how can I put Windows 10 onto a USB flash drive?

Hello and Good Morning Everyone,

          I currently have Windows 10 64 bit version on my laptop.  Unfortunately, I do not have a Windows 10 installation CD if anything should happen which would result in the repair or reinstallation of the operating system.  With that point in mind, I am wondering if someone could provide instructions for putting Windows 10 64 bit version onto a USB flash drive that I could use if I need to repair or reinstall Windows 10 onto my laptop if need ever be.

           Thank you

           George
GMartinAsked:
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yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyCommented:
Here is a link that should do the trick.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi George,
You can do this with what Microsoft calls the "media creation tool". It is available here:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

You'll probably want to click the second plus sign, "Using the tool to create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) to install Windows 10 on a different PC (click to show more or less information)", but that depends on your version of W10 — note that the third plus sign is for "Windows 10 Pro for Workstations", whereas the second one is for W10 Home and W10 Pro. Also, note that you'll need at least an 8GB blank USB flash drive. Regards, Joe
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
In addition to the above, Microsoft now keeps licensing (retail) in its Licensing Server. So since Windows 10 is running on your machine, you can even replace the hard / SSD drive and when you install Windows, it will already be licensed. Nice feature.
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RaminTechnical AdvisorCommented:
In addition to the above,  You can also create a full copy of your Windows with all settings, files, applications and everything in it  with creating a System Image Backup. the size of this image is almost the same as used space in C: drive (Windows Drive). you can do this with Windows or use a third party software.

 It's very easy, and you can have a System Image Backup of your system files (Windows).
 if anything happens to your windows you can put your system back to the time you created the Image with everything in it (Everything), instead of Installing Windows, installing drivers, updating Windows updates, and then install every programs again and set all settings.
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

            Thank you for your excellent feedback.  Without a doubt, there are some very great suggestions being brought to light here.  At this point, I would like to take this question to the next level by asking some questions regarding Windows 10 created on a USB flash drive by using the Media Creation Tool.  When the time comes to restore Windows 10 back onto the HD, will there be a user friendly interface  which will guide me through the steps?  Will Windows 10 need to be active in the background or can Windows 10 on the USB be bootable from a cold boot without needing to access the operating system on the hard drive?

            George
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi George,

> will there be a user friendly interface which will guide me through the steps?

In a word, yes. It is the same UI that comes with Windows on a DVD, which you've probably done before. If you think that was user-friendly, you'll think that the USB flash drive is user-friendly.

> Will Windows 10 need to be active in the background or can Windows 10 on the USB be bootable from a cold boot without needing to access the operating system on the hard drive?

Windows on the hard drive is not "active in the background"...you will be booting from the USB drive...that's the Windows that is "active". Btw, that's a good reminder that you'll need to configure the BIOS so that the USB flash drive is bootable...and if the hard drive is still capable of being booted at the time, you'll need to set the boot order so that the USB drive is ahead of the hard drive...otherwise, the hard drive will boot, not the flash drive. Regards, Joe
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Yes you can boot from the USB ISO (provided you made it bootable when you make it).
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arnoldCommented:
There is also a way you can register your email such that you will retain the Windows license in the event you have to replace the motherboard in the laptop.
The media creation many others posted is how you can get the OS install on a USB.
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello and Good Afternoon Everyone,

            First and foremost, I want to sincerely thank everyone who participated in this post by directly answering my question and providing extensions to the answer.  Using Joe's link in addition to his easy to follow instructions, I was able to successfully create Windows 10 onto my USB flash drive without any technical issues.  It is reassuring knowing that I have Windows 10 available if the need for it should ever present itself.

           On a side note regarding extensions given to answers,  I must say that I always deeply appreciate this.  In my opinion, comprehensive answers given with links and examples helps in the facilitation and comprehension of the issue and its possible solutions.   Having the big picture of the concern in addition to all possible avenues of troubleshooting instills self-confidence within someone, like me, who might be average at best when it comes to technical savviness.  

           In closing, I hope I was fair in the distribution of points to everyone.  As it has been with many of my previously closed post, the assignment of credit given to each expert is a bit tricky because of the high caliber of provided answers.  If there is ever a need to reevaluate credit given to responses, please feel free to let me know because I know that much of this is subjective.  

          Thanks again everyone for your terrific help :-)

          George
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome, George, and thanks back at you for a great closing comment. Good to know that you have successfully created a bootable W10 on your USB flash drive — but let's hope you never have to use it. :)  Regards, Joe
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yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyCommented:
@G.

I am happy to see someone close an issue and include this positive feedback and I am glad my suggestion has contributed to you resolving the issue.  

Points should be awarded as you see fit.  If a suggestion got you to the final result that should get the most points. I have in the past reply saying "why did you award me point. "
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