How to Install Windows 11 on USB Drive: A Step-by-Step Guide

Installing Windows 11 on a USB drive might sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. This method allows you to carry your Windows 11 system wherever you go, making any computer your personal workstation. If you’re ready to get started, all you need is a USB drive with at least 16GB of space, a Windows 11 ISO file, and a tool to create a bootable USB.

How to Install Windows 11 on a USB Drive

In this section, we’ll walk through the process of installing Windows 11 on a USB drive. By following these steps, you’ll create a portable version of Windows 11 that you can use on any compatible computer.

Step 1: Download the Windows 11 ISO file

First, download the Windows 11 ISO file from Microsoft’s official website to ensure you have the latest version.

It’s crucial to get the ISO file from a reliable source to avoid any potential malware or corrupted files. Microsoft’s website is the best place to download it safely.

Step 2: Prepare the USB Drive

Next, format your USB drive. Ensure it has at least 16GB of free space and is formatted to NTFS.

Formatting the USB drive will erase all existing data, so back up any important files before proceeding. You can use the built-in Windows Disk Management tool for this step.

Step 3: Download and Install Rufus

Download Rufus, a free tool that helps create bootable USB drives, from its official website and install it on your computer.

Rufus is user-friendly and widely used for creating bootable USB drives. It supports various ISO formats and is highly reliable.

Step 4: Create a Bootable USB Drive

Open Rufus, select your USB drive, choose the Windows 11 ISO file you downloaded, and click "Start" to begin the process.

This step might take some time, depending on the speed of your USB drive and computer. Rufus will handle the heavy lifting, creating a bootable USB with Windows 11.

Step 5: Boot from the USB Drive

After Rufus completes, restart your computer and enter the BIOS/UEFI settings to change the boot order, so the USB drive is the first boot option.

Each computer has a different method to access BIOS/UEFI, usually by pressing a key like F2 or Delete during startup. Consult your computer’s manual if you’re unsure.

Step 6: Install Windows 11

Follow the on-screen prompts to install Windows 11 on the USB drive. Choose the USB drive as the installation destination.

This part is similar to a standard Windows installation. Be patient as the installation completes, and follow any specific instructions displayed.

After completing these steps, your USB drive will have a working installation of Windows 11. You can use it to boot any compatible computer, giving you a portable Windows environment.

Tips for Installing Windows 11 on a USB Drive

  • Use a USB 3.0 drive for faster read/write speeds.
  • Ensure your computer’s BIOS/UEFI is set to boot from USB.
  • Keep a backup of the Windows 11 ISO file in case you need to create another bootable USB drive.
  • Regularly update the USB installation to keep Windows 11 secure.
  • Verify that the target computer meets Windows 11 system requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any USB drive for installing Windows 11?

No, you need a USB drive with at least 16GB of space and preferably one that supports USB 3.0 for better performance.

Can I use a Mac to create the bootable USB drive?

Yes, but you’ll need to use a tool like Boot Camp Assistant or a similar third-party application.

Will this process erase all data on my USB drive?

Yes, formatting the USB drive will erase all existing data, so make sure to back up anything important.

Can I run Windows 11 from the USB drive on any computer?

You can run it on any compatible computer that meets Windows 11’s system requirements.

Is it legal to install Windows 11 this way?

Yes, as long as you have a valid Windows 11 license and use the ISO file from an official source.


  1. Download the Windows 11 ISO file.
  2. Prepare the USB drive.
  3. Download and install Rufus.
  4. Create a bootable USB drive.
  5. Boot from the USB drive.
  6. Install Windows 11.


Installing Windows 11 on a USB drive is a fantastic way to create a portable, personal operating system that you can take anywhere. It’s not just about convenience; it’s also about having the flexibility to work from any compatible computer without the need to install any software.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you should have no trouble setting up your own portable version of Windows 11. Remember, using trusted sources for your ISO files and tools like Rufus is crucial to avoid potential issues.

Keep in mind the tips provided for a smoother experience, and don’t hesitate to revisit the FAQ section if you have any questions. Happy computing!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy