How to securely create a bootable USB drive from a possibly infected system?



  • I'm not sure about my system so I want to completely wipe my HDD and reinstall Windows 10. But I realized that an infected system can also infect a USB bootable drive. Unfortunately, I don't have access to a trusted system to create the USB bootable drive. I scanned my system with a couple of antivirus software (Malwarebytes, Windows Defender offline, Kaspersky, etc.) but still, I cannot be sure because of sophisticated malware, like rootkits.

    Any suggestions?



  • There is no foolproof way. Since you can't trust the system, you can't reliably verify the integrity of the image you will be using to create the bootable USB or, for that matter, of anything else. No matter what you do, it is possible for the malware to have interfered with it.

    You could, however, do something the malware would likely not expect. Like make a bootable USB for a lightweight Linux distro, boot live from it, and then make the Windows 10 bootable USB from the live Linux OS. It is quite unlikely for a Windows malware to infect Linux as well, but for that matter, it is unlikely for malware to infect bootable USBs in the first place.



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