Run Windows 10 from USB

If you’re looking for an ultra portable solution for your computing lifestyle, you might be interested in running Windows 10 from USB. It’s a good solution if you do light work on multiple computers. Now clearly, this is not the most ideal situation. For one, this will surely shortness the life cycle of your USB with the numerous reads and writes it’ll have to perform. Also, USB speed is much slower than SATA speed.

None the less, while gaming might take ages to perform (or rather, it will take a long time to load maps and other in game items), simple tasks such as word processing and Web browsing should be a breeze. Now to do this, you will need to have a USB flash drive (preferably USB 3.0) with at least 16GB of free space.  I’m using a 30 GB USB 3.0 drive. So here’s how to run windows 10 from usb.

What You Will Need:

  • Windows 10 iso
  • 15 GB Flash Drive
  • WinToUSB

Step 1: Install Windows using WinToUSB

To begin, you will need to have a Windows  10 ISO. If you don’t have one, you can use Microsoft’s media creation tool to download one. Afterwards, use the program WinToUSB to install Windows to your USB drive. You will choose the same partition for the boot and system partition, and choose VHD for the HD type. The process will take about 20 minutes.


Step 2: Booting

Once it’s done, insert your USB into the computer that you want to boot Windows on. Make sure you select it as the first boot device inside of your bios. On the first boot, it will detect your devices and spend time installing the device drivers. It will reboot again and take you through the setup process.

Run Windows 10 from USB

Using Windows 10 on a USB:

Like I said before, of you value your USB, don’t do this. The number of read and writes that it will be taking will surely shorten the life of it. As far as speed, its bareble but nothing comparable to using a  normal data drive. If something starts to install in the background or download, well, everything comes to a stand still. Otherwise, for lite tasks its usuable

6 thoughts on “Run Windows 10 from USB

  1. Hi. is it possible to run a portable windows in a chromebook? I want to buy one and sometimes I need photoshop (I’m a freelance designer) on my laptop too

    1. If you have one of the ones with ARM CPUs, don’t even bother. If it’s an x86, it should work, just follow the normal instructions for installing Windows on a Chromebook.

  2. Would Windows 10 running from a good USB 3.0 drive really be that slow? A SanDisk Extreme CZ80 drive has sequential write speeds of 196.3 megabytes per second and sequential read speeds of 246.9 MBps. That is surpassing lots of older or low-budget SSDs and coming close to mid-range SSDs you can buy now.

  3. This is all well and good, but how to you get the USB booted Windows to see the other drives on your PC? I tried it out and it cannot see any drives outside of it’s own little virtualised universe.

  4. Hi Dave, I hope you might read my comment and answer a question. I have a 500GB external hard drive that I’d like to use instead of usb drive. Would this also work? Thanks!

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