Install Windows 7 from USB Drive?

October 9, 2010

To do away with extra weight and to make netbooks/notebooks thinner, manufacturers are coming up with models that do not contain an optical drive. So, what to do if you have one of these and want to reinstall or upgrade your OS? Well how about creating a bootable USB drive! There are two perquisites for this process.

First, you need a 1 GB or more USB drive, and second, you need OS installation files (CD/DVD or .iso image). Start by plugging in the USB drive and then open command prompt (run command prompt as an administrator). Write ‘diskpart’ and hit Enter. This will open a new command prompt window. In this window, type ‘list disk’ and then note down disk number of your USB drive (disk 1). Next, run the following commands in sequence:

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

Once you have assigned a drive letter for your USB drive (i: in this case), open a new window for command prompt. Insert Windows DVD in an optical drive or mount an image of the same in a virtual drive (f:), and run the following commands:

cd boot
bootsect.exe /nt60 i:

Copy all files from Windows installation media (DVD) or image on the USB drive (i:). Now you can use this drive to install Windows on any machine. Simply change the boot sequence of the machine you plan to install Windows 7 on to USB and off you go.