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)
  • 1
    Have you tried Unetbootin yet?
    – DarkMoon
    Jan 31, 2018 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).
    – user744579
    Feb 9, 2018 at 0:56
  • @DarkMoon Yet an ultraiso-created udisk boots into both UEFI and Legacy mode with no problem.
    – user744579
    Feb 9, 2018 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, 2021 at 21:11

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 7
    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, 2020 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.
    – user744579
    Jul 15, 2021 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, 2021 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, 2021 at 17:15
  • wimlib-imagex is part of wimtools under ubuntu. For arch it seems to be wimlib
    – user45891
    Jul 23, 2022 at 12:37

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.

  • Looking forward to checking it out. Thanks.
    – user744579
    Mar 6, 2020 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, 2020 at 19:35
  • With this tool, I ran into this error: superuser.com/q/959879/571029 It wasted a lot of time and effort :(
    – Megidd
    Sep 24, 2022 at 15:51

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.

  • 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, 2018 at 9:11
  • Wine for a newbie as me, sure? [Laugh&Sigh]
    – user744579
    Feb 10, 2018 at 2:15

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