Sunday, August 22, 2010

Creating A Bootable Windows 7 USB Flash Drive

In this post, I am going to emphasize on how to create a bootable USB drive with the Windows 7 installer. It's a pretty simple and straight-forward process. There are several advantages of doing this -

  • Installing Windows 7 on computers without an Optical CD/DVD Drive. Many of the new laptops/desktops come without the CD/DVD drive. Using a bootable USB is very helpful here
  • Installing from the USB drive is typically faster than installing from a DVD drive
  • OS disc images (.iso, .nrg) need not be burned onto a CD/DVD to use them. You can make a bootable USB drive from the image and install the OS from the USB

There are two phases involved in the process - "Formatting the USB drive" and "Copying the installation files and making it bootable".

Formatting the USB drive

I am using the Diskpart command line utility in the following steps to format the USB drive. I guess even the Right-click and Format option can be used, but I haven't tried it. If you get into any trouble using the Format from the Right-click menu, put in a comment and I will look into it.

  1. Open the command prompt as an Administrator
  2. Start the DiskPart utility by typing in "diskpart". This will show a list of all the drives connected to the system. Identify the disk corresponding to the USB drive
  3. Select the USB drive using the "select ###" command
  4. Clean it using the "clean" command
  5. Create a primary partition on the USB using the "create partition primary" command. This is where we will be copying the installation files
  6. Select the partition using the "select partition 1" command
  7. Make it active by typing "active"
  8. Format the drive and create an NTFS filesystem on it using the "format fs=ntfs" command
  9. Assign a drive letter to the USB disk using the "assign" command
  10. Exit the DiskPart utility using the "exit" command

The USB is now formatted and is ready for the transfer.

Copying the installation files and making it bootable

The following steps are the crux of the process.

  1. Insert the Windows 7 DVD
  2. Navigate to the boot directory of the DVD
  3. There is a utility "Bootsect" which comes bundled in the Windows 7 DVD. This does the entire work for us
  4. Run the utility from the command line and specify the drive letter of the USB drive. bootsect.exe /NT60 X:
  5. The utility adds the appropriate boot-code to the USB drive
  6. Copy the contents of the DVD onto the USB drive

That's it, reboot the system, make sure that the USB boot is given the highest priority and the installation starts.


Anonymous said...

nice information....

Anonymous said...

Good one !!

Anonymous said...

Gautam Nice one, Try to bring more like these

Plastic USB said...

thanks buddy its really a good explanation how can we install window 7 from DVD.

DVD Printing said...

Hi all,

The USB flash drive has replaced the floppy disk drive as the best storage medium for transferring files, but it also has its uses as a replacement for CDs and DVDs. USB drives tend to be higher in capacity than disc media, but since they are more expensive, they cannot really be used as a replacement. Thanks for sharing it......

Brandon Hudson said...

I like your style of writing. You break it down nicely. Very informative post. Keep up the good work.

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Naviya Nair said...

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