Can Windows 10 Boot from NTFS USB?

I am using Rufus to make a bootable USB from iso. But, Fat32 has been rejected for formatting a USB because it cannot handle files over 4GB. So now it remains NTFS and exFAT. Can Windows 10 boot from NTFS USB?

Best Answered by

Jerry· Answered on Jan 05, 2024

Yes, Windows can boot from a USB flash drive formatted as NTFS. A USB is a physical bus, and NTFS is a file system.

The BIOS of a computer with legacy boot compatibility can be instructed to start from a flash drive. Code in sector 0 of the disk is executed during legacy boot. That is independent of file systems, and Windows starts by itself. If you copy a Windows installation correctly on a flash drive, it will begin to be in legacy mode.

Legacy BIOS can boot and run an operating system from a single partition. The partition table on the device must be an MBR. The boot partition for booting legacy BIOS can be either FAT32 or NTFS. The Windows OS must be installed on NTFS, which implies an unnecessary separate boot partition. There is no reason to create a separate boot partition, but it is common when preparing a PC to boot multiple OS.

A PC with legacy boot disabled doesn't use the sector zero methods to boot. Instead, the boot procedure is initiated by an EFI file launched by UEFI when it detects a FAT32 partition with a particular signature. Once more, cloning a hard drive installation to a flash drive and instructing UEFI to boot from the flash drive will work. However, Windows will be installed on an NTFS partition, and the boot partition will be FAT32.

If you use Microsoft's Media Creation Tool to put the ISO for the installer on the USB drive, it will format the drive however it wants to. After utilizing the installer is complete, you can format the drive with any file system you like to return it to regular use.

If you are looking for a utility to help you create a bootable USB, EaseUS Todo Backup can be your excellent helper. It can help you create a WinPE emergency bootable disk in Windows and clone a bootable USB drive.

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