how to install windows on a new pc without a cd drive

Disc drives are slowly becoming obsolete nowadays thanks to the rise of flash drives and cloud services. Mobile computers and even desktops are starting to omit disc drives.

There are still ways to use them if you still have discs with apps, songs, videos, or something else on them. 

When you need the disks, your choices vary from buying an optical drive that you can plug in through USB to converting those discs to digital formats so that you can access them on demand. It depends on you.

Since around 2012 I was already feeling the need to drop cd / dvd drives from my PC builds.

A lot of times, when buying hardware, they include a cd with the necessary drivers but nowadays you can simply go online to download the drivers.

In this article we will go over how to install windows on a new pc without a cd drive.

Different ways to install windows without a cd / dvd drive

How To Install Windows 10 Without CD Drive
How To Install Windows 10 Without CD Drive

There are many different ways to install windows without a cd or dvd drive. Some methods include, using an external drive, accessing files through a network, downloading the setup files etc.

However, in this tutorial we will be using a USB thumbdrive since this articles primary focus is how to install windows on a new pc without a cd drive.

We will go over installing windows 10 on a new pc without a cd or dvd drive.

Before we continue here are a list of things you will need.

  1. Usb drive with 4GB for windows 7 or 8GB for windows 8 and up.
  2. Internet Connection 
  3. Another pc to download the Windows 10 installation media file
  4. Microsoft Windows Activation Key

Let’s get started.

How To Install Windows 10 Without CD Drive

So now that you have everything you need to from the list above, first thing you’ll want to do is to make sure that your usb thumb drive is formatted.

format thumb drive


  1. Step 1:

    1. Plug in your USB thumb drive and open file explorer.
    2. In file explore, locate your USB Thumb Drive
    3. Right click on your drive and select format
    format thumb drive

  2. Step 2:

    1. Open up your web browser and visit
    2. Under Create Windows 10 Installation Media click on Download tool now
    3. Save it on your hard drive 
    4. Once the download is complete
    5. Run the file “MediaCreationTool20H2.exe”download windows 10

  3. Step 3:

    1. After the program has loaded
    2. Click on accept
    3. Select – Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO File) for another PC
    4. Click Next
    5. Now select USB flash drive and click nextcreate installation media windows 10

  4. Step 4:

    1. Let it download and complete
    2. Depending on your internet connection it could take some time
    3. Once it’s complete
    4. Click On Finishwindows 10 setup

  5. Step 5:

    1. Plug your USB flash drive into your pc with no cd drive
    2. boot your pc with the USB Drive
    3. Follow prompts to install windows

Plug in your USB flash Drive Into Your PC With No CD Drive

Once you have the flash drive created. It is now time to plug the usb flash drive into the pc that you will be installing windows 10 on.

After you have turned on your computer, press Esc, F2, F8, or F10 depending on your manufacturer to enter BIOS setup. Use the up/down arrow on your keyboard to change the boot sequence in the advanced boot settings to look like:

bios screen

Save your settings and exit. 

Your pc will reboot and your installation will begin.

windows 10 installer

Now select your language, time and keyboard preference. And click next.

When you click Continue, you will have to click on “Install now” to fill in your product key, or you can skip it if you don’t have one.

custom windows 10 install

Click next to accept the Microsoft software terms and conditions;

Choose either Upgrade or Custom installation.

  • Upgrade: If a version of Windows is already installed, it will retain all files and settings saved on the partition it is installed to.
  • Custom: Since this is for a new PC, choose custom.

The next thing is to select the partition you want your windows installed in. In case you do not already have a partition, here is how to make one.

partition hard drive

The process will proceed automatically. Remaining alert in the event of a prompt is advisable. After restarting, you will be prompted to put your preferred settings into effect.

windows setup

Install Windows 10 Without CD or USB

In the event you don’t want to use a USB flash drive to install windows 10.

So same steps as above, you will need to download the windows 10 installation media file

And instead of choosing USB, select ISO.

windows 10 iso file

Save the ISO file onto your HDD

If you have another PC available on your network, you can cleanly reinstall it over the network without a DVD or USB. Download the ISO and drivers on another PC in that case. 

If your only usable device is the device you want to reinstall, download the ISO and driver installers from it. 

Next, create a partition to store the windows iso file.

To do this, open Disk Management (click Start -> click Computer -> right click on the C: drive -> select Disk Management), and right click on the C: drive partition to shrink it.

partition drive shrink volume

Next, choose to shrink C:\

Right click on the new partition and select new simple volume:

new simple volume partition

New Volume Wizard will open. Click Next to accept defaults, and then create the new volume (partition) by clicking Finish.

wizard complete for patition

On the new partition, create a folder called ISO_Files. Mount the downloaded ISO file right clicking on it and select mount. 

mount windows 10 iso

When the drive is mounted, it will act as a cd drive with the loaded windows install files. Reboot your pc and again, enter the bios and make sure that it boots from cd.

Now follow the prompts to install / upgrade windows.

do you need an optical drive to install windows

No, as mentioned above there are ways to install windows without optical drives such as a dvd or cd drive.

Windows 10 Install Video Tutorial:

If you prefer a video tutorial then check this one out.

Bottom Line

We hope this tutorial on “how to install windows on a new pc without a cd drive” helped you.

You should know how to reinstall Windows 10 without a CD or USB, and how to reinstall Windows 10 from a USB drive after reading our post. You should select a Windows reinstallation process based on your needs. 

Finally, please do not hesitate to inform us if you have other ways to reinstall / install Windows 10.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out how to clean up your windows computer for better performance