Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive

Windows 7, I’m sure you have heard of it by now. Already Microsoft has a new operating system, hopefully this one won’t be a disaster like Vista was. If you installed Vista or even later versions of XP from a DVD you know that it was very time consuming. Why not speed up the process by using a flash drive to install Windows 7. Windows 7 is currently in beta and Microsoft is offering it free to anyone to try out until August. In this article we will show you how to take the Windows 7 ISO and put it on a USB flash drive for fast and easy installation.

Ok so the first thing you are going to want to do is get the Windows 7 ISO. Microsoft is no longer offering it from their website, but there are sure a lot of other places you can get it at. Also if you have a Windows 7 DVD this guide will work with it as well. After you have the Windows 7 ISO you need to mount either burn it to a DVD or mount it. I had the ISO already so I just decided to mount it using Daemon Tools. Once it is mounted make sure you remember the drive letter.

Next we want to prepare our flash drive. The Windows 7 ISO is about 2.5GB so you will need a flash drive at least 4GB in size. I am using an 8GB flash drive I got from BFG during CES. Once you have your flash drive plug it into your computer and also make sure you remember the drive number. Now open up command prompt and type: diskpart

This will open up a new command window. No if you are like me you have many USB drives and card readers connected so you want to list your drives so you know what drive your connected USB drive is. To do that type: list disk

This will list all of your connected drives or card reader drives. Now identify your flash drive, for us it is drive 13.

Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive

Now select the drive by typing: select disk 13 Now run the following commands…

create partition primary
select partition 1
format fs=fat32

Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive

Now what we did there was create a primary partition on the flash drive, make it the active partition, and format it with the FAT32 file system. Simple enough right?

Now we have to copy the files from the Windows 7 ISO or DVD. So either put the DVD in the drive or mount the image you have. As I said before make sure you know the drive letters of your flash drive and of the DVD drive you are using. Now open command prompt back up and type in this:

xcopy j:*.* /s/e/f r:

Now in this sequence the J: drive is our mounted DVD drive and R: is our flash drive. The drive letters will vary for you of course. One you type the command in and press enter you will see all of the files being copied, just wait till it is completed and you will have a bootable Windows 7 flash drive!

Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive

There is one more thing you are going to have to do to get this to work. You are going to need to go into the BIOS of your laptop and make the first bootable device the USB drive. This was very easy to do on my Dell XPS M1210. After that you are good to go, so just plug in your flash drive and install Windows 7.

Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive Install Windows 7 From a USB Flash Drive

Not only is this method convenient (carrying a flash drive is better than a DVD), it is much, much faster than installing from a DVD. This guide not only works with Windows 7 but will also work for Vista as well. Hope this guide has made installing a new operating system easier, stay tuned for more Windows 7 related articles.

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