>How to Install Windows 7 or Vista from Bootable Portable USB Flash Memory Key or Hard Disk Drive
How to Install Windows 7 or Vista from Bootable Portable USB Flash Memory
Key or Hard Disk Drive
There are situation where a PC computer that end-user wants to install
Windows 7 or Windows Vista to does not have a DVD optical drive. It's also
possible that user just doesn't want to waste any piece of DVD media disc to
install Windows 7 or Vista on another remote computer, where it's possible
to install with Windows 7 or Vista ISO without burning to DVD
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file is saved.
If it's impossible or cannot install Windows 7 or Windows Vista from a DVD,
it's possible to install the operating system from a USB portable hard disk
drive, or an even smaller USB flash drive or memory pen key or thumbdrive.
By using USB hard disk or USB flash drive as the Windows Vista or Windows 7
installer, it provides an added advantage of easier to bring around. Beside,
installing Windows 7 or Windows Vista from a USB memory key or USB external
hard disk drive (which is even faster), is faster than installing from a
The procedures to prepare an external portable USB hard disk or USB flash
key involve making the USB flash drive or hard disk bootable
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Windows 7 installation setup files over, which detailed in the guide below.
Prerequisites in order to have the ability to use USB flash drive or
portable hard disk to install Windows 7 or Vista:
1. The destination or target computer motherboard must support boot up
via USB device. This support can be checked via BIOS.
2. A USB flash memory key drive capacity with 4GB of free space or
more. Portable external hard disk should also fulfill this requirement.
3. Windows Vista ISO image or Windows 7 ISO image.
4. Existing computer running Windows Vista or Windows 7.
Preparing and Formatting USB Flash Drive or Portable Hard Disk
Format the USB hard disk or flash drive in NTFS file system format with
Windows Explorer built-in Format utility, and then use Disk Management
(diskmgmt.msc) to mark the partition as active.
Description: Mark Partition as Active
It's also possible to use "diskpart" command-line utility with the following
1. Open a command prompt with administrator
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2. Run Microsoft DiskPart utility with the following command:
3. Identify the number (Disk ###) of the USB device drive with the
Typically, if you only have one physical hard disk with no other USB drive
plugged in, the USB flash or hard drive will be Disk 1.
Tip: If you have partitioned the USB hard disk or flash memory key, use list
volume instead to select the volume number, and see the tip of next step to
deal with the partition only.
4. Format the USB drive with the following commands one by one.
Remember to replace the # with the actual disk number shown in step above.
Important: The following steps will erase ALL data on the USB flash drive or
select disk #
create partition primary
select partition 1
Note: If there are error while creating primary partition, just add
size=4000 (representing 4.0GB, replace with your USB drive actual size) to
the end of the "create partition primary" command, making it create
partition primary size=xxxx.
Tip: If you have partitioned the USB hard disk or flash pen drive, and do
not wish to reformat the whole drive, use select volume # instead to select
the partition to make active, where the volume number is determined from tip
section of above step. Then, skip the first 4 commands above, and continue
from active and format fs=NTFS (can be skipped if the partition already
5. Do not close the command prompt window yet, which may be needed in
the next few steps.
Make the USB Flash Drive or External Hard Disk Bootable
There are plenty of ways to make a disk bootable, among them is using
bootsect utility that comes with the Windows 7 and Windows Vista
installation DVD ISO or disc.
1. Insert the Windows Vista or Windows 7 DVD disc into DVD drive. If
you only have a DVD ISO image, mount it in a virtual CD/DVD-ROM drive
powered with a virtual drive program
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as physical CD/DVD drive, but virtually in the operating system only and
allowing various CD or DVD disc images to be mounted and accessed
2. At a elevated command prompt with administrator
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directory to the OS DVD's boot directory with the following command:
Replace x with the actual drive letter of the CD/DVD drive.Description:
Install Windows 7 or Vista from USB Flash Drive or Hard Disk
3. Use bootsect command to install boot instructions and set the USB as
a bootable NTFS drive:
bootsect /nt60 y:
Replace y with the actual drive letter of the USB flash drive or hard disk.
4. Close the command prompt.
Tip: If you have disk image utility such as WinISO or PowerISO, it's
possible to use the software to write the complete Windows 7 and Windows
Vista ISO image into the partition you selected. In this case, this and next
steps of making USB drive bootable and copying contents over can be
Copy and Transfer Windows Vista or Windows 7 Installation and Setup Files
from DVD to USB Drive
Use Windows Explorer to copy all content from the Windows 7 or Windows Vista
DVD or ISO t the USB flash drive or external USB hard disk. It's possible to
use other file copy tool, or simply extract the ISO contents to the USB
drive. As an example, use the following xcopy command to copy the contents
of DVD to USB.
xcopy x:\*.* /s /e /f y:\
Where x: is the drive letter of DVD disc or image, and y: is drive letter
path of USB drive.
The USB flash key or USB hard disk based Windows 7 or Windows Vista
installer is now ready. In order to start installation, just go reboot the
targeted PC, and then enter and access BIOS
ress-to-access-bios-for-various-oem-and-computer-systems/> . Change the boot
priority from hard disk or DVD to USB. Then, insert the prepared USB hard
disk or USB flash drive into the computer's USB port, and start the computer
to boot up.
Tip: Above trick works for both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) Windows Vista
and Windows 7. However, for user with 32-bit OS, but want to create a 64-bit
Windows 7 or Vista USB based installer, it's impossible to run 64-bit
bootsect.exe from 32-bit environment. In this case, just use a 32bit Windows
7 ISO or Vista disc to use the bootsect command, before copying the content
of 64bit Windows 7 or Vista DVD to USB drive.
Tip: There is now easier way to create a bootable Windows 7 installation USB
drive with Windows 7 DVD/USB Download Tool