How to Use External Drive to Update Windows 10?

You can use external drive to update Windows 10 if your PC can’t update normally. In this post, you’ll learn how to use USB to update OS with clear step guide.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Can I use external drive to update Windows 10?

Well, there are several ways to update Windows OS, if you can't install major Windows 10 updates directly on your PC - either because you don't have enough space for the large file, or because you're encountering errors during the installation process.

One of all solutions is to update Windows 10 using an external drive. You can choose an external hard drive or a USB flash drive that meets the requirements of making a system update USB.

How to use external drive to update Windows 10?

Now, let’s quickly go-ahead to a clear step guide about how to use USB flash drive to update Windows 10. The process does have many steps, please be patient.

Tip: We suggest you make a system backup before you start.

Section 1. Create Windows 10 installation media

Step 1. Download Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool from Microsoft's website. Choose 32-bit or 64-bit, depending on your system. You can check it in the Settings.

Create Windows 10 Installation media

Step 2. After downloading, go to the folder you've saved it in, and double-click the Media Creation Tool’s exe file.

Select tool exe file

Step 3. Choose “Create installation media for another PC” then “Next.

Create installation media for another PC

Step 4. Then, you'll be asked whether you want to create a USB flash drive. Choose the USB option and click “Next”.

Step 5. Select your USB drive from the list and click “Next”. You’ll then need to wait while the Windows 10 update downloads.

Select USB drive

Section 2. Update Windows 10 via USB stick

Step 1. When the creation is completed, open the USB drive and double-click the setup.exe file to start the Windows 10 upgrade process.

Select setup exe file

Step2. A box saying “I want to help make the installation of Windows better” is pre-ticked. If you don't want to have data about your Windows set-up collected, you can cancel that box.

Step 3. Click “Accept” on the license screen that follows, and then the tool will check for updates which will take a few minutes.

Step 4. On the next screen, check the pre-ticked options: “the defaults of Install Windows 10 Home” and “Keep personal files and apps are what you want”, then click “Install”.

Step 5. Follow all the on-screen prompts until you see the “Installing Windows 10” screen.

Installing Windows 10

Then your Windows will reboot one or several times. Then please unplug your USB and follow those lines to finish the update.

Easily update Windows OS with an OS migration tool

Using an external disk to upgrade Windows 10 necessitates several procedures as you see from the preceding article. Why not give it a shot if there's a simpler way? For Windows PC users, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is a disk and partition management program. This program helps Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP users manage their machines by providing a variety of useful tasks.

To avoid cumbersome steps of updating OS manually, the “Migrate OS to SSD” feature may help you. This function can help users to move existing OS from one disk to another. During the migration, you can keep running your system and programs because of the hot clone tech this software takes.

Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Note: The updated OS will cover all system data on the destination disk, you must back up your crucial data to restore them to the updated OS.

Now, let’s start!

Step 1. Connect a disk installed to the new version of OS you need to your PC. Install and open AOMEI Partition Assistant, and click “Clone” in the top toolbar, and choose “Migrate OS”.

Migrate OS to SSD

Step 2. Select an unallocated space on SSD and then click "Next". If there is no unallocated space on the SSD, you cannot move to the next step, just check "I want to delete all partitions on disk 2 to migrate system to the disk (all data on SSD will be erased)" and then click "Next".

Select space on the disk

Step 3. In this pop-out window, you can change the partition size according to your actual needs.

Resize partition

Step 4. Then, you will receive a note, read it carefully because it may be useful later. Keep it in mind and click "Finish".


Step 5. Finally, you will back to the main interface, and confirm the virtual result. If everything's fine, click "Apply" to execute it.


After the migration, you can restore your important data to this OS.

Further tips: Fix “not enough space to update Windows 10”

Many users can’t get the new OS version just because there’s not enough space to update Windows 10. If there are other drives with sufficient space on your system disk, you can try to increase your C drive space with this handy tool. It has a feature called “Allocated Free Space” which can share free space from one drive to another on the same disk. So, if your system disk has more than one drive, you can use this utility.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant, right-click the partition which you want to allocate free space from, and select "Allocate Free Space".

Allocate free space

Step 2. Type in the size of the free space which you want to cut from the D partition and this free space will be directly added to the destination partition.

Allocate from D to C

Step 3. Click "Apply" to execute this operation.


Since we add space to the C drive, you’ll need to reboot the PC. After that, you can try to update your Windows 10 to the new version.

To sum up

In this post, we taught you how to use external drive to update Windows 10. You may update Windows 10 using a USB stick with the Windows installation media you made, or you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant to finish the update or repair not enough space to update Windows 10.

In addition, you can use this tool to convert partition tables between GPT and MBR without data loss, change file systems without formatting, move installed programs without reinstalling to release more free space, and so on.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.