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You can create a bootable UEFI USB flash drive for installing Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 using the Rufus tool.

Rufus is one of the easiest methods out there for getting Windows installed, but it’s also not suitable for everybody. Rufus is not designed for system administrators or to be power user friendly. That doesn’t mean you don’t get all the features when you install Windows this way; it means that the developer of Rufus only had one thing in mind when he designed it which was to create an easy way to get Windows installed on a single machine and by using a single drive. Those words are taken directly from the developer of Rufus himself, so there’s really no arguing that—you can read more about what the developer has to say about Rufus at the bottom of this article and by checking out the Rufus FAQ link that is available within the guide itself.

Rufus comes available in over 40 different languages, and you’ll see those after installing the Windows operating system and start running through the setup wizard which is the last thing you’ll do, and after anything listed in the guide below.

There are some requirements before you can create a bootable UEFI USB flash drive. They are the following:

  • The USB flash storage stick needs to have at least 4 GB’s of free space available.
  • You need to backup any data that you have on the USB stock that you plan on getting the operating system installed on or else you will find that data wiped and unusable after the operating system installation is complete, thus it’s best to use a new USB stick for the installation—both because it’s likely going to last longer and because you can’t have any data on it anyway.
  • You need to have a 64-bit version of the Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 ISO or DVD as the 32-bit versions of either operating system are not supported.
  • The boot mode needs to be set to UEFI and not Compatibility Support Module (CSM) in the computer’s UEFI firmware settings.
  • While in the UEFI firmware settings, you also need to disable the Secure Boot temporarily. The reason being that some motherboards, depending on a combination of the manufacturer and model, may not boot directly from a USB stick unless this option is disabled. (If you choose to ignore this, for now, try to remember to come back to it if your installation isn’t working.)
  • It’s also a good idea to disable Fast boot or Ultra-fast boot from the UEFI firmware if your computer supports either of this two things for the same reason as disabling Secure Boot: it might not be able to boot the operating system from USB otherwise.

How to Create Bootable UEFI USB Flash Drive for Installing Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1

1. Download the latest version of the Rufus tool from the official Rufus website. You can also check out a very well written Rufus FAQ available on GitHub (no downloading required)—we’ll also summarize many of the important points mention in the FAQ in this article.

2. Connect the USB flash drive to the computer into its available slot.

3. Find the location that Rufus downloaded to on your computer (the Downloads folder from Windows Explorer being the default downloads location unless you picked another one when saving the file or have changed what the default location is) and then run the Rufus executable file by double clicking on it.

4. You’ll now see a set of drop-down menus available from the Rufus tool that you need to fill in. Do them with the following:

  • Click on the drop-down menu under “Device” and select the USB flash storage drive that you have connected to the computer.
  • Click on the drop-down menu under “Partition scheme and target system type” and select the “GPT partition scheme for UEFI computer.”
  • Click on the “File System” drop-down menu and select “FAT32.”
  • Click on the “Cluster size” drop-down menu and select whatever option as the “Default” next to it in parentheses.
  • Click on the “New volume label” drop-down menu and give your installation a name or just leave it set on the default name if you prefer.
  • Lastly, you have a set of checkboxes. Leave the first one (Check device for bad blocks) unchecked and check the rest: Quick format, Create a bootable disk using (Iso image), Create extended label and icon files.

5. Once you’ve made all the appropriate selections, click on the “Start” button available at the same bottom of the Rufus window.

6. You’ll then see a small warning dialog box pop up on the computer’s display from Windows letting you know that “all data on device USB will be destroyed” which is a very dramatic way of saying the data will be wiped, so make sure you’ve taken anything off the USB stick that you wanted to keep and store it elsewhere—there’s no way you can install an operating system, from a USB stick, even to this day, without it wiping the existing contents that is on the USB stick.

7. You’ll now see a green progress bar appear at the bottom of the window as Rufus starts to create the the bootable UEFI USB flash drive. Keep waiting until the progress bar reaches 100% and then the Rufus tool is done. Click on the “Close” button to close the Rufus window when it appears.

8. The computer is now ready to do a clean install of the Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 operating systems using UEFI with the newly created bootable UEFI USB flash drive.

You have now finished creating the bootable UEFI flash drive for getting Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 installed on your computer.

Your computer is now ready for a clean install of Windows which can be done by following the guide on getting Windows 7 using the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).

There is also a manual method for creating the bootable UEFI USB flash drive. We don’t like it as much as the method above and have left it out, but if you wanted, you could look online for it by entering into Google a query such as “How to manually create a bootable UEFI USB flash drive” and the results should come up for you to click on and follow. There are better guides on the web than we could compete with for that, so it’s better left alone.

Are There People Out There Searching for the Same Thing But Using Different Words?

Yes. One of the annoyances with flash storage devices is that there are so many different names for them it makes it difficult providing a guide that everyone can find. Other common terms people use when wanting to follow the guide above include making a bootable pendrive for Windows 7, 8/81, making a thumb drive or jumpdrive for Windows 7, 8/81, making a keydrive for Windows 7, 8/8.1, making a memory stick for Windows 7, 8/8.1, making a flash stick of Windows 7, 8/8.1, and making a memory stick of Windows 7, 8/8.1. Regardless of the term used, they all point to the same guide above using Rufus.

Damage to Hardware

It isn’t possible for Rufus to cause damage to your USB stick. As the developer puts it, even when trying, it’s very difficult for software to cause issues to hardware. If you are experiencing issues with your hardware, there’s next to no chance that it has anything to do with what you did with Rufus.

Antivirus Says Virus Detected

There are some reports out there that people running virus scans are finding the results suggesting that Rufus is, in fact, a virus. Don’t pay attention to them; Rufus is used by millions of people around the world and is definitely not a virus. Sometimes these scans can bring up inaccurate results; they aren’t able to psychically spot a virus technically, and they just take guesses at what probably is. When you’re dealing with software that can make significant changes to your system, it isn’t uncommon for them to set of virus detectors—you’ll struggle with the same kinds of issues from Android rooting tools a lot of the time for anyone who knows Android well.

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