How to Install Windows 7 from a USB Drive

#22
Hi, Hope you'll forgive the newbie questions. I have Windows 7 running on my primary desktop computer and its wonderful! I'd like to also install it on my netbook, but having never tried to make a bootable USB, I'm a little lost. I've formatted the flash drive as NTFS. I'd like to mount the .iso to the flash drive using Magic Disk (unless someone can recommend better free software!). When I try to navigate to the .iso on the install DVD that I used to install Win 7 on my desktop computer, I don't actually see any .iso files If I look at all files (regardless of type), I see the setup, etc., but nothing that would seem to be the .iso. Any suggestions? Thanks much. Best, Lisa
Hi Lisa, If you already have a DVD created from an .iso ( I assume you do since you are running Win 7 already) then all you have to do is point to your DVD/CD drive. Follow the directions in this tutorial exactly (click the link below)

BTW: the .iso everyone is talking about is the large ~2.5 GB file you dowloaded and used to create your install DVD.
It has the file extension .iso.

Loading... <<<<link

This method is simpler and doesn't use bootsect which didn't work for me.

Below is a clearer and even more simplified synopsis of the above linked tutorial.

First plug in your USB flash drive (at least 4GB)

next open an elevated (admin) command prompt and type

diskpart

This will start the diskpart program and open a new prompt in your command prompt window.

type

list disk

this will list all your drives including the USB drive you have plugged as well as their respective sizes in GB. Make note of the number associated with you USB drive.

next type

select disk x

where x is the number of your drive as determined by the previous command.

next run each of the following commands one at a time.

clean

create partition primary

select partition 1

active

format fs=fat32

assign

exit


The command to format will take awhile depending on you drive size as the format is a complete format and not a "quick format"

After exit command open My Computer and make note of the drive letters for your CD/DVD drive and the drive letter of your USB drive.

Now insert the install DVD you used to install Win 7 on your present system and if you have auto play enabled close the install window that will open up.

Now run this final command.

xcopy x:*.* /s/e/f y:


Where x is your DVD drive letter and y is your USB drive letter.

Note: creating a USB installer from a DVD will take much more time than creating one from a mounted (raw) .iso because A DVD drive is slower than using a mounted .iso which is basically running on you much faster hard drive.

Wait for the work to finish and voila you should have a bootable Win 7 USB drive installer.

If your netbook can indeed boot from a USB drive then choosing that option should result in you booting
to the install routine.

The install will be much quicker (about 30-40% quicker) than a comparable DVD install, again because USB drives are quicker than most CD/DVD drives.

Good luck and enjoy Win 7.
 


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#23
Another method, worked for me.

Loading...

Used VirtualCloneDrive to mount .iso makes creating the install device quicker.

SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive

Probably don't need to remind anybody here but you can't create a Win 7 install USB flash drive from XP, only Vista and Win 7.

NOTE: this method doesn't use bootsect.

And My dear fellow How do you Mount the Virtual ISO from the BIOS to be able to do a CLEAN install via Bootup.

Cheers
jimbo
 


#24
And My dear fellow How do you Mount the Virtual ISO from the BIOS to be able to do a CLEAN install via Bootup.

Cheers
jimbo
I'm sorry, I guess I didn't make this too clear. When you install VirtualCloneDrive you are creating a "virtual drive"
on you system that you can mount .iso images to. You can then open the image as though you had burned it to a DVD.
What I was talking about is using the mounted image as a source of the files needed to create the bootable USB thumb drive installer using the instructions in the tutorial I linked to at the beginning of my post. The mounted .iso takes the place
of the DVD you would burn from the .iso if you wanted to install from a DVD.

The mounted is only a temporry source of the files needed and can be and should be unmounted after sucessfully creating your bootable USB thumb drive installer.

You install from the USB thumb drive the same way you would from a DVD drive. That is you plug the prepared drive into a USB port before booting your computer and instruct your BIOS to boot to that device instead of your hard drive, floppy or optical drive. This of course is dependant on your BIOS being able to boot from an external USB device.

In most cases newer (2-3 years) computers are capable of booting from a USB device.

With my machine I have two choices, if I hit the F2 key during P.O.S.T. I can get into my BIOS and change the boot order to allow booting from the USB device. The other option I have available to me, and the much handier one, is a feature I can turn on in my BIOS that allows me to hit F12 during P.O.S.T. and bring up a small menu from which I can choose to boot from the hard drive, Optical drive or any USB device I happen to have plugged in at the time. This doesn't change the boot order in the BIOS but allows me to specify what device I want to boot for that time only. Very handy. I'd be willing to bet a lot of modern BIOS's have a similar feature.

I hope this helps clarify things.

BTW you did see the link to the tutorial, it explains things much better than I can.

Loading... <link

To sum up you are right that mounting the .iso in Windows using any kind of mounting program like VirtualCloneDrive
only allows access to the mounted .iso while Windows is running.

You are only mounting the .iso so it can be used as a source of files used to create your bootable USB installer.

The other method is to create "burn" a DVD with the .iso and use the resulting DVD as a source of files for creating the USB installer.

Of course it takes time to create a DVD, using a mounted .iso eliminates the middleman so to speak.

The other big advantage to using a mounted .iso as a source for the Win 7 install files is that when you use a mounted .iso
you are installing the files from a virtual DVD/CD, this is really your harddrive, which is much faster than any optical drive.

Creating the USB drive installer is much quicker as a result.


BTW, I don't think I like the way this Forum software does links.

If I post a link here it doesn't post the whole URL but creates a link like the one above (loading...) which isn't as apparent as a link as the whole URL.
 


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Lisa

Senior Member
#25
Hi all, Thanks so much for all of your great suggestions! I managed to figure it out and am now happily running Windows 7 on my ASUS 1000H! It runs beautifully! Best, Lisa
 


#26
Bootable USB drive for windows 7 can't be used with Windows XP ? Is it so ???
 


#27
Bootable USB drive for windows 7 can't be used with Windows XP ? Is it so ???
I tried making an XP bootable installer using the instructions for Win 7, no dice, wouldn't boot.
 


#28
Great! Thanx for sharing the tips.
Install from a porable disk seems more faster esp. when extracting files
50% save up mostly
 


#29
Want to turn your Windows installation DVD into an installation flash drive? WinToFlash can do that and more.

The process is simple and mostly obvious. You tell WinToFlash where the installation files you want to transfer are located and either let the transfer wizard take care of things, or specify settings like what kind of format the flash drive will undergo. In our test using a USB 2.0 generic flash drive it took about 12 minutes to turn a Windows 7 installation DVD into a USB-based installer.





Read on>>
 


#30
Faster way to tnstalls windows 7 from a flash drive

Note: Back up the files from your USB drive, as it WILL get formatted in this process and all data on it will be lost!

Run CMD.EXE and type the following. Note: This set of commands assumes that the USB flash drive is addressed as "disk 1". you should double check that by doing a list of the disks (type "list disk") before cleaning it. If you have multiple hard drives, like an SDFlash drive or a Multibay drive, you could end up wiping your second drive using this command.
(This was a warning that Josh added to his post along with the following commands that I copied from him, so kudos to Josh)
1. diskpart
2. select disk 1
3. clean
4. create partition primary
5. select partition 1
6. active
7. format fs=fat32 quick
8. assign
9. exit
10. Copy Windows 7's DVD ROM content to the Flash Drive
11. Set the boot priority to boot the USB drive first.
12. Install Windows 7.
Enjoy! :D
 


#31
Still not working

I prepped the usb drive as outlined in the initial post. I am trying to do a clean install of Windows 7 to a computer with no OS on it right now. I have two SATA drives in a RAID 1 array. Using the USB device is the *first* time I've been able to get past the cd/dvd driver error. However, when choosing Custom (or the other option, doesn't matter which), the installer fails to locate my disk(s). The only available options are to cancel or go through the prompt asking for drivers!! Any suggestions? Do I have to get rid of the RAID setup??
 


#32
i have been trying this with the build 7600 but it doesn't boot hence everything appears to be fine,i did that with XP and RC but does;nt work with RTM , any thoughts!!!
 


#33
No no no!!!

I struggled my b@tt of using this method...

I found this one... It works perfectly & you don't have to worry about going into run & writing a bunch of commands. This program does everything for you!!!

IT WAS SO SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

check this:Installing Windows 7 From USB Drive 3 Steps Easy Process - My Digital Life Forums


This is the best way... I promise you...

PS - i had the same problem intsalling the 7600... it worked perfectly... i'm actually working from windows 7 now!!! YEY

 


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#34
I struggled my b@tt of using this method...

I found this one... It works perfectly & you don't have to worry about going into run & writing a bunch of commands. This program does everything for you!!!

IT WAS SO SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

check this:Installing Windows 7 From USB Drive 3 Steps Easy Process - My Digital Life Forums


This is the best way... I promise you...

PS - i had the same problem intsalling the 7600... it worked perfectly... i'm actually working from windows 7 now!!! YEY

that worked a treat,thank you mate!
 


#35
Cool Stuff
 


SyK

New Member
#36
I did steps 1 to 6 , but used WintoFlash software to do the rest. Its a nice little software that just do the rest of the work for you. You simply mount the iso, and in the GUI of WintoFlash, point what drive is the windows, what drive is your USB drive, and thats it; ready to reboot.

Also took me about 10 min max.

I will surely buy a new little USB drive and store it with my Old DVD as backup in case i need to reinstall. It will all be ready and waiting.
 


#37
Even better way - just 1 click

I struggled my b@tt of using this method...

I found this one... It works perfectly & you don't have to worry about going into run & writing a bunch of commands. This program does everything for you!!!

IT WAS SO SIMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

check this:Installing Windows 7 From USB Drive 3 Steps Easy Process - My Digital Life Forums

This is the best way... I promise you...
Here is the the way I do it with just 1 click:

http://windows7forums.com/blogs/tblount/61-install-win-7-bootable-4gb-usb-drive-1-click.html
 


fjgold

New Member
#38
Have you actually tried this method. Unetbootin is for linux LiveCD's etc.
It doesn't work for me with Win 7 RC. The files load properly but the drive won't boot.
I have the boot order correct and it works fine with the Windows command line method outlined earlier.
I have sucessfully created Linux Live CD's with unetbootin but as I said before unetbootin isn't designed to create
Win 7 installers.
 


#39
It works flawlessly

Have you actually tried this method. Unetbootin is for linux LiveCD's etc.
It doesn't work for me with Win 7 RC. The files load properly but the drive won't boot.
I have the boot order correct and it works fine with the Windows command line method outlined earlier.
I have sucessfully created Linux Live CD's with unetbootin but as I said before unetbootin isn't designed to create
Win 7 installers.
YES... it works perfectly.
When I switched from RC to the final 7600 and did a clean install on a new hard drive... I did it from the usb... and it was twice as fast as a disk since a usb read performance is about 5 times faster than dvd driver. I know it's at least twice as fast because I've done it both ways.
 


fjgold

New Member
#40
YES... it works perfectly.
When I switched from RC to the final 7600 and did a clean install on a new hard drive... I did it from the usb... and it was twice as fast as a disk since a usb read performance is about 5 times faster than dvd driver. I know it's at least twice as fast because I've done it both ways.
Well a unetbootin created USB drive installer won't boot for me.
No big deal. The command line method works fine and I don't have an issue using the command line to create the installer.
I too have tried installing Win 7 using both DVD and Usb drive and I agree it is much faster.
26+ minutes for the DVD versus 16 minutes for the USB drive.
 


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