Want your own personal windows install usb?

Soldato
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So you guys probably know
If you have to reinstall windows it does not actually take that long
It's all the other software, drivers, settings, themes, updates etc that takes the time

This gives you a windows install usb that has all your other stuff on it :)
It gets installed along with windows
While you go have coffee
Or a smoke break etc. :)

This post will be a bit long so if you aren't interested by this point walk
Away now lol
It actually takes me less time to do this than to type it out lol

REQUIREMENTS
Windows install usb which is a minimum of 16gb the larger the better
If your Windows installed is 40gb it should just fit 16gb USB due to this highly compressing it
Windows installed of approx 80~90gb
Will just about fit 64gb USB drive

If your Windows installed is huge unless you have 128gb or 256gb USB flash drive no point reading past here :):)

A second drive to store the wim file
Internal, external, flash drive 16gb+

So if still with me
Here we go :)

Boot off your Windows install usb
As soon as you get screen with pick
Language, region etc
Press shift + f10
This opens an elevated command prompt ~you can't do this by using repair my pc and then cmd
You need to know drive letter to store wim file~it can't be C if Windows is installed on C
If you are not sure use Diskpart
Then type list disks to figure it out
Edit~Thx @tnx for suggestion can also type list volume to further help find where to store it
In this example the wim will be stored on D
Type exactly this, spacing must be totally correct
Dism /capture-image /imagefile:“d:\mycustom.wim" /capturedir:c:\ /name:mycustom

WARNING
May be hard to tell where the spaces are due to my phone not letting me do the command all in one line :(
Will finish the post anyway and see
If can amend it on pc tomorrow

If done command correctly after approx a minute
You will get a % progress counter
Once it's 100% type exit
Then press cancel windows install
Restart pc and find the
mycustom.wim file wherever you stored it
Rename it to install.wim
Copy it and browse to your Windows install usb then to the sources folder
Paste it in there say yes to replacing
The existing file
Job done. :):)
Now when you install windows all your stuff will be there too. :):)
Though this post is long it took me under 10 minutes to actually do this
3am so will try to sort out the command prompt spacing
Tomorrow on pc
But after capture-image 1 space
After mycustom.wim 1 space
Between \ / there's 1 space

None of this is destructive to what's on your pc if done as said
Until you actually use the completed usb to install windows

Thanks for making it to the end of this post if you did. :D:D
Hope this proves useful it's saved me hours when reinstalling Windows :D:D

Ps if I made any mistakes don't shout at me I will sort them tomorrow. :):)
 
Last edited:

tnx

tnx

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Don’t think I’m busy today. I may try this just for summet to do.

what if the .wim file is over 4gb ?

A bootable usb has to be in fat32 and that can’t handle a file larger than 4gb.

I suppose on the original install.wim you could use DISM to export the index you wish to work with. i.e “Pro”. That should reduce the size of the original install.wim before starting the process.

Nice info, yep. I’m gunna give it a whirl. Wonder if it works on Windows 7 too.

cheers.
 
Soldato
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I am also going to try this later just out of curiosity. Why don't you just use Macrium Reflect instead?
 
Soldato
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Don’t think I’m busy today. I may try this just for summet to do.

what if the .wim file is over 4gb ?

A bootable usb has to be in fat32 and that can’t handle a file larger than 4gb.

I suppose on the original install.wim you could use DISM to export the index you wish to work with. i.e “Pro”. That should reduce the size of the original install.wim before starting the process.

Nice info, yep. I’m gunna give it a whirl. Wonder if it works on Windows 7 too.

cheers.
My wim file is 17gb
Works fine
Will double check later what yumi and rufus do when making the original bootable usb though
 
Soldato
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I am also going to try this later just out of curiosity. Why don't you just use Macrium Reflect instead?
I do actually use macrium
But there have been situations where macrium failed me
One was to do with some windows file system changes forget exactly
And right now every macrium image I load is not working with winload. Exe
Is missing error
This is for those situations where image backups won't work and reinstalling
Is the only option really
Macrium when it goes OK is of course much faster
 
Soldato
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Quick read suggests 2 partitions are made rufus and yumi are what
I usually use for bootable usb
Very small partition to make it bootable
And the rest ntfs allowing over 4gb files
If it was solely fat32
Then guess my method would tell you at the point you tried to copy your
New wim file to the USB that you can't do it
 

tnx

tnx

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My wim file is 17gb
Works fine
Will double check later what yumi and rufus do when making the original bootable usb though


17 gb ? Wow !

Never used either of those APPs to make my USB's, just use Diskpart. Will have to check out how to make a bootable USB with NTFS.
 

tnx

tnx

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Never got chance to mess, yet.

Got side tracked on another little project and couldn't stop myself...:D
 
Soldato
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17 gb ? Wow !

Never used either of those APPs to make my USB's, just use Diskpart. Will have to check out how to make a bootable USB with NTFS.
Yeah pretty sure I pick ntfs using those apps
Just so used to doing it that it never occurred to me to mention that part plus
It was a 3am insomnia post lol
Diskpart of course works but guessing doing it that way may indeed mean 4gb
File size limit
Or if ntfs not being bootable

Never got chance to mess, yet.

Got side tracked on another little project and couldn't stop myself...:D
Lol
Know the feeling
 

tnx

tnx

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Just did a right quick Google on a bootable USB NTFS file system.

Saw a YouTube vid showing Diskpart formatting a USB drive to NTFS then loading the Boot info from a mounted image onto the USB.

Might just see if that actually works first before I start messing about..
 
Soldato
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Just did a right quick Google on a bootable USB NTFS file system.

Saw a YouTube vid showing Diskpart formatting a USB drive to NTFS then loading the Boot info from a mounted image onto the USB.

Might just see if that actually works first before I start messing about..
That's possibly what yumi and rufus do
Sounds reasonable
 

tnx

tnx

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Well..

I followed that YouTube link. ( not sure if YouTube links are allowed, so not posting it)

Instructions were, using Diskpart to "Clean" the USB drive, make new partition and format it to NTFS, make partition active and assign a drive letter. Exit Diskpart

DO NO EXIT COMMAND PROMPT !!!

I mounted my Windows 10 .iso image.

Took note of the mounted drive letter = i
Took note of the USB drive letter = j

Returning to the open Command Prompt navigate to the boot DIR of the mounted .iso image

i:cd Boot
i:\>cd Boot
i:\Boot>Bootsect.exe /NT60 j:

The boot info was transferred to the USB drive.

Simply copy the contents of the .iso image to the USB.

I used Power ISO to extract the .iso files then copied them to the USB drive. 7Zip (FREE APP) would do the job

The original install.wim of the Windows 10 image with all it's indexes is roughly 4.5gb. Which is too large for fat32 to handle but this transferred without any bother to the USB being it's NTFS.

As I type this very minute Windows 10 is virtually installed and I am at the point of inputting my name.

So in conclusion making a bootable USB with a NTFS file system is quite simple and does work.

just waiting...
just one more minute....

There we are, Windows 10 Pro installed and running..

Now to mess with what the OP was..

Cheers Mcnumpty2323
 
Soldato
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Well..

I followed that YouTube link. ( not sure if YouTube links are allowed, so not posting it)

Instructions were, using Diskpart to "Clean" the USB drive, make new partition and format it to NTFS, make partition active and assign a drive letter. Exit Diskpart

DO NO EXIT COMMAND PROMPT !!!

I mounted my Windows 10 .iso image.

Took note of the mounted drive letter = i
Took note of the USB drive letter = j

Returning to the open Command Prompt navigate to the boot DIR of the mounted .iso image

i:cd Boot
i:\>cd Boot
i:\Boot>Bootsect.exe /NT60 j:

The boot info was transferred to the USB drive.

Simply copy the contents of the .iso image to the USB.

I used Power ISO to extract the .iso files then copied them to the USB drive. 7Zip (FREE APP) would do the job

The original install.wim of the Windows 10 image with all it's indexes is roughly 4.5gb. Which is too large for fat32 to handle but this transferred without any bother to the USB being it's NTFS.

As I type this very minute Windows 10 is virtually installed and I am at the point of inputting my name.

So in conclusion making a bootable USB with a NTFS file system is quite simple and does work.

just waiting...
just one more minute....

There we are, Windows 10 Pro installed and running..

Now to mess with what the OP was..

Cheers Mcnumpty2323
Yes youtube links allowed
I have forgotten so much stuff I did years ago when I used to break windows so to
Speak
Just so could figure how to fix it
But yes the NT60 bit brought back old
Memories of doing that
Yumi and rufus just do it for you
I am getting mentally lazy in my old age lol
Not yet been on pc to see if I can get the
Whole command prompt on 1 line
Hopefully I made sense explaining where the spaces should be as it was 3am lol
Any errors should give a clue as to
What's wrong ie it will state its file name
Or wrong location etc
You sound pretty comfortable with cmd
Anyway so if I goofed something
You will probably realise where I goofed
And obviously you know to test
The end result usb in a VM first
Let me know how you get on :)
 

tnx

tnx

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Well if YouTube links are allowed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdxrrOCyQzo

Gunna get onto your OP in a bit but first I have a little Photoshop to do.

Do all my testing on an actual PC, not VM... I have three PC's set up, my main and two I mess with testing this and that.

Cheers again for the OP. Once I get round to messing and testing I will get back to you.

Somebody may find it just as interesting and learn summet new too.
 
Soldato
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No rush not going anywhere lol
Will still be here once you give it a try
Yeah 2nd pc is even better for testing
Than VM anyway
Glad you find it interesting
I have been doing too much point and click stuff past few years makes
The brain lazy
So this wasn't a bad idea even if only 1 person ever finds it useful
 
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Good little guide. USB drives are so cheap that everyone might as well keep a dedicated drive like the for the sole purpose of keeping a full custom windows install.

Thanks for the detailed steps..
 
Soldato
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and though the command on my phone was over several lines it looks like on pc
it actually was only 1 line after all lol
so the explanation of the spaces wasnt needed if looking on pc :)
 
Soldato
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Good little guide. USB drives are so cheap that everyone might as well keep a dedicated drive like the for the sole purpose of keeping a full custom windows install.

Thanks for the detailed steps..
youre very welcome
like i found out images are great but not 100% guaranteed to work
so this is a last resort fallback
but saves few hours of installing all your stuff
i also used to make a dedicated recovery partition to do it
like with laptops
will have to try to remember how i did that
 

tnx

tnx

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WELL. WELL. WELL..

Followed your guide and it worked a treat. This is the first time I have installed an OS and captured an image of said OS but I know it wont be the last.

I did very little to the fresh install, made some shortcuts, new desktop colour and removed all the rubbish from the Start Menu. The end install.wim size was 5.5gb.
Next I will try installing some updates, maybe some APPs I always use and stuff like that. Get it looking exactly how I like and see what it installs like then.

I can see a little work now could save loads of time with the amount of messing I actually do.

I may have made things a little harder for myself by using a HDD with 4 partitions on to capture the image to.
I use a HDD with three 32gb partitions and one with about 130gb. I use this as an install drive and it has Win 7, Win 8.1 and Win 10 plus a partition formatted to NTFS where drivers live for the various boards I have, plus common APPs I use a lot.
Anyway if I may I would add one little bit of extra info to help find the drive letter where you want the captured image to be written to.

That is whilst in Diskpart use List Volume (lis vol) and this brings up the various drive letters enabling to select the correct one.

What I like the most is NOT having to fill in your name and select NO to all the privacy settings, speeds up the install process a lot.

Cheers... Great thread...
 
Soldato
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WELL. WELL. WELL..

Followed your guide and it worked a treat. This is the first time I have installed an OS and captured an image of said OS but I know it wont be the last.

I did very little to the fresh install, made some shortcuts, new desktop colour and removed all the rubbish from the Start Menu. The end install.wim size was 5.5gb.
Next I will try installing some updates, maybe some APPs I always use and stuff like that. Get it looking exactly how I like and see what it installs like then.

I can see a little work now could save loads of time with the amount of messing I actually do.

I may have made things a little harder for myself by using a HDD with 4 partitions on to capture the image to.
I use a HDD with three 32gb partitions and one with about 130gb. I use this as an install drive and it has Win 7, Win 8.1 and Win 10 plus a partition formatted to NTFS where drivers live for the various boards I have, plus common APPs I use a lot.
Anyway if I may I would add one little bit of extra info to help find the drive letter where you want the captured image to be written to.

That is whilst in Diskpart use List Volume (lis vol) and this brings up the various drive letters enabling to select the correct one.

What I like the most is NOT having to fill in your name and select NO to all the privacy settings, speeds up the install process a lot.

Cheers... Great thread...
Thanks
And yes list volume is a good idea
In my example I kept it as simple as I could
For people who may not be as capable
As you are
Could also save the wim to a specific folder
Though again for simplicity I did root of the drive
And happy of course for suggestions as my way may not be most efficient or
Perfect way of doing it
Main thing is for a 3am idea
It actually worked lol
Guess my old brain still has a little life
Left in it after all :D:D:D:D
The other way I did it was something like
Make a partition large enough to hold
The whole contents of your new wim
Windows ~name it whatever, my custom
Recovery for example
Use Diskpart to make it active
Use easy bcd to add it to the boot menu
Then when pc starts you have the
Option to boot from it if you want
Similar to what we just did
But saves hunting for your usb
And installs faster if you have a
Ssd or M2 drive
 
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