Window Media Creation Tool 8gb Error

Well, in a twist of fate that I am still bemused by, I am in Microsoft-land now and this fact has led me inevitably to my first Windows install since about 2008.  It went pretty well, except that I didn’t have the recovery key for the previous installation, so had to do a scratch install.  You’d think it would be easy, since they give you a tool that does all the hard work! All you need is a USB drive of at least 8gb to become the installation media.

But then you put in your larger-than-8gb USB drive and the program says “Your USB must be at least 8gb!!”.   You reformat, you think “Maybe I need FAT32”, etc.  No luck.  All roads lead to the mysterious 8gb error, even when your USB drive is empty and large.

So you look online, and the forums say “you ALSO need 8gb of space on your regular hard drive”, so you go look and you have hundreds of gigs of space on your C: drive.

But here’s the thing.  You may have hundreds of gigs of space on your hard drive, but you may not have permission to write to the one little spot that the Windows media creation tool needs.  So, if you are getting the 8gb required error using the Windows media creation tool, it could be because the machine you are using to create your image is hardened in such a way that you can’t write to the C: drive no matter how much space you have.

The workaround?  Easiest is to find two USB drives that are at least 8gb.   Mount them both, copy the Windows installation media file to one and run the windows media executable from that drive.  Specify the other drive inside the tool, and presto change-o, you’ll get a bootable Windows installation drive out of it.