usually the newer one) should be closed as a duplicate of the other. You can indicate this by voting to close it as a duplicate or, if you don't have enough reputation for that, raise a flag to indicate that it's a duplicate. Otherwise tailor your answer to this question and don't just paste the same answer in multiple places.
    – DavidPostill
    Mar 6 '20 at 19:35
-1

I wonder what makes you think you have to do that ever? Downloading the iso takes as much time as simply repairing it with an older iso and then redownloading the updates again. Just put an old 4GB USB Stick with a windows installation somewhere and forget about it, it's not like you would save any time creating it again and again. You can update when a big update comes out, unless you destroy your windows installation every day.

2
  • Have you tried running one of the various windows tools through wine? Yumi might eventually work, that's what I use for multiboot media. Feb 1 '18 at 9:11
  • Wine for a newbie as me, sure? [Laugh&Sigh]
    – Darren Ng
    Feb 10 '18 at 2:15

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