Sunday, June 12, 2011

Install Windows 7 from a bootable USB drive

There are times when it is more convenient to boot the Windows 7 installation from a USB drive rather than the DVD. For example, certain smaller form factor notebooks do not have DVD drives. The following steps allows one to create a bootable USB drive containing the Windows 7 installation content. This bootable USB drive can also be used to repair Windows in the event of software corruption. You will need a 4GB or greater USB drive and make sure the computer you wish to boot from the USB drive supports booting from USB.
  1. Format the USB drive in Windows (this step simply clears the contents of the drive)
  2. Click the start menu, type cmd.exe in the search box, and right click on it and select "Run cmd as administrator"
  3. Type diskpart
  4. Type list disk 
  5. Type select disk <disk number from the previous step>
  6. Type clean
  7. Type create primary partition
  8. Type select partition 1
  9. Type active
  10. Type format fs=ntfs
  11. Type assign
  12. Type exit
  13. Copy the entire contents of the Windows 7 installation DVD onto the USB drive
You have now created a bootable USB drive containing the Windows 7 installation. Give it a try by connecting the drive to a computer and booting the computer. Some computers in its default BIOS settings do not boot from USB. You may need to check your BIOS settings on how to enable this feature. Also, some computers at boot time require pressing a function key on the keyboard to select the drive from which to boot.

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