You can install Windows 10 from a wide range of external media. Keeping a backup copy of Windows 10 on a USB flash storage drive is useful. But what if you need a copy of Windows 10 when you’re out and about?
In that instance, you could install Windows 10 direct from your Android smartphone via the DriveDroid app. Here’s how you set up DriveDroid, then install Windows 10 from your smartphone.
What Is DriveDroid?
DriveDroid is an Android app that allows you to mount an operating system disc image and make it act as an installation media, such as a bootable USB flash drive or CD/DVD-ROM.
You can use DriveDroid to install a wide range of operating systems. It is commonly associated with Linux distros, but you can also use it to install Windows 10.
Important: DriveDroid requires Android root access.
Rooting is a process that gives you privileged access to the device. It allows an app more control and access than a standard app. Rooting is similar to jailbreaking an iOS device.
You can ask if rooting is still useful for Android devices. However, as you’ll see from this tutorial, there is definitely some use!
If you want to root your Android smartphone, check out our guide on the best way to root your Android device. In my experience, Magisk is the easiest method to rooting your device—but you’ll need to take a system backup before committing because the process potentially involves wiping your device.
How to Install Windows 10 From Your Android Device with DriveDroid
If you don’t have root access on your Android device, the rest of this tutorial will not work properly. DriveDroid requires root access on your device to mount the Windows 10 ISO properly. You’ll also need root access if you want to install a different operating system, such as a Linux distro.
From here on in, this tutorial assumes your Android device has root access.
0. A Note Before You Install DriveDroid
Unfortunately, the DriveDroid app is no longer being actively updated. Recent reviews on the DriveDroid Google Play page reveal that potential DriveDroid users using recently released smartphones running recent versions of Android are struggling to get DriveDroid up and running properly.
For example, on 27 July 2022, user Swaroop Ghimire wrote:
This app really needs an update. It says no hosting device which is an error for latest devices, but it works on my old Android phones
The long and short of this is that you can still attempt this tutorial, but there is a chance that it might not work with your Android device—you have been warned!
Furthermore, rooting your device can have other consequences, such as some apps failing to work post-root. You could attempt to trick apps into thinking your Android is not rooted, but there is no guarantee that it will work.
1. Download the Latest Version of Windows 10
To install Windows 10 from your Android device, you’ll need a copy of Windows 10. The Windows Media Creation Tool is the easiest way to download the latest version of Windows 10.
Head to the Windows 10 software download page and select the Download tool now.
- Open the Windows Media Creation Tool.
- Select Create installation media for another PC, then create your Windows 10 ISO settings.
- If you’re creating a backup ISO for the PC you’re using, you can Use the recommended options for this PC.
- Press Next, then let the process complete.
After the Windows 10 ISO finishes downloading, you need to copy it onto your Android smartphone in an easily remembered folder. It is best to copy the files to your Android using a USB cable, as you will also require an active connection for the rest of the tutorial.
2. Download and Configure DriveDroid
Download and install DriveDroid.
Open DriveDroid. The app will immediately request root access, which you should Grant.
Configure the Image Directory. The Image Directory is the folder where you store your disc images (ISOs), such as the Windows 10 version you copied to your device.
During the DriveDroid initial setup, you will select a default folder, but you can change this later.
Download: DriveDroid for Android (Free)
3. Test Your DriveDroid USB Settings
DriveDroid will now test the USB connection settings for your Android device. DriveDroid needs to handle the USB connection as a mass storage device, allowing it to mount your Windows 10 ISO as a bootable image.
Follow the steps with the help of the screenshots below:
For most users, the
Standard Android Kernel
is the correct option. Select the first option, then press
. Wait for the DriveDroid test file to appear as a mountable drive.
If the device doesn’t appear in your File Explorer, select Choose a Different USB System and try again.
When you cycle through the three basic USB settings and the DriveDroid test file does not appear, don’t worry.
Adjust DriveDroid USB Options
You can modify the DriveDroid USB options from the main page.
Select the Gear icon in the top-right corner, then scroll down. Next, select USB Settings > Manually Change USB Mode > Mass Storage, then Confirm.
4. Mount Your Windows 10 ISO in DriveDroid
Now, you need to mount the Windows 10 image. Depending on the default image folder option, the Windows 10 ISO might already feature on the DriveDroid main page.
If not, select the Gear icon in the top-right, then select Image Directories.
Press the red icon in the bottom corner. Now, browse to the folder containing your disc images and provide access when requested.
Select the correct directory from the Image Directory, then head back to the DriveDroid homepage.
Next, select the Windows 10 ISO, then Host image using CD-ROM. A small disc icon should appear on the disc image, indicating it is mounted and ready to go.
Using a USB cable, you need to connect your Android device to the PC you want to install Windows on. The PC should be switched off, to begin with. Connect the USB cable and your Android device to the computer.
When you switch it on, you need to enter the boot menu using the dedicated shortcut. For most PCs, the boot menu shortcut is F8, F11, or DEL, although it does vary between manufacturers.
When the boot menu loads, scroll down to find the DriveDroid option, named something similar to Linux File-CD Gadget. Press Enter.
The Windows 10 installation screen will now load, and you can install a clean version of Windows 10 on your computer.
Install Windows 10 From Your Android Smartphone on Any Computer
Once you have the Windows 10 ISO and DriveDroid setup on your Android device, you’re good to go. The only significant downside to the DriveDroid installation method is that your Windows 10 ISO will eventually become outdated.
When that happens, you’ll have to download the latest version, then copy it across to your Android device to use with DriveDroid.
DriveDroid is a handy app to keep close by. You can use the app to even boot your PC directly over a USB cable using any ISO or IMG file stored on your phone.