Ubuntu – WoeUSB Error Code 256 with NTFS formatted USB


I tried to create a Windows 10 USB boot medium with WoeUSB. I formatted a USB drive with an NTFS partition, but WoeUSB complains with:

Installation failed!
Exit code: 256
Mounting source filesystem...
Error: File "/media/woeusb_source_1543626298_6098/sources/install.wim" in
source image has exceed the FAT32 Filesystem 4GiB Single File Size Limitation
and cannot be installed.  You must specify a different --target-filesystem.
Refer: https://github.com/slacka/WoeUSB/wiki/Limitations#fat32-filesystem-4gib-single-file-size-limitation for more info.
Unmounting and removing "/media/woeusb_source_1543626298_6098"...
You may now safely detach the target device

I've also tried to start WoeUSB via command line, did not work.

sudo woeusb --partition Win10_1809Oct_English_x64.iso /dev/sdb

My iso is located in:

Thanks in advance! I've been trying to get windows installed for three nights now, so any help towards that goal is greatly appreciated.

Best Answer

I tested the current woeusb from the PPA (running a persistent live Lubuntu 18.04.1 LTS), and the following command lines work for me.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install woeusb

sudo woeusb --target-filesystem NTFS --device path/windows.iso /dev/sdx

In my case the iso file was in /media/lubuntu/usbdata/images/ and the target device was /dev/sdb, but in your case check carefully that you will write to the intended drive (avoid destroying valuable data in some other drive),

sudo woeusb --target-filesystem NTFS --device /media/lubuntu/usbdata/images/windows.iso /dev/sdb

Notice that all partitions on the target device must be unmounted.

The created USB boot drive has a small FAT partition (for UEFI boot) and a big NTFS partition with the Windows files. It can install Windows both in BIOS and UEFI mode with woeusb (dated 2018-09-19 (Sept 19 2018) in the PPA).

Using NTFS makes it is possible to use file size > 4 GiB. The size of install.wim is

  • smaller than 4 GiB in some of Microsoft's own iso files, for example in

    • Win10_1809Oct_Swedish_x64.iso

      $ <<<'scale=3;4274234443/2^30' bc
      3.980                              # < 4 GiB
  • greater than 4 GiB for some iso files for particular computers, OEM, but also in several of Microsoft's own iso files, for example

    • Win10_1809Oct_English_x64.iso

      $ <<<'scale=3;4396229344/2^30' bc
      4.094                              # > 4 GiB
    • Win10_1809Oct_EnglishInternational_x64.iso

      $ <<<'scale=3;4386496792/2^30' bc
    • Win10_1809Oct_German_x64.iso

      $ <<<'scale=3;4401709065/2^30' bc
    • Win10_1809Oct_Spanish_x64.iso

      $ <<<'scale=3;4404104344/2^30' bc

There is also a GUI version woeusbgui. I don't think is has the option to create a target drive with a FAT file system for UEFI plus an NTFS filesystem, so I would recommend using the command line version woeusb.

Edit 1:

You can do it yourself with detailed help at


This method works in both BIOS and UEFI mode and also with secure boot. (But in most cases it should be possible to turn off secure boot, use the drive created by woeusb, and turn on secure boot again.)

Edit 2:

Thanks @John for your comment that there should be no space character in the source file name. If there is you can rename the file, and then woeusb works.

Thanks @qbit. This did not solve my problem but your idea of a parsing error helped me to realize that it does not like having a space in the source filename. That got me to move one step forward.

Edit 3:

There is a problem in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

$ LANG=C sudo apt install woeusb
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 woeusb : Depends: libwxgtk3.0-0v5 (>= 3.0.4+dfsg) but it is not installable
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

Until this problem with woeusb is solved, you can use mkusb-plug according to this link:


The tool mkusb-tow of mkusb-plug is now available also via dus (mkusb version 12.5.6). See this link

mkusb 12.5.6 with new installer for Windows

Edit 4:

A set of workaround commands for woeusb in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is described in the following link,

NTFS partition service issue with creating Windows 10 bootable USB on Ubuntu

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