Create a Bootable Windows 8.1 Setup USB in 2 steps

If you want to do a clean install of Windows, you need a bootable installation medium so that the setup can be started up without the need of any other OS. Now if your PC/Laptop does not have a DVD drive, your next available option is to use a Pen Drive/USB Drive as the Windows installation media. The USB Drive also needs to be made bootable, hence mere copy pasting of the installation files won’t help.

Creating a Bootable USB to Install Windows 7, 8 or 8.1

There are many tutorials on the web, majority of which make use of the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool, but many users faced issues with it while creating Windows 8.1 installation media. So, we will use a better tool called Zotac WinUSB Maker which is free and works for Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1.

Before you proceed:

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Before proceeding, arrange the following:

  1. A Windows ISO file or Windows DVD on your system.
  2. A USB Flash Drive having a capacity of 4GB or higher.
  3. Download Zotac WinUSB Maker from the official website here (838 KB).


  1. Connect your USB Drive to the PC.
  2. Open ZOTAC WinUSB Maker.

    zotac winusb maker

    WinUSB Main Window

  3. Open My Computer/This PC and Drag> Drop your USB Drive into the WinUSB Maker window.
  4. Browse to the location where you have saved the Windows 8.1 ISO and Drag> Drop it into the WinUSB Maker window. You can also drop the DVD Drive if you want to create the USB Installer from a DVD.
  5. The OS will be detected from the ISo and WinUSB maker will make the required changes to settings automatically. OS is shown according their NT Kernel.
  6. Click on Make USB Bootable and wait up for the program to transfer the files to the USB Drive.

    winusb maker final

    WinUSB Maker Final Step

  7. Plug in the USB Drive to the PC on which you want to install Windows and make sure BIOS is set to boot fist from USB Drive. Install Windows as you normally do.

Any issues? Leave them in the comments section below and they will be answered with priority πŸ™‚

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39 Responses to Create a Bootable Windows 8.1 Setup USB in 2 steps

  1. Faheem May 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Did this will work for Windows XP too?

    • Narender Singh May 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      No. XP setup is hard to boot via USB and even if you do all the things right, it won’t work on many systems. This works on Windows Vista or newer.

      • rohit January 12, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

        please tell me how to make window in pendrive

  2. Adam F June 18, 2014 at 4:52 am #

    Very straight forward, thanks for this resource! πŸ™‚ Going through the process now, I will report back once my machine arrives in the next couple days.

    • Narender Singh June 18, 2014 at 7:42 am #

      Hey Adam
      Glad that you found the context as simple πŸ™‚ Good Luck. I hope you’ll return back happy πŸ™‚

  3. Adam F June 21, 2014 at 12:02 am #

    Everything worked out great, windows 8.1 was up and running in no time ! Thanks again for the helpful article πŸ™‚

  4. winston August 22, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    Thx first! Try it later.

    • Narender Singh August 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      I hope you won’t be disappointed. Good Luck πŸ™‚

  5. Sidd October 23, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    My win 8.1 is in a mdf file. Will that format work thanks.

    • Narender Singh October 25, 2014 at 11:58 am #

      It’s only for ISO images. You need to look for some tool to convert MDF to ISO.

  6. Raj Kumar October 25, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Tnx for your post. May be u can help me with the prob I’m having: getting an error critical service failed and it goes into a loop over n over. I have dell desktop 64 bit win 8.1

    Please use my email n help as possible.
    Tnx much

    • Narender Singh October 25, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      Your Dell came with Windows pre-installed? You should be able to recover/refresh your PC using the recovery partition. If not, you should try doing a clean install of Windows.

  7. eanbyrosh January 6, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    I have windows files on a folder on my computer. . Is it possible to create..

    • Narender Singh January 6, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

      Make a bootable ISO (choose image instead of DVD) by following this. Then create a bootable USB.

  8. chris January 11, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    can any one help….
    i am trying to make a boot usb in efi mode. a critical error while formatting comes up. i can make a bot usb in std mode, but not in efi? because os this formatting error>?

  9. shaa February 2, 2015 at 3:49 am #

    Rufus can make xp bootable

  10. gerjsmit February 3, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

    Tried creating USB bootable windows 8.1 flash disk, however, your program keep giving “critical error has occurred ” once it gets to copying file 2090 of 2096??
    How do I fix that?

    • Narender Singh February 3, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

      Most probably the issue is with your ISO.

      • Gerjsmit February 4, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

        I downloaded another windows 8 file and the program does exactly the same giving critical error at the end.??

  11. madushan May 19, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    i have a error with wind 8.1,this is the error”critical error when injecting the boot tag

  12. ryn May 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    critical error when injecting the boot tag
    this is the first time it did was ok when i created win 8.1 on a 7gb sd hc

    • markuss December 19, 2015 at 12:08 am #

      you have to dormat your usb, i done it and it worked for me ;D

  13. KeonKG May 29, 2015 at 11:20 pm #

    When you see critical error when injecting the boot tag, and flashdrive is still visible – just try few more times.

    If you get always this error, use MiniTool Partition Wizard (its free) and delete partition from flashdrive and create new one fat32 and set it as PRIMARY. This works just fine for me.

    • peter September 9, 2015 at 8:34 am #

      Thankssss broooooo! =D

    • improv3x December 30, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

      NICE!!! thx thx!!

    • DOOM_NX June 17, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

      This worked! Thanks!

  14. Prince RaZ July 8, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    #bro i was always looking for this kind of software bt now it helped me a lot tnx ,,,,,,,,,, a lot bro

  15. Vikas Vishwakarma July 23, 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    Thank you so much for posting this.

    Its really works

    thanks a lot

  16. Madhi August 24, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    i just did all above steps,,windows 7 iso file added and now says critical error when injucting the boot tag what do i do…

  17. GS October 16, 2015 at 2:42 am #

    Tried used Zotac to make WinUSB Maker with the following error message; “Critical error when injecting the boot log” Please advice what I did wrong?

    • haunter November 24, 2015 at 4:30 am #

      use diskpart to clean the usb device, create a new primary partition, and format it fat32.

      • QBall March 27, 2016 at 6:13 am #

        and then what do i do????

  18. aarif February 6, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

    thanks a lot

  19. prem chand jaiswara March 1, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    Very nice and fast and very smooth work best

  20. Shahym March 17, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    Boots perfect but after restart zbox in installation process it gives an error, saying files cannot be copied.
    Any ideas how to fix

  21. CChirath March 23, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

    Zotac asked me to enable EFI compatibitiy mode and gave warning that device needs should i change the device or avoid it

  22. Niranjan July 5, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

    Very good application….Thankyou…keep doing good things!!

  23. JOptionPane July 20, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    I keep getting error message “critical error when injecting the boot tag ” and none of the solution above worked for me. I ended up using another application called Rufus ( which works smoothly.

    • Narender Singh July 20, 2016 at 10:20 am #

      Yes, Rufus is really a good little utility. Just a few more steps and hence I chose this one over that πŸ™‚

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