This guide has step-by-step instructions on how to make sure Vista and Windows 7 install from a USB drive. I’ve tried many using “Install Vista from USB guide” but after downloading Windows 7 beta, the usual Kurt‘s method did not work for me , giving me some error stating there’s a partition boot error. I found a method which worked for Windows 7 so time to share! ^_^
Stuff we need
- USB Pen Drive! or USB hard drive (at least 4gb)
- The windows image file (duh!)
- A motherboard supporting bootable USB drives (even my 4 yr old comp has it)
- A cup of coffee.Go to top
Why not DVD?
If you’re just the average user, installing for a dvd is just fine, but when installing Windows on multiple computers, it’s going to be annoying because the time spent waiting isn’t worth it. Installing via the USB 2.0 drives are so much faster than DVD’s and that’s my way to go from now on. Of course, keep the good ol’ DVD in case of emergency. I’ve cut down installation times from 40 mins to around 20 mins on my loyal AMD Opteron rig.
1. Plug in your USB pendrive. You’ll see something like this in your My Computer
(i’m using an external 40gb usb drive, taken from my PS3 xD)
2. Format the usb drive from cmd.
- From Start Menu > Run > type “cmd”
- make sure you have Adminstrator rights!
3. Next we type in the set of commands. I will assume your USB drive is DISK 1. (Don’t know which disk? Read here)
- Type DISKPART
- Type SELECT DISK 1
- Type CLEAN
- Type CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
- Type ACTIVE
- Optional, you might this if can’t format. Type SELECT VOLUME #, just type LIST VOLUME beforehand
- Type FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK
- Type ASSIGN
- Type EXIT
Now you’ll be back in CMD not DISKPART. Don’t exit CMD yet.
4. Extract or mount the image file, or insert the Windows DVD into your optical drive.
- If you have a Windows 7 or Vista DVD then insert into the drive and note the Drive letter
- If you have the image file then mount it or extract it.
- I have mine extracted into a folder on my C:
I’m going to assume your DVD drive is E: and USB drive is F:
- Type E: CD BOOT
- Type CD BOOT
- Type BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 F:
If you’ve extracted to a folder on your computer, the command is the same except;
- Type CD C:\Foldername\
- In my example is CD C:\Windows7\
5. Copy the Windows files content into the USB pendrive.
- Type XCOPY E:\*.* /s/e/f F:\
If you’ve extracted to a folder on you computer like me, then;
- Type XCOPY C:\Foldername\*.* /s/e/f F:\
Okay, now the USB drive is bootable!, make sure to change your motherboard’s boot sequence, usually press DEL, F1 or ESC at the bootscreen! Good luck!
When entered DISKPART, you might have many hard disk installed.
- Type ”LIST DISK”
- Look for the correct disk size to decide which Disk is your USB drive.