Windows Installation Media Creation Tool

Windows Installation Media Creation ToolFor quite a long time Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool was the easiest way to create your bootable USB. Yes, it had its issues (e.g. didn't work for UEFI) but it usually did its work. Only issue was where to get install media in the first place.

Well, now Microsoft gave us Windows Installation Media Creation Tool. As soon as you start it (no installation possible) you will get a selection of languages, editions (Standard/Pro), and architecture (x86/x64). Afterward you select whether you want to create a bootable USB or save it as an ISO file and, after a lengthy download, you will have your installation media. Perfect!

However, tool is not really perfect. First of all, it seems to have issues with some USB drives. I tried three different SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB drives and neither of them was even recognized by the tool: "We can't find a USB flash drive. Insert one and try again." This is first time ever I saw issue like this in any program.

One drive it did recognize (Super Talent's Pico-C) was deemed too small although it's size was required 4 GB. Yes, I know disk manufacturers like to count bytes a bit differently but I am puzzled by that 4 GB requirement. Pretty much all Windows installations are just slightly over 3 GB so better approach would be just to compare given flash size to selected installation media. And there is no technical reason since I could manually create a bootable drive from downloaded ISO just fine.

If you have a limited bandwidth, beware. Utility downloads a new file every time. It doesn't matter if you just downloaded ISO five minutes ago and now you just want to create a bootable media. It will redo the whole download. Seems wasteful to me.

It would also help if default selections would match running system rather than being empty. The whole idea is to give you installation media for your machine and this gets quite a bit annoying if you are inexperienced user trying to guess which release you are currently running.

But all in all, I am happy with this tool for its ISO download capability. It finally makes it possible to do the pristine installation on your machine with original Microsoft media without having to be MSDN subscriber.

PS: If everything else fails, you can always make USB install manually.

11 thoughts to “Windows Installation Media Creation Tool”

  1. Sandisk cruzer USB drives(probably the most common USB in America) are still not recognized by the by this “media creation tool”. It’s almost like Microsoft doesn’t want us to be able to create an ISO for a copy of an OS we already purchased in order for us to have to repurchase from them…..

    1. Landed here looking for info on “We can’t find a USB flash drive”. Tried two different USB drives, three PCs, two Win 8.1, one Win 7, NTFS and Fat 32 on drives. Both USBs were Sandisk, but they produce the vast majority of those out there. BUT, that made me throw an off brand (no brand) drive in there and it found it just fine. Imagine that. It was a 32G one though, and I wasn’t going to sacrifice it.

  2. Used a SanDisk 8gb flashdrive, fat32 formatted, and the media creation tool found it fine, and created the installation media. This would lead one to believe, that the issue may not be with the Creation Tool, rather with the end user. A little *off topic* but was talking with an idividual that burned an ISO to dvd, and the install failed due to a corrupted disc

    1. Doubt it is an user error :) as some other USBs worked just fine (e.g. SuperTalent Pico). One that didn’t work was SanDisk Cruzer Fit. It might be that some SanDisk models are more susceptible than others.

    2. As far as DVD copy goes, I haven’t used that one in ages. Although corruption might not be due to ISO burning but due to ISO download corruption. I have had a few times issue that SHA-1 hash wouldn’t match downloaded file. Download retry did solve it though.

  3. Adding to previous:

    The SanDisk 8gb is a “Cruzer’ and it is several years old.

  4. I am just guessing, but the problem is probably that the Scandisk Cruzer drives may show up as external HDDs rather than ‘removable storage’. I think this was actually a requirement for drives to be ‘Windows To Go’ approved.

    The media tool is probably looking specifically for ‘removable storage’. And this is probably to prevent people from accidentally reformatting their OS drive… an override would be nice. This is just another example of manufacturers trying to make everything ‘easy’ and actually causing more problems for people who know what they’re doing.

    You can check if your drive is ‘removable storage’ in disk management (diskmgmt.msc).
    In the bottom area where it shows your disks, it will should show “Basic” or “Removable” just below the “Disk #” and above the capacity. I think you can also tell by where or how it appears in ‘My Computer’ / ‘This PC’, but I can’t remember the specifics.

  5. My computer was giving me this issue. I was able to get around it by switching the port which I plugged the usb.

  6. My computer was giving me this issue. I was able to get around it by switching the port which I plugged the usb.

  7. ¿FDD usb flash or HDD usb flash type? Delete all partitions in HDD usb flash and format with windows or diskpart for convert HDD to FDD type.

  8. There is a minor bug with Windows 8/8.1 (and possibly Windows 7) where although you have plugged in your USB drive, it doesn’t assign a drive letter to it. You just have to go to Disk Management and assign a letter to it manually.

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