Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Make bootable flash drive to install Windows 7/8 from DVD/ image file

In this tutorial, I am considering that you want to install a (genuine) copy of Microsoft Windows 8/7 or Vista operating system into your computer, be the installation a fresh one or done after formatting the hard disk. Also I assume that the copy of Windows is not corrupt and has all the relevant files in appropriate state.flash_drive

After reading this, you will be able to install Windows 7/ Vista through USB flash drives from image file of the OS and without even requiring DVD drive.

Step 1: What do you require?


> USB Flash Drive (4GB+)
> Microsoft OS Disk or image file(Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8)
> A computer running Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8


Step 2: Format the Drive

We are using command line to format the flash drive properly using diskpart utility.

[Important: Formatting will erase all your data in the flash drive.]

> Plug in your USB Flash Drive
> Open command prompt as administrator (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator” by right clicking it. )
> Find the drive number of your USB Drive by typing the following into the Command Prompt window:

list disk

The number of your USB drive will listed. You’ll need this for the next step.  I assume, the USB
flash drive is disk 1.
> Format the drive by typing the next instructions into the same window. Replace the number “1” with the number of your disk below.

select disk 1
create partition primary
select partition 1
format fs=NTFS

When that is done you’ll have a formatted USB flash drive ready to be made bootable. You just converted the file format of your USB flash drive from FAT to NTFS.

Step 3: Make the Drive Bootable

Next we’ll use the bootsect utility that comes on the Vista or Windows 7 disk (we have the image file here) to make the flash drive bootable.

> If you have the image file ready, then proceed to next point. Otherwise, insert the OS DVD into your drive, and copy the files to a specific folder that contains no other material. Using an image file processing tool like MagicISO or PowerISO, add those files and save as an image file with “.iso” extension. This is very easy, you can do it seeing the toolbars.

> Now using some image mounting software like MagicISO or PowerISO, mount the Windows 7/ Vista image file in your computer to a virtual drive. The software will make the virtual drive for you. Just carefully note down its drive letter. I’ll assume it to be H:\.

> In the same command window that you were using in Step 2:
Change directory to the Windows image file’s boot directory where bootsect lives:

cd h:\boot

Use bootsect to set the USB as a bootable NTFS drive prepared for a Vista/7 image. I’m assuming that your USB flash drive has been labeled disk G:\ by the computer:

bootsect /nt60 g:

You can now close the command prompt window, we’re done here.

Step 4: Copy the files to the USB drive

The easiest way is to use Windows explorer to copy all of the files in the image file (.iso file) on to the formatted flash drive. You can copy the files from DVD, or the drive with mounted image file or the image file opened in MagicISO/ PowerISO.  After you’ve copied all of the files the disk you are ready to go.

Step 5: Set your BIOS to boot from USB

This is where you’re on your own since every computer is different. Most BIOS’s allow you to hit a key at boot (F12 for example) and select a boot option.

Step 6: Rendering your USB flash drive it’s original state


Okay, now that you are done with installing a nice copy of Windows into your PC through USB flash drive, you can plug in the device and do a full format as you normally do by right-clicking and selecting appropriate options.