How to reinstall Windows 11 from USB bootable drive?

Occasional Reader

My Windows 11 PC is infected by malware and can't get rid of. So I made a bootable USB with Windows 11 Media Creation Tool but the USB is not available at boot up. I'm a bit uncertain about the exact steps to follow for a smooth reinstallation process. I've heard that there can be some tricky parts, especially with BIOS settings.


Could someone guide me through the process of reinstalling Windows 11 from USB drive? What kind of things I should be before and during the installation?



8 Replies
Reboot the computer and open the quick boot menu key. Usually, it is F12, F11, Esc or Enter. Wait a few seconds and you will see all the bootable devices. Now, select the USB to start reinstalling Windows 11 from this usb drive.
If your PC is heavily infected, you might want to wipe the hard drive clean before reinstalling Windows. In the Reset this PC process, select "Customize" and choose "Only remove my files" instead of "Fully clean the drive." This will erase all data on the hard drive without reinstalling Windows.

@Elswit One common reason your PC may not detect the Windows 11 bootable USB drive is compatibility issues with the USB port. Older PCs might not support USB 3.0 or higher, and if you're using a USB 3.0 drive in a USB 2.0 port, it might not be recognized. To successfully reinstall Windows 11 from USB drive, try using a different USB port, preferably a USB 2.0 port if available. Also, ensure that the USB drive itself is in good working condition by testing it on another computer.

When you reinstalling Windows 11 from USB bootable drive. If your PC won't boot from the USB drive, try restarting and checking your BIOS settings again. If you encounter issues during installation, try restarting in safe mode or seeking online support resources. And make sure your USB drive is properly formatted and contains a valid Windows 11 installation media.

@Elswit Another significant factor could be your BIOS or UEFI settings. If your system’s firmware is not configured to recognize USB devices as bootable, it won't detect the drive. For security, USB boot is disabled by default on moder computer.


Enter your BIOS/UEFI settings during the boot process (typically by pressing keys like F2, F10, F12, Esc, or Del during startup). Once inside, ensure that USB boot is enabled. This will allow you reinstalling Windows 11 from bootable USB.  Check the boot order and make sure that the USB drive is listed as the first boot device. Additionally, if Secure Boot is enabled, it might prevent the USB drive from being recognized. Temporarily disabling Secure Boot might resolve the issue.


Make sure your USB drive is properly formatted and contains the correct files for Windows 11 installation. You can use a tool like Rufus to format and create a bootable USB drive.


If you still find reinstalling Windows 11 from USB a little complicated, or if you have problems booting from USB, there are other methods you can try. I have encountered similar problems before, and here are some of my personal experiences and alternatives.


Use a system restore point:
If your Windows 11 has a system restore point set up before, this can be a good way to save your system. All you need to do is restart your computer, go to Advanced Startup Options (press F8 continuously at startup), select "Advanced Repair Options" and then "System Restore". Select a restore point from a date before your computer was infected with malware, and your system will automatically be restored to the state it was in at that time. This method will not affect your personal files, but it will restore system settings and programs.


Use the system reset feature:
If system restore does not solve the problem, or you don't have a restore point available, Windows 11's "Reset this PC" feature may help. This is basically reinstalling Windows 11, but it is simpler and more direct. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery and select "Reset this PC". You can choose to keep personal files, but I recommend selecting "Remove everything" to ensure that any potential malware is cleared.


If the tools that come with Windows aren’t enough, you might consider using a third-party boot CD like Hiren’s BootCD or Ultimate Boot CD to help you reinstall Windows 11 from USB bootable drive. These tools combine a variety of system repair tools, including virus scanning, file recovery, hard drive diagnostics, and more. Creating a boot CD like this allows you to run these tools in an environment separate from your main operating system.


Other solution: Use “Safe Mode” to clean:
Sometimes, malware that is difficult to remove in normal mode can be removed in safe mode. Restart your computer and press the F8 key at startup, then select “Safe Mode” (with networking to update or download cleanup tools). In safe mode, many unnecessary services and programs will not start, which may help you run antivirus software for a more thorough scan and cleanup.