Do you want to install Windows 10 or Windows 11, but you don’t have a USB key? No problem, there is a solution to directly install Windows on a hard drive from another computer. Our guide works for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and Windows 11.
The prerequisites for Installing Windows without a USB key
The hard drive (HDD or SSD)
To install Windows you need a HDD preferably SSD to get better performance.
The SSD hard drive must be plugged into your computer in order to initialize it.
To plug it in, you can use an external box which allows it to be connected via USB, but to take advantage of the tool for free your hard drive must be plugged in from your computer. In “external disk” mode you must purchase a license.
To install Windows on an external hard drive or a USB key, I invite you to use WIN TO USB.
Once plugged in, you can check the status of your hard drive in Disk Management.
To access the Disk Manager just do the combination of Windows key + R and type diskmgmt.msc
The manager appears, you must identify your hard drive.
To proceed with the installation of Windows you must download Windows ISO.
The ISO makes it possible to proceed with the complete installation of the Windows system.
The WinToHDD Tool
Finally you need to download theWinToHDD tool which allows you to install Windows without a USB key using a WINDOWS ISO.
The product is paid to install Windows on an external hard disk (disk in an enclosure).
WinToHDD is available for download here: https://www.easyuefi.com/wintohdd/index.html
Installing the app is quick and fairly straightforward.
We can go through the different stages.
Step 1 – Using WinToHDD
WinToHDD offers several features, on our side we will use the feature that allows you to install Windows without a USB key.
Then we need to add the ISO. Below is an example with the Windows 11 ISO to download with theRUFUS tool .
Next we need to select the hard drive for installation.
The tool offers to format the disk according to the type of your motherboard BIOS or UEFI. Newer computers are usually UEFI.
Wait, WinTOHDD then offers you to select the EFI system partition and the Boot system partition.
The tool automatically sized the EFI and boot partition.
The installation starts.
Once completed, here is the contents of the hard drive:
Step 2 – Start Windows
You must now connect the hard drive to your new computer. Remember to define the startup (boot) on this disk in the BIOS or UEFI settings of your motherboard.
The system is booting up and so you have successfully install Windows without needing a USB key.
At the first start Windows scans the peripherals of the computer and installs the drivers necessary for proper operation. Then you go to the Windows desktop.
Our Opinion on WinTOHDD
WinToHDD is a very practical tool to install Windows without USB key. The free version is sufficient as long as you can plug the target hard drive directly into the computer’s motherboard.
To benefit from more functionalities, it is possible to buy a license (29th) on the site. Among other things, you can install Windows on an external hard drive, but also clone your hard drive.