WinUSB Exit Code Error

Problem

I was using WinUSB to create a bootable Windows USB disk. I chose the Windows ISO file and the USB thumb drive to write it to. I chose Install, WinUSB asked for my password and failed with this error: Exit Code: 256

Solution

The same procedure worked fine on one Ubuntu computer, but failed on another. This really puzzled me.

In any case, I ran the program from the shell with superuser permissions:

$ sudo winusbgui

This worked fine without any problem!

Tried with: WinUSB 1.0.11 and Ubuntu 15.10

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How to create Windows installer USB stick using WinUSB

A USB thumb drive with Windows ISO on it can be used to install Windows newly or repair an existing installation of Windows. Such a bootable USB stick can be created easily on Ubuntu:

  • Prepare the ISO of the version of Windows you want to install or use. For example, the Windows 10 ISO can be obtained here. If you are upgrading from a Windows 7 or 8, you can find out which version you are allowed to upgrade to here (check the Upgrade Editions section).

  • Note that common tools like Startup Disk Creator or UNetBootIn can only create installer USB sticks for Linux operating systems. They cannot be used for installing Windows.

  • An easy tool to create an installer USB thumb drive for booting Windows is WinUSB. It can be installed from a PPA:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
$ sudo apt-get update  
$ sudo apt-get install winusb
  • Plug in your USB stick and use this command to make it a Windows installer:
$ sudo winusb --format /path/to/windows.iso /dev/sdc

Use the path to your ISO file and the device name of your USB drive instead of /dev/sdc in the above command.

You should be able to boot up and install Windows using this USB stick.

Tried with: Ubuntu 16.04

Windows booting to black screen

Problem

I upgraded a notebook with Windows 7 to Windows 10. It was working fine. I did a Windows Update and noticed that it installed an updated NVIDIA graphics driver. After a restart, Windows would boot only to a black screen. The mouse cursor would be visible and could be moved, but nothing else was displayed on the black screen.

Solution

Solution that did not work: Many online solutions advise to press Space and enter password, just as if logging in blind. This did nothing on my notebook.

Solution that worked: The solution provided by Microsoft here worked for me with some changes:

  • Download the Windows 10 ISO from here.

  • Create a bootable USB stick from this ISO. I used WinUSB as described here to create this in Ubuntu.

  • Boot the computer using USB stick. Go to Repair your computer -> Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options. I did not get the Restart option given in the above guide. Instead I chose to restore from an earlier recovery point, which thankfully was present.

  • Windows 10 was restored back to the time before the update.

  • To prevent such problems in future, I disabled Windows from updating my hardware drivers as described here.