If you want to install Windows 10, you first have to create installation media such as a bootable USB memory stick or a DVD. Fortunately, that is a simple thing to do in Windows 10, as Microsoft developed the Media Creation Tool for just that reason. If you want to learn where to download the Media Creation Tool and how to use it to build your Windows 10 installation media or download an ISO file with the latest Windows 10 May 2020 Update (also known as Windows 10 version 2004 or 20H1), read this guide:
NOTE: This guide is based on Windows 10 May 2020 Update, the latest version of Windows 10, and Media Creation Tool 2004, both officially released on May 27, 2020.
What you should know before you go ahead
Before creating an ISO file, a USB memory stick, or a DVD with the Windows 10 setup, you should first check these requirements and recommendations:
- You must have a working internet connection to be able to download the installation files.
- You must have sufficient free storage space on your hard disk or solid-state drive for the installation files. A safe bet would be to have at least 12 GB of free space.
- If you want to create a USB memory stick, note that any data stored on it gets deleted. Media Creation Tool needs to format it before creating the bootable memory stick with the Windows 10 setup.
- If you want to create media with Windows 10 installation, you need to use a DVD or a USB memory stick of at least 8 GB of storage space.
- If you intend to upgrade your computer or device, make sure it meets the system requirements. You can check them here: Windows 10 Specifications.
What is Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and where to get it
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. If you’re wondering what Media Creation Tool is, the answer is this: a small executable file made by Microsoft, that allows you to download Windows 10 and create your installation media. Furthermore, Media Creation Tool also lets you directly upgrade your current computer or device to the latest version of Windows 10.
The next obvious question you might ask is: “How do I get Windows 10 Media Creation Tool?”. To download the Media Creation Tool, use your favorite web browser to go to this webpage: Download Windows 10. Scroll until you find the “Download tool now” button and click or tap on it. It’s found in the “Create Windows 10 installation media” section.
Microsoft asks you to download an executable file called MediaCreationTool, with a size of 18.5 MB. The file name ends with the version number 2004, which tells you that you are getting Windows 10 with May 2020 Update. To learn more about Windows 10 versions, read: How to check the Windows 10 version, OS build, edition, or type.
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 a Windows 10 bootable USB memory stick
You can use the Media Creation Tool as a Windows 10 USB tool. In other words, it can download the Windows 10 installation files and automatically create a bootable Windows 10 USB memory stick, which you can then use to install this operating system on any computer. Note that you need to be logged in as an administrator to run MediaCreationTool2004.exe. When User Account Control (UAC) asks if you are sure that you want to run this app, click or tap Yes.
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.
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: “Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC.”
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 often 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 you are using right now. Once you select the options that you want, press Next.
Then, choose what kind of media storage you want to use. Choose “USB flash drive” and press Next.
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.
Once you have selected the USB flash drive, Media Creation Tool starts to download the latest Windows 10 installation files to 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.
Once the download is over, it is verified for integrity to make sure that all 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.
When the process is finished, 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.
To install Windows 10 without problems, read: How to install Windows 10 using a DVD, an ISO file, or a USB flash drive.
How to use the Media Creation Tool to download an ISO file with the latest Windows 10 May 2020 Update setup files
You can also use the Media Creation Tool to create a Windows 10 ISO image. Begin by running the MediaCreationTool2004.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.
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.
Choose the Language, Edition, and Architecture that you want to use for the setup ISO file 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 you are working on right now. Then, click or tap Next.
You are asked to choose which media to use. Select “ISO file” and press Next.
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.
Media Creation Tool starts to download the latest Windows 10 installation files to 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.
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.
To learn how to install Windows 10 without problems, read our complete step-by-step guide: How to install Windows 10 using a DVD, an ISO file, or a USB flash drive.
Did you have issues creating your Windows 10 installation media?
As you can see, using the Media Creation Tool is intuitive and straightforward, even if you are not a technical expert. With our instructions, you should have no trouble creating a Windows 10 ISO setup file of your own or a bootable Windows 10 USB memory stick with all its setup files on it. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below.