Tips: How to make Windows 10 install media on macOS High Sierra

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in macOS
Apple stripped the ability to make Windows 10 install media from a flash drive or external SSD in Sierra, but sometimes, you still need to be able to do it from a Microsoft-provided download. AppleInsider shows you how to do it.




First, get the .ISO file from Microsoft here. Importantly, this doesn't contain a license code, so you'll need to get one of those yourself.

We implore you -- get the .ISO from Microsoft. Don't use a shady source.

Making a Windows 10 install disk from macOS High Sierra isn't as simple as formatting a drive in Disk Utility and copying over files in the Finder -- you need to use the Terminal. So, mount the disk you want to make install media, and open up the Terminal.




Find the name of the drive that you want to install the media on. Be sure that you've got this right -- because in later steps you can do massive damage to your boot drive if you're not careful.

Type diskutil list in the Terminal window to get a list of your drives. In our case here, it's "disk2." We'll use "disk2" going forward with this tip, but in the place of "disk2" use which disk identifier is appropriate for you.




Next, we'll format the disk in Terminal. Enter

diskutil eraseDisk MS-DOS "WINDOWS10" MBR disk2

This will format the drive suitable for a UEFI boot, name it "WINDOWS10," and mount it.




Your Windows 10 .ISO file download is probably in your Downloads folder. Mount the .ISO by double-clicking on it. It is probably called "CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9" but double-check.




A Finder copy doesn't work. In the Terminal enter:

cp -rp /Volumes/CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9/* /Volumes/WINDOWS10/




The Terminal will sit there for a minute, seemingly unfazed by your command. However, it is working, and after a period of time depending on the speed of your media it will complete unceremoniously -- but your data will be copied, and your media will be bootable.


Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,793member
    Thanks for the tip.

    By the way, I've been using the free (open source) cross platform Etcher app (etcher.io) quite a lot for doing bootable Linux installs from iso files on to USB and SD/microSD and it works like a charm. I've never tried it with Windows 10 installs but I expect it should work quite well. 
    edited January 18
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Sadly, I had no luck using Etcher - it created the USB drive OK, but not in a format that would boot in a Windows machine.  And I did change all the BIOS settings as needed.
    Ultimately, I had to borrow a friend's PC to do create a bootable version.  Didn't have a chance to try the approach above.


    dewme
  • Reply 3 of 13
    It would be great if you could edit/start this article to clarify "why" you might need a bootable Windows 10 installer, vs. just the .ISO. Are we ultimately trying to use this for Bootcamp, or is this step required if you're just trying to set up a Virtual Machine i.e. VMware, VirtualBox, Parallels? Genuine question!
  • Reply 4 of 13
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,793member
    jdiamond said:
    Sadly, I had no luck using Etcher - it created the USB drive OK, but not in a format that would boot in a Windows machine.  And I did change all the BIOS settings as needed.
    Ultimately, I had to borrow a friend's PC to do create a bootable version.  Didn't have a chance to try the approach above.


    Thanks for giving it a try!
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,701administrator
    It would be great if you could edit/start this article to clarify "why" you might need a bootable Windows 10 installer, vs. just the .ISO. Are we ultimately trying to use this for Bootcamp, or is this step required if you're just trying to set up a Virtual Machine i.e. VMware, VirtualBox, Parallels? Genuine question!
    Bootcamp installs fine from an .ISO. Virtual machines generally do, but not always, so it might be helpful for that.

    It is probably of most use to a chronic troubleshooter, who has a running Mac and a dead Windows machine, and no good way to reinstall the OS. Or, if you just want to put the install media on a fast flash drive, instead of a DVD.
    edited January 18
  • Reply 6 of 13
    I was under the impression that given what they did to BootCamp Assiatant, if one was running one of the Sierra's, one could NOT install win10 into a bootcamp created partition... hence the instructions to have the install files on a bootable external volume. So if I mount the ISO, run Bootcamp Assiatant, it will leave me with a win10 installation without needing the flash drive I created with your instructions?

    Thing is, I already have a bootcamp partition with what HAD been a functioning win10 install that "went" bad and leaves in a loop of trying to repair, not succeeding, trying again. Being a Mac guy, re-install the OS comes to mind... except I have no idea of I can actually do something like that without actually wiping out the whole install and starting from scratch. Open to suggestions...
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,701administrator
    paulcons said:
    I was under the impression that given what they did to BootCamp Assiatant, if one was running one of the Sierra's, one could NOT install win10 into a bootcamp created partition... hence the instructions to have the install files on a bootable external volume. So if I mount the ISO, run Bootcamp Assiatant, it will leave me with a win10 installation without needing the flash drive I created with your instructions?

    Thing is, I already have a bootcamp partition with what HAD been a functioning win10 install that "went" bad and leaves in a loop of trying to repair, not succeeding, trying again. Being a Mac guy, re-install the OS comes to mind... except I have no idea of I can actually do something like that without actually wiping out the whole install and starting from scratch. Open to suggestions...
    I just saw this comment -- yeah, you can boot from the Windows install media you made from your Mac here, and reinstall windows over your perpetually repairing partition. 
  • Reply 8 of 13
    jakesjakes Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    If you add the v flag to cp -rpv /Volumes/CCCOMA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV9/* /Volumes/WINDOWS10/ you don't have to sit blindly and wonder if it doing anything.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    De DuckyDe Ducky Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    ^^ I should have scrolled down! Sitting blindly waiting for it to finish...
  • Reply 10 of 13
    JSJS Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Hit Ctrl+T to see progress (per file)
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Got this error, cp: /Volumes/WINDOWS10/sources/install.wim: File too large I'm using a 16GB SD card which has plenty of space left on it. Resorting to using Rufus through Parallels
  • Reply 12 of 13
    Windows is throwing an error: "windows setup windows cannot open the required file C:\Sources\install.wim". The problem is that sources/install.wim is 4.4GB which is more than MS-DOS (FAT32) format can handle. I tried to format my disk to ExFAT instead but unfortunately my motherboard doesn't recognize that. Any ideas?
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Marc SmithMarc Smith Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I came across this website when trying to do this. Nothing worked but a combination of sources. So I made a video. Hopefully this helps -
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