Does the Windows install process need an EMPTY USB key? Or...?

My situation is that I just unboxed and plugged in my new Framework Laptop DIY Edition (12th Gen Intel® Core™). Unboxing was great, but now to install Windows it says I need a Windows machine and an 8GB USB key.

Well the reason that I bought this in the first place is that my Windows machine is broken. :slight_smile: I can probably use my son’s fancy tower gaming machine, though, if I ask nice.

I don’t have any USB keys lying around (do most people??). I guess I could go out and buy one.

Does this really mean just “a USB storage device with at least 8GB of free space”? Because I do have both the HDD and SSD from my broken Windows machine in USB external containers, and they have free space. Can I just use one of those? Or does the process destroy existing stuff on the USB device, and I should just (sigh) drive to Best Buy or something?

Thanks for any advice!

Unless you partition a drive then yes adding a bootable OS will overwrite the only ‘partition’ you can install to.

Easier to buy 8Gb :slight_smile:


You would need to create a bootable USB device with Windows iso (most likely with Rufus or any other software like that. You could use an external HDD/SSD but yould most likely have to wipe it clean during the process of making a bootable drive. I higly suggest keeping just one USB3 USB key just for flashing OS wheter Windows or Linux. there might be other ways but i’m not familiar with them :slight_smile:


Thanks much! Turns out my son had a USB key (from installing Windows previously haha, as you suggested), so I am good.


If you had needed it, the Windows Media Creation Tool would have wiped whatever was on the USB flash drive used to create your bootstrap to install Windows.