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To this date, has only one canonical post for creating bootable installation media for Windows 7 which dates back to 2009. The answers are mostly "use this tool and it works" that are not compatible with Windows 10.

I have located the most relevant question for creating bootable USB installation media for Windows 10, but it's not really a canonical post. That only covers UEFI (what about BIOS? machine compatibility?) and the answers are very, very unsatisfying. However, this question has made clear that:

Please note:

  • WinUSB doesn't work with Windows 10.
  • UNetbootin doesn't work either.
  • dd method didn't work as well.

I found another relevant post for Windows 10 that has received an answer that noted some information regarding the compatibility of tool and system:

Two important points:

1: The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool is not compatible with USB 3.0. To create a USB stick that is compatible with USB 3.0 using the native boot experience of the Windows 10 Technical Preview media (or Windows 8/Windows 8.1), use DiskPart to format the USB stick and set the partition to active, then copy all of the files from inside the ISO to the USB stick.

2: UEFI (CSM disabled) requires the USB stick to be formatted FAT32. If your stick is formatted NTFS, it would explain the behavior you have described.

Besides the two quoted links for Windows 10 (and limited to UEFI setup), other relevant posts are scattered as questions with trivial titles on Super User (SU). The recent post on SU (found via this meta post) exactly reflects the need for a new canonical post for Windows 10.

Following information should be included in the new canonical post:

  • the requirements to create bootable media
  • the instructions to create bootable media for BIOS only
  • the instructions to create bootable media for UEFI only
  • the compatibility of bootable media with 32-bit/64-bit, BIOS/UEFI, USB 2.0/3.0 of user machine, which may vary depending on which ISO image was used and the way bootable media was created

Here, the "bootable media" refers to "bootable USB flash drive".

Given my failed attempts to install Windows 10 32-bit from bootable USB media for the past few days, and I wasted so much time looking for relevant post on SU, I feel the question I have might actually be the same question that many end users wanted to ask.

I am not sure if I should proceed to create a new question, or leave to a more experienced user on SU to formulate the question to address all matters above.


Clarification: The new canonical post for Windows 10 is not just a how-to.

What I am suggesting here is to have a canonical post that would first explain the requirements to create bootable installation media for Windows 10. Then explain how to create one with noted compatibility. That would tell end users "if you create this way, it will work for this machine only".

I am not suggesting to repeat "use this tool and it works" like the canonical post for Windows 7 we have now on SU. Nowadays, such question will more likely belong to softwarerecs.SE and not really for SU.

I hope that by having the new canonical post for Windows 10, end users would not waste their time trying to create bootable installation media that might not work for their machine. I had to waste a few days to learn the fact the hard way, before I decided to bring this matter on meta SU here.


Above all, can we have a canonical question and answer for Windows 10? This would be a one-stop resource for end users to create bootable installation media for Windows 10 without issues.

P.S.: I was expecting the answer is something like: "Yes, we can create one; what you need to do is [...]" or "No, we do not need one because [...]". But looks like we have divided opinions (upvote: 1, downvote: 1, close vote: 1), which may suggest SU does not really think that we need one.

P.P.S.: I will wait several days for a more certain consensus before giving up on SU.

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    Great idea! Feel free to write the canonical question/answer pair based on the info provided in your post. – DavidPostill Jan 17 at 18:35
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    @DavidPostill I do hope to see the canonical post on SU, but that is probably not as simple as creating one... I would outline the content and write a draft as meta answer at below for a start, I think. – clearkimura Jan 18 at 2:53
  • Sigh, something that begins with "can..." is not a question? I looked up online and I found: "Can, like could and would, is used to ask a polite question, but can is only used to ask permission to do or say something ("Can I borrow your car?" "Can I get you something to drink?")." How else I should ask for a permission? – clearkimura Jan 18 at 4:07
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    I don't understand the negative reaction to this question. This is a common question that we get. At the very least, we ought to be able to create a series of answers, each dealing with a specific situation, or a specific tool. I completely agree that it would be good to have a one-stop thread for these questions. It also lends itself to a community effort, where users with different experience can contribute different answers. – fixer1234 Jan 18 at 6:37
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    Having recently wasted an entire weekend attempting to make bootable media from the Win10 ISO from MS, I believe this would be very useful. – Ring Jan 25 at 19:50
2

Isn't it unwritten because Microsoft provides a tool exactly for this purpose, for free download?

  • 1
    No. That's one tool for one situation. It's just a small piece of the puzzle. – fixer1234 Jan 29 at 23:23
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    What other situations are there? That tool has options for 32 and 64 bit architectures, all the editions, DVD and USB media. What is missing? – K.A Jan 30 at 12:44
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    Besides everything covered in the question, there's the platform and OS on which you are doing the work (XP era hardware, Win 7 era hardware, newer Windows hardware, Linux, Mac, various netbooks), and the target platform on which you want Win 10 installed (add VM to the above mix). A canonical thread should also be comprehensive in a way a random Q&A usually is not (why, background, what doesn't work, other tools, level of detail, installing Win 10 in multi-boot situations, etc.). – fixer1234 Jan 30 at 21:08
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    Even if the only possible answer is to use Microsoft's tool for every possible situation, a canonical thread will contain more comprehensive information than a typical Q&A. The idea is that anybody with a question related to the subject can be directed there and will be able to see how that thread answers their question. That often isn't the case with a random Q&A. The subject matter experts may recognize that an answer on a thread also answers what someone is asking, but it may not be obvious to the asker. – fixer1234 Jan 30 at 21:56
1

This is an alternative answer, and the last feedback from my side.

supply and demand - Wikipedia

Simply put: if there is no real demand, then there is no reason to supply. Otherwise, we would be wasting our own time and energy.

Can we have a canonical question and answer for Windows 10?

The word "can" is used to ask something that is certain. The answer is either "can (yes)" or "cannot (no)". There is nothing in between.

(This is weird. Being a non-native English user, why do I have to explain English usage on SU? Anyway.)

To moderators: do let me know if I should clarify and explain "why" I decided not to pursue this matter anymore. I will write a new meta answer, if needed

I have done my research, wrote the meta question with supporting facts, replying to the comments. The result? Zero meta answer to explain how should a canonical post be written. None at all.

I am merely suggesting that:

  • we should have a canonical question on "bootable installation media for Windows 10" (because there is no such post on SU to this date)
  • we should note the requirements and compatibility of the bootable media (because no single post contain all the information)
  • we should write as (so that end users do not have to do advanced search like "is:question windows bootable usb -[linux] -[macos] score:1 answers:1 duplicate:no closed:no" and still get unhelpful search result because relevant posts are not upvoted enough)

Even before I brought this matter to meta SU, this was no longer a problem for me. I already found my own solution (so far only for 32-bit BIOS) after wasting few days of trials and errors, I documented in my notebook, and I am satisfied.

But I decided to take a step further for public reference: I noticed SU had no such documentation, I put together the supporting facts, I bring this to meta SU to ask whether this is allowed or not (can or cannot).

The result? This lukewarm discussion with zero meta answer to guide. Furthermore I have to self-answer on meta SU to explain further what this meta question was all about? Seriously. Give me a break!

I would like to thank the following users for their support.


@DavidPostill♦ Thanks for the first comment and offer to write the canonical post. Unfortunately, the community on SU does not need such canonical post (yet). We can just hope other end users to bring this matter again to show that we need such post.

@TwistyImpersonator Thanks for making edits and clarification. Unfortunately, that did not make much difference on how people perceive this matter on SU. At least we have tried.

@fixer1234 Thanks for your supportive comments. I suppose not all high reputation users understand what low reputation users actually experience in practice. Even in real life, people at higher rank of status will often, if not always, fail to understand the need of common people. At least I am glad to know one that understands well.


Jan 23: Post-feedback clarification

fixer1234: You gave up too soon. Sometimes Meta questions take awhile for people to see them. Already at +9 (+10/-1), there have been no more downvotes after the initial one, and now at zero close votes.

Based on my quick lookup for canonical-answer on meta SU, some meta posts with targeted topics were addressed within several days. So I assumed several days is enough; turned out not really.

Vote count did not really matter. I am most concerned with guideline to create canonical post; I have a strong impression that SU has a strict or high expectation on what kind of posts are allowed, despite being on-topic. Hence the meta question.

fixer1234: You didn't ask for advice in the question on structuring a canonical thread, [...]

I noted from the beginning:

I am not sure if I should proceed to create a new question, or leave to a more experienced user on SU to formulate the question to address all matters above.

And I also added in Revision 4:

P.S.: I was expecting the answer is something like: "Yes, we can create one; what you need to do is [...]" or "No, we do not need one because [...]"...

I could have asked directly "where should I start", but wouldn't such direct question be seen too broad? So I worded like "should I do A or B" approach.

fixer1234: [...] and you seemed to have the topic well in hand.

No. My knowledge is limited to how much I have done through trials and errors (or how many hours I have wasted to reach that knowledge).

fixer1234: Outline what you envision in the question and each planned answer in separate posts here [...]

Given that my knowledge is limited, I hesitated to create the pair of question and answer. So I was hoping the outcome of this meta discussion is either:

  • meta answer that gives a brief guideline on how should a first-time contributor write a canonical question, or
  • meta answer that simply ask to follow format like so and so

That would have saved much time, without any redudant comment. Again, this is because I have a strong impression that SU has a strict or high expectation on what kind of posts are allowed, despite being on-topic. So I rather follow the guideline than simply creating my own.


Apr 16: Post post-feedback clarification

Looking back at this meta post I had created three months ago, what have been explained here remained true to this date. Even without the canonical post, end users only need to find the "right" post (by spending some time to search on SU or elsewhere on web) for a working solution.

One thing that I understand better today: I might not actually want to post about "how to create a bootable Windows 10 installation media". Given that SU did not have such canonical post, I might have attempted to solve two different things at one time and overshadowing my original intention.

What makes bootable media bootable? (asked 2010, 11 votes, 2,937 views) seems to be the closest to my original intention. Both question and answers however, are quite generic and mainly explained for hard disks and floppies, not quite relevant for CDs and USB flash drives, and neither specific to Windows nor Linux.

At the moment, I thought of creating a new pair of question and answer similar to "What makes bootable media bootable?" that is specific to Windows. That will be applicable Windows 10, as well as Windows 7 and perhaps Windows 8.1. The Linux counterpart is not exactly same as Windows, so I rather post Linux counterpart at Unix.SE instead.

This part is merely a post post clarification to revisit my original intention. The proposed canonical post, which I have had given up, shall remain true and will not be pursued by me.


Sorry, I really give up on SU this time.

At least I managed to bring awareness; however, no changes to my decision. Should anyone else willing to spend their precious time and energy to create the canonical post, feel free to do so.


TL;DR What I might wanted to post was "What makes Windows installation media bootable?" and not Linux and not a how-to. The original intention (see Apr 16) will be reviewed again sometime later. Not sure yet.

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    You gave up too soon. Sometimes Meta questions take awhile for people to see them. Already at +9 (+10/-1), there have been no more downvotes after the initial one, and now at zero close votes. You didn't ask for advice in the question on structuring a canonical thread, and you seemed to have the topic well in hand. That's likely why you didn't get input. People are more likely to react to something you draft. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Jan 23 at 10:26
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    A couple of good models for doing this: superuser.com/questions/241817/… and superuser.com/questions/100360/…. I don't use Windows 10, so I can't help much with the content, but would be happy to do what I can in terms of suggesting structuring and editing. One way to get community help is to use answers here as placeholders for the component posts. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Jan 23 at 10:26
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    Outline what you envision in the question and each planned answer in separate posts here. People can react to it and suggest changes, and suggest additional answers to fill out the topic. People can comment on specific parts to volunteer to draft it after the actual question has been posted. – fixer1234 Jan 23 at 10:27
  • @fixer1234 See "Post-feedback clarification" for replies to your comment. That is all I think. – clearkimura Jan 23 at 19:15
  • You did a good job of laying this out and getting the ball rolling. Even if you don't pursue it, you deserve a lot of credit for bringing it up and taking it this far. These projects tend to be a "labor of love" because they are a lot of work, and generally start out or become community wikis, so there isn't a rep reward. They're most easily created by subject matter experts, so if you don't feel sufficiently qualified, there's nothing wrong with that. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Jan 23 at 19:41
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    Identifying and outlining the need is a critical first step, and the subject matter experts aren't always aware of the needs of the non-experts. Maybe someone will run with the idea. Regardless, thanks for creating this thread. – fixer1234 Jan 23 at 19:41
  • It takes all of us to make a community, but things aren't helped by casting aspersions. @clearkimura all high-point users were low-point users at one point. I remember the frustration of dealing with what I perceived to be slights and bad actors who had more rep than me. It wasn't that many years ago. There are still some SUers I have more problems with than others, but I have worked to have some empathy for them, mostly by assuming the best about them and their interactions. So a) don't give up, b) don't make things worse by assuming the worst about people you don't yet understand. – music2myear Jan 25 at 15:48
  • Saying "don't give up" to a person who had given up, is rather unkind and shows lack of understanding. Instead of lengthy comments, a meta answer with intention to guide new contributors to write canonical post on SU would be most helpful. – clearkimura Jan 27 at 8:01
  • @clearkimura - Saying “don’t give up” is the complete opposite of being unkind. – Ramhound Jan 30 at 0:41
  • I'm not sure about that, but why don't you just write your answer so people can comment on it? The only guide I can give is a generic one (write a question as the question, don't include the answer in the question, etc.), because I don't know how to create a Windows 10 installation media. – user202729 Jan 30 at 4:01
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Several days later, I concluded that this site does not need such canonical post.

I wish I could leave that one-line answer and marked this post as solved. Can I?

  • Technologically, yes I can. – clearkimura Jan 20 at 6:27
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    To moderators: do let me know if I should clarify and explain "why" I decided not to pursue this matter anymore. I will write a new meta answer, if needed. – clearkimura Jan 20 at 6:33
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    Well, I still think it's a good idea. :-) – fixer1234 Jan 20 at 21:39
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    @fixer1234 I do agree the canonical post itself is a good idea, but this meta answer basically reflects the outcome of this lukewarm discussion. I never understood why I had to waste so much words to convince people of a common problem faced by end users. – clearkimura Jan 21 at 3:35
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    @clearkimura How is explaining your idea a bad thing? You received a single downvote to your question. I only think it’s a bad idea because I think you haven’t done a good job explaining what the question scope would be. – Ramhound Jan 21 at 4:38
  • You mention "The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool" not being a good solution. But what about the multiple solutions mentioned @ TenForums.com: Create Bootable USB Flash Drive to Install Windows 10? That guide is on the same site as the excellent TenForums: Clean Install Windows 10. The WWW was named after the idea of a web where resources reference other resources; why re-create the data for here? So, I agree: Don't. – TOOGAM Jan 27 at 7:19
  • @TOOGAM I never said that; I only quote the text from existing post on SU as proof that user must be aware of the compatibility of tool and system. I also clarified in meta question that: "I am not suggesting to repeat "use this tool and it works" [...]" – clearkimura Jan 27 at 7:44

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