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Windows from Linux
There are few ways to access Windows resources.
- Install Microsoft Windows into a disk partition and make it dual-bootable.
- Use Windows 365 to use it from a web browser
- Run Office 365 application in Wine
- Other tips
Windows installation from Linux
Creation of Windows USB installation media on GNU + Linux platform can be automated by using https://github.com/WoeUSB/WoeUSB.
Let’s see what is involved behind “Windows from Linux” as below.
Information on Windows installation
The official Microsoft documentation gives us good entry points:
- Install Windows from a USB Flash Drive
- Windows Setup: Installing using the MBR or GPT partition style
- Switch from legacy MBR disk to GPT disk with Windows 10
- Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive
- Windows 10 ISO image download page
- Windows 11 ISO image download page
You should probably get your localized Windows 10 pro image for Windows 10 (Not Windows 10N nor Windows 10KN. These are for people living in Europe or South Korea).
Available GNU + Linux tools for Windows installation
Useful tools on Debian to manipulate disk data:
- gdisk – GPT fdisk text-mode partitioning tool (with in place conversion of MBR to GPT)
- parted – disk partition manipulator (CLI)
- gparted – GNOME partition editor (GUI)
- msb – Master Boot Record for IBM-PC compatible computers
- wimtools – Tools for manipulating Windows Imaging files
How to create a USB flash drive to install Windows
The recent Windows ISO image contains
sources/install.wim which is about 5GiB
and exceeds 4 GiB filesize limit on FAT32 frequently used on the USB flash
Although the disk image is called “ISO file”, this is not formatted in ISO9660
but actually formatted in UDF format which doesn’t suffer from 4GB file size
limitation. This “ISO file” isn’t a hybrid file system overlaying harddisk file
system so you can’t use this ISO image with simple “
dd if= ...” to make
bootable USB key (I know many of us Linux user feel like doing it.)
So we need to cope with this complication.
The following can make a USB flash drive to install Windows via UEFI on GPT disk.
- Download Windows 10 install media as ISO image
- Mount ISO image and make its contents accessible
- Format USB flash drive with FAT32 filesystem on the first partition of GPT disk.
- Copy everything in the ISO image to USB flash drive
wimlib-imagex split) into parts to cope with the 4GiB filesize limit
install.wim is slightly larger than 4GB limit, you may use file
wimlib-imagex optimize install.wim --solid to make it fit in
4GB limit and do
If the UEFI available on your system also supports NTFS or the
UEFI:NTFS is used along with the UEFI,
you can format USB flash drive with NTFS filesystem instead and boot Windows by
copying the original
sources/install.wim into this NTFS filesystem without
You may also make this USB flash drive as Legacy/UEFI hybrid boot disk using the standard tricks.
Related articles and resources for Windows installation
- Create a windows system from scratch using Linux
- Rufus – The Reliable USB Formatting Utility
- UEFI:NTFS - Boot NTFS or exFAT partitions from UEFI
- Debian wiki: UEFI
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