WoeUSB is a free, open-source simple tool that enables you to create your own USB stick windows installer from an iso image or an actual DVD. I have used it myself to create bootable USB sticks for installing Windows from ISO images, and it has worked flawlessly every time. The interface is straightforward to use. Select the ISO image or DVD you want to use, select your USB drive, and click “Create.” The process is quick and painless, and the results are always perfect. If you need to install Windows from a bootable USB stick, WoeUSB is the ideal tool for the job.
The following tutorial will teach you how to install WoeUSB on the Linux Mint 21/20 desktop release series using a LaunchPAD APT PPA with the command line terminal. This installation method will allow you to run in CLI mode or use the graphical mode interface.
Update Linux Mint – System Update
Before proceeding with the tutorial, ensuring your system is up-to-date with all existing packages is good.
sudo apt update
Optionally, you can list the updates for users who require review or are curious.
apt list --upgradable
Proceed to upgrade any outdated packages using the following command.
sudo apt upgrade
Importing LaunchPAD PPA
First, install the required packages.
sudo apt install dirmngr ca-certificates software-properties-common apt-transport-https -y
For users who have not previously imported a GPG key from the Ubuntu keyserver, the command line terminal will often have issues importing GPG keys from LaunchPAD PPAs because the directories are not created. This is an easy fix. Use the following command that will, in turn, generate the directories.
sudo gpg --list-keys
This can be skipped, but if you encounter an issue, just run the command and re-try.
Next, import the GPG key needed for all the repositories.
sudo gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/woeusb.gpg --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys CEC312CC5ED8215A6E0EFC49B90E9186F0E836FB
gpg: keybox '/usr/share/keyrings/woeusb.gpg' created gpg: key B90E9186F0E836FB: public key "Launchpad PPA for tomtomtom" imported gpg: Total number processed: 1 gpg: imported: 1
The best method to utilize the APT package manager is to install the PPA by tomtomtom. Remember, match the command to the version of Linux Mint you are using, or the installation will likely fail with errors.
Linux Mint 21 Import WoeUSB import command:
echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/woeusb.gpg] https://ppa.launchpadcontent.net/tomtomtom/woeusb/ubuntu jammy main' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/woeusb.list
Linux Mint 20 Import WoeUSB import command:
echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/woeusb.gpg] https://ppa.launchpadcontent.net/tomtomtom/woeusb/ubuntu focal main' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/woeusb.list
Before you continue, run an APT update to reflect the newly imported PPA.
sudo apt update
Now install WoeUSB using either the GUI method or for users that want to install a CLI version; this is also included.
Install WoeUSB with GUI
sudo apt install woeusb woeusb-frontend-wxgtk -y
Install WoeUSB without GUI (Headless)
sudo apt install woeusb -y
How to Launch WoeUSB
Launching can be done in a few ways now that you have the software installed.
Launch Terminal WoeUSB
WoeUSB can be used in a headless server environment or desktop terminal as long as you can attach the hardware for it, such as the USB device. To open and find the commands to use it, use the following command to bring up the help menu.
The commands are pretty straightforward.
WoeUSB 5.2.4 Help Information ============================= WoeUSB can create a bootable Microsoft Windows(R) USB storage device from an existing Windows optical disk or an ISO disk image. Supported installation drive preparation modes ---------------------------------------------- Currently two creation methods are supported: ### `--device`, `-d` ### Completely WIPE the entire USB storage device, then build a bootable Windows USB device from scratch. WARNING: All previous data on the device will be gone! ```synopsis $ woeusb --device <source media path> <device> ``` ```example woeusb --device Windows7_x64.iso /dev/sdX woeusb --device /dev/sr0 /dev/sdX ``` ### `--partition`, `-p` ### Copy Windows files to an existing partition of a USB storage device and make it bootable. This allows files to coexist as long as no filename conflict exists. WARNING: All files that has the same name will be overwritten! ```synopsis woeusb --partition <source media path> <partition> ``` ```example woeusb --partition Windows7_x64.iso /dev/sdX1 woeusb --partition /dev/sr0 /dev/sdX1 ``` Command-line Options -------------------- ### `--verbose`, `-v` ### Verbose mode ### `--help`, `-h` ### Show this help message and exit ### `--version`, `-V` ### Print application version ### `--about`, `-ab` ### Show info about this application ### `--no-color` ### Disable message coloring ### `--debug` ### Enable script debugging ### `--label`, `-l <filesystem_label>` ### Specify label for the newly created file system in --device creation method Note that the label is not verified for validity and may be illegal for the filesystem ### `--workaround-bios-boot-flag` ### Workaround BIOS bug that won't include the device in boot menu if non of the partition's boot flag is toggled ### `--debugging-internal-function-call <function name> (function_argument)...` ### Development option for developers to test certain function without running the entire build\n ### `--target-filesystem`, `--tgt-fs <filesystem name>` ### Specify the filesystem to use as the target partition's filesystem. Currently supported: FAT(default)/NTFS
Launch Graphical WoeUSB
First, WoeUSB graphical UI can be launched using the following command.
Most desktop users may use the application icon to open WoeUSB, which can be achieved using the following path.
Taskbar > Administration > WoeUSB.
Once open, you can begin using selecting the disk image and installing it on your attached USB drive. The UI is very straightforward. For desktop users, I would suggest using this over the terminal.
Additional Commands & Tips
How to Update WoeUSB
The best method to ensure your WoeUSB is up-to-date is to open the command line terminal and run the following command.
sudo apt upgrade && sudo apt upgrade
The command will also ensure all other packages that use the APT package manager, including your system packages, are up-to-date. I suggest that users new to Linux run this command frequently to ensure your system works as intended, even if you have automatic GUI updates or notifications.
How to Remove WoeUSB
Use one of the following commands to suit the original installation method for users who no longer require the application.
sudo apt autoremove woeusb woeusb-frontend-wxgtk -y
Next, you should remove the PPA for users who will not use WoeUSB again.
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/woeusb.list
Installing WoeUSB on Linux Mint is a great way to create bootable Windows USB drives. The process is simple, and this method has many benefits, including the ability to package all of the needed files into one easy-to-use executable. I hope this tutorial helped demonstrate how to install WoeUSB utilizing a third-party PPA for more accessible future updates.