How to create Windows 10 installation media (on a USB stick) or download a free ISO file

If you want to install Windows 10 on a computer or device, you first need to create an installation media such as a bootable USB memory stick or DVD. Fortunately, that is easy to do in Windows 10, as Microsoft created a small tool called Media Creation Tool, designed just for that. If you want to know where to get it and how to use it to create your own installation media or download an ISO file which you can burn on a DVD, with the latest Windows 10 (with October 2018 Update), read this guide:

NOTE: This guide is based on Windows 10 October 2018 Update, the latest version of Windows 10, released on October 2nd, 2018.

What you should know before you go ahead

Before you start creating your own Windows 10 October 2018 Update flash drive or DVD, you should first check these requirements and recommendations:

  • You must have a working internet connection so that you can download the installation files.
  • You must have sufficient free storage space on your hard drive for the downloaded installation files. A safe bet would be to have at least 12GB of free space.
  • If you are going to create a USB memory stick, note that any data stored on it gets deleted, as the Media Creation Tool formats it before creating the bootable memory stick with the Windows 10 setup.
  • If you want to create media with Windows 10 installation files, you need to use a DVD or a USB memory stick of at least 8GB of storage space.
  • If you want to install Windows 10 from scratch, you need to know your product key. If you need help on doing a clean Windows 10 install, read this guide too: How to install Windows 10 using a retail disc, an ISO image or a flash drive.
  • If you intend to upgrade your current computer or device, make sure it meets the system requirements. You can check them here: Windows 10 Specifications.
  • If you want to know what is new in Windows 10 October 2018 Update and why it is worth installing it, read this article: 7 reasons why you should get Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

Download and run the Media Creation Tool for Windows 10

It does not matter whether you want to create installation media yourself or to download an ISO file with the latest version of Windows 10. For both tasks, you need the Media Creation Tool - a small executable file offered by Microsoft that allows you to download Windows 10 and create your installation media or directly upgrade your current computer or device to the latest version of Windows 10.

To get Media Creation Tool, launch your favorite web browser and go to this website: Download Windows 10. Scroll until you find the "Download tool now" button and click or tap on it. It is in the section that says: "Create Windows 10 installation media."

The Media Creation Tool link on the Windows 10 download website

The website asks you to download an executable file called MediaCreationTool, with a size of 18.3 MB. The file name ends with the version number 1809, which tells you that you are getting Windows 10 with October 2018 Update.

The Media Creation Tool executable file

Save it somewhere on your PC and then run the file. Depending on what you want to do, read the next section of this tutorial or the one after it.

How to use the Media Creation Tool to create your own Windows 10 installation media (with the latest version)

After you downloaded it, run the MediaCreationTool.exe file. Note that you need to be logged in as an administrator to run it. When User Account Control (UAC) asks if you are sure that you want to run this app, click or tap Yes.

The UAC prompt which asks for administrative permissions

Then, Media Creation Tool loads its user interface and asks you to accept its license terms. Read the terms, and click or tap the Accept button to continue.

The license terms for Microsoft Software

Media Creation Tool needs a few seconds to "get a few things ready." Then, it asks whether you want to upgrade your PC, or if you want to create installation media that you can use to install Windows 10 on any computer or device. Check the second option, the one that says "Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC."

Choosing to create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file)

Next, choose the Language, Edition, and Architecture that you want to use for creating the installation media. The architecture can be 64-bit, 32-bit or both. We recommend using 64-bit as much as possible. You can also choose to "Use the recommended options for this PC," which automatically selects the language, edition, and architecture that match the PC that you are using right now. Once you select the options that you want, press Next.

Choosing the language, edition, and architecture for the Windows 10 setup

Then, choose what kind of media storage you want to use. Choose "USB flash drive" and press Next.

Choosing to create a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10 on it

You see all the flash drives and external hard disks that are connected to your Windows computer or device. Select the one you want to use for creating Windows 10 installation media. Do not forget that all the data on it is going to get wiped. Make sure that you have a copy of it before moving forward.

Selecting the flash drive or external hard drive to be used

Once you have selected the USB flash drive, Media Creation Tool starts to download the latest Windows 10 installation files on your computer or device. Depending on your internet connection speed and the load on Microsoft's servers, this might take a while. All you need is patience.

The download process for the Windows 10 installation files

Once the download is over, it is verified for integrity, to make sure that everything is well. Then the USB memory stick you selected is made bootable, with the newest Windows 10 setup. This process may take another couple of minutes.

Creating the USB drive with the Windows 10 installation

When done, you are informed that the USB memory stick is ready. Click or tap Finish, and then you can use that drive to boot from and install Windows 10.

Finalizing the process of a USB drive with the Windows 10 installation

To install Windows 10 without problems, do not hesitate to read our complete step-by-step installation guide: How to install Windows 10 using a retail disc, an ISO image or a flash drive.

How to use the Media Creation Tool to download an ISO file with the newest Windows 10 setup

Run the MediaCreationTool1809.exe file, using a user account with administrator permissions. When User Account Control (UAC) asks if you are sure that you want to run this app, click or tap Yes. Media Creation Tool loads and asks you to accept its license terms. Click or tap Accept to continue.

The license terms for Microsoft Software

You are asked what you want to do. Choose "Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC," and press Next.

Choosing to create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC

Choose the Language, Edition, and Architecture that you want to use for the setup ISO file that you are about to download. You can also choose to "Use recommended settings for this PC," which automatically selects the language, edition, and architecture that match the PC on which you are working on right now. Then, click or tap Next.

Choosing the language, edition, and architecture for the Windows 10 installation media

You are asked to choose which media to use. Select "ISO file" and press Next.

Choosing to create an ISO file

Media Creation Tool asks you to select the location where you want to save the ISO file and the name you want to give it. Browse your computer or device, choose the location that you want, choose a name and then click or tap the Save button to begin downloading the ISO file.

Choosing where to save the Windows 10 ISO file on your PC

Media Creation Tool starts to download the latest Windows 10 installation files on your computer or device. Depending on your internet connection speed and the load on Microsoft's servers, this might take a while. Wait for a couple of minutes.

The download of Windows 10 installation files

Once the download is over, it is verified for integrity, to make sure that everything is OK. Then, the ISO file is created in the location that you specified. When the file is created, you are shown where it was saved. Click or tap Finish, and then you can burn the ISO file to a DVD or mount it in a virtual machine.

Finalizing the creation of the Windows 10 ISO file

To install Windows 10 without problems, do not hesitate to read our complete step-by-step installation guide: How to install Windows 10 using a retail disc, an ISO image or a flash drive.

Conclusion

As you can see, using the Media Creation Tool is intuitive, and easy to use even if you are not a technical expert. If you follow our instructions, you should have no trouble in creating an ISO setup file of your own or create a bootable USB memory stick with the Windows 10 setup files on it. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask in the comments section below.