What's a recommended USB drive for a dedicated Windows 10 boot device?

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  1. cytherian's Avatar
    Posts : 327
    Windows 10 v. 20H2, Build 19042.867
    Thread Starter
       #11

    Paul Black said:
    Hello @cytherian,
    You are VERY welcome.

    In response to an earlier question about Licenses, this might help clarify things . . .
     License Types and Rules

    MS offers Win 10 Licenses in many channels governed by different rules, but for most users, you can only acquire a License through the OEM [ Original Equipment Manufacturer ] or Retail channel.
    An OEM License refers to the License that a manufacturer installs on new devices. If this is your case, the Product Key is NOT transferable, and you can NOT use it to Activate another installation [ unless you are re-activating a new installation on the same computer ].
    A Retail License refers to the License that you acquire when purchasing a copy of Win 10 from your local store or an online retailer [ such as from MS or Amazon for example ]. If you have a Win 10 Retail License, you CAN transfer the Product Key to another computer, as long as you DEACTIVATE the Product Key on the other computer.
    A Volume License is designed for large Businesses, Education, and Government. Usually, a Volume License allows organizations to use one master Product Key to Activate ANY installation of Win 10. Although you can use this License multiple times on different computers, you can NOT transfer it with the device when the system ownership changes, and you are NOT allowed to use the License to Activate devices that are NOT part of the Organization.

    I hope this helps.
    Yes, thanks for posting this. I was aware of the nature of OEM vs. full Retail licenses, but always good to put it out there in case anyone reading this might be confused.
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  2. Paul Black's Avatar
    Posts : 12,464
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install
       #12

    cytherian said:
    Yes, thanks for posting this. I was aware of the nature of OEM vs. full Retail licenses, but always good to put it out there in case anyone reading this might be confused.
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  3. Megahertz's Avatar
    Posts : 2,514
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 10 Pro - Lubuntu
       #13

    For the Win 10 installation files, 8 G is more than enough.
    May I suggest you also have a 8 G Live Linux (Ubuntu, Mint etc). As they can read NTFS drives, they can be very useful in emergencies.
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  4. Paul Black's Avatar
    Posts : 12,464
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install
       #14

    Megahertz said:
    For the Win 10 installation files, 8 G is more than enough.
    May I suggest you also have a 8 G Live Linux (Ubuntu, Mint etc). As they can read NTFS drives, they can be very useful in emergencies.

    Excellent suggestion. I always have a Bootable Linux Mint Live USB ready to go if needed.
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  5. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,725
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #15

    Megahertz said:
    For the Win 10 installation files, 8 G is more than enough.
    May I suggest you also have a 8 G Live Linux (Ubuntu, Mint etc). As they can read NTFS drives, they can be very useful in emergencies.
    Since I have a Linux computer I can use its USB Image Writer with most any flavor of Linux .iso file as the Source to create a Bootable Linux LiveUSB. I carry it to all clients' calls 'just in case'.
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  6. cytherian's Avatar
    Posts : 327
    Windows 10 v. 20H2, Build 19042.867
    Thread Starter
       #16

    Megahertz said:
    For the Win 10 installation files, 8 G is more than enough.
    May I suggest you also have a 8 G Live Linux (Ubuntu, Mint etc). As they can read NTFS drives, they can be very useful in emergencies.
    What do you mean by "Live Linux?" Is this something different from an installed Linux ISO on a USB?
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  7. Paul Black's Avatar
    Posts : 12,464
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install
       #17

    Hello @cytherian,

    cytherian said:
    What do you mean by "Live Linux?" Is this something different from an installed Linux ISO on a USB?

    This might help . . .

     Linux Live USB / DVD

    A Linux Live USB / DVD is a good emergency method of retrieving data from an otherwise un-bootable drive or if you are having other drive difficulties.

    Basically . . .

    [1] Download the Linux ISO - I always use Linux Mint although there are others available.
    [2] Create a Bootable USB/DVD [ media ] using Rufus for example => Rufus.
    [3] Boot the media.
    [4] Copy the files from the OS to an external HDD/SSD or USB.

    > Download Linux Mint 20 Ulyana

    I hope this helps.
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  8. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,558
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #18

    cytherian said:
    Sorry for not being more specific.
    Ideally I'd like to have a full Windows 10 installation, but I expect that would require a separate full license as OEM is for only 1 computer at a time. So an installation USB drive would be the intent.
    @cytherian,

    Easily do-able -- if the Windows system was made on the same computer as your current one then it would have a digital license. I use an external SSD for a full Windows system

    However another option might be to create a virtual drive on to your device and boot from it :

    You can install the VHDX to a device already running other operating system installations, or as the only operating system on a device.

    1) Create a VHDX from diskpart. ...
    2) Apply a Windows image to the VHD. ...
    3) Detach the VHD, copy it to a new device, and attach it (optional) ...
    4) Add a boot entry.

    More detailed instructions:

    How to boot your PC from a VHD. Today we are going to talk about… | by David Linton | Tech Jobs Academy | Medium

    This should eliminate the Activation problem.

    (Macrium viboot is another option but that requires creating a full VM and then using HYPER-V which I think is probably more complex than what you want to do).

    BTW a Live Linux distro is one that is essentially a small but typical version of the standard distro with most of the common programs installed together with a GUI that can run on almost any hardware. It's a "non persistent" system that runs from an external device and any changes to it are discarded at shutdown so each re-boot starts again as if from new. You can make changes to your internal HDD's etc so a useful recovery tool.

    I use a Fedora 33 KDE live distro as an emergency tool for fixing things. - Even when cloning windows (or other) discs I use the dd command.

    Any Live distro is OK - loads out there so take your choice --I'd recommend one with a GUI though.

    GPARTED is also a very useful partition manager - if it's not on the live distro install it with the relevant package manager -- on a live distro you can install things (remember though not much space so you can't install a lot) but they all get wiped again on the next re-boot. If you have problems with Windows files install ntfs-3g package for read/write to ntfs -- usually its installed by default. GPARTED has a similar GUI to current Windows partition managers and no nags etc about "Going PRO" for "Extra features" etc.

    A live distro is more useful for recovery purposes than a bootable actual installed Linux distro since it can run on virtually any hardware. A clone of a standard installed version might fail to boot on some other hardware !!!.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Last edited by jimbo45; 04 Apr 2021 at 04:26.
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  9. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Posts : 5,358
    Windows 10 Home 20H2
       #19

    One can access the Internet via Linux Live without installation, as one can do the same via Windows PE.
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  10. Megahertz's Avatar
    Posts : 2,514
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 10 Pro - Lubuntu
       #20

    cytherian said:
    What do you mean by "Live Linux?" Is this something different from an installed Linux ISO on a USB?
    Yes, "Live Linux" is an "installed" Linux ISO on a USB that you can boot from it and have a OS to use for accessing your drive, internet etc.
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