How-to install Windows 7 from an USB stick

By | March 5, 2009

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Why install from an USB stick?
You can easily install Windows 7 the default-way (from a bootable dvd), but why choose for the easy way if you can install it from an USB stick. If you want to install Windows 7 on a netbook probably the only way to install it is via an USB stick. I really prefer install Windows 7 from a DVD, because you don’t have to burn another dvd when a new build arrives :-). Another thing to choose for an USB installation : You can easily add additional files (or installations) to your usb stick, as long there’s space enough!

What do I need?
There are just three things you need:

  • PC with USB boot-support (just a modern pc that is)
  • Windows 7 installation files
  • USB stick with at least 4 GB free space

What steps do I need to follow?
Just follow the steps below to create your own bootable Windows 7 USB stick.

  1. Plug in your USB
  2. Open Command Prompt with admin rights (Start –> enter cmd –> press CTRL-SHIFT+ENTER and just click Yes at the UAC prompt
  3. Run Diskpart by typing diskpart and press enter image
  4. Now type List disk (and press enter). My USB stick is Disk 9 in the screenshot below. Just enter the next commands (from step 5) where I assume that your usb stick is also Disk 9. If your USB stick is Disk 2, just use Disk 2 instead of my Disk 9! image
  5. Enter the following commands just one by one, each followed by Enter:
    • Select Disk 9
    • Clean
    • Create Partition Primary
    • Select Partition 1
    • Active
    • Format FS=FAT32 (depending on the size of your USB stick this can take a moment)
    • Assign
    • Exit
  6. Now copy the entire content of your Windows 7 DVD (or Windows 7 source folder, if you extracted the ISO) to the root of your USB stick. At the end you should see the following content on your USB stick.
    image
  7. Now we still have to make the USB stick bootable.
    Note: If you are currently running a 64-bit OS and the source (on the USB stick) is 32-bit, you can’t run the following command. Just be sure the source (on the USB stick) and the currently running OS are of the same type!
  8. In the Command Prompt (which you didn’t close, I hope) type P: (followed by Enter)
    Where P: is the drive letter of your USB stick!
  9. Type CD\Boot followed by Enter
  10. To create a bootsector on the USB stick now enter Bootsect /NT60 P: followed by Enter.
    image
    When you receive a message which looks like mine (in the screenshot above) then you can boot from your USB stick.
  11. Reboot your pc and change the boot order (in the BIOS) if needed, so the USB stick is first in the boot order.

  • Atle

    I guess that about, let’s say, everyone forgets mentioning that this guide will only work in Windows Vista,? and not XP?

  • Atle

    I guess that about, let’s say, everyone forgets mentioning that this guide will only work in Windows Vista,? and not XP?

  • http://blog.hznet.nl/ Helmer

    Hmm….Windows XP…..XP…isn’t that the operating system from a while back? ;-)
    Just kidding! Sorry..I’m only running Windows 7 at the moment (and before that Windows Vista…since ehh..oktober 2006)…

  • http://blog.hznet.nl Helmer

    Hmm….Windows XP…..XP…isn’t that the operating system from a while back? ;-)
    Just kidding! Sorry..I’m only running Windows 7 at the moment (and before that Windows Vista…since ehh..oktober 2006)…

  • Ovidiu

    On my Vista x64 machine, most of the commands from step 5 need to be typed using capital letters, otherwise they don’t work.

  • Ovidiu

    On my Vista x64 machine, most of the commands from step 5 need to be typed using capital letters, otherwise they don’t work.

  • cm256

    Would this also work to install windows xp from the usb stick? Has anyone tried it?

  • cm256

    Would this also work to install windows xp from the usb stick? Has anyone tried it?

  • http://blog.hznet.nl/ Helmer

    I know it works with Windows Vista and Windows7, i’m not sure if it works with XP. Why don’t you give it a try? :)

  • http://blog.hznet.nl Helmer

    I know it works with Windows Vista and Windows7, i’m not sure if it works with XP. Why don’t you give it a try? :)

  • Dylan

    Yes this works with windows XP I did it 2 times and both times it worked =D

  • Dylan

    Yes this works with windows XP I did it 2 times and both times it worked =D

  • Tristan

    Was surprised I was able to mount the ISO on a virtual CD drive and install through xp
    it did work , but it did take a while end to end

  • Tristan

    Was surprised I was able to mount the ISO on a virtual CD drive and install through xp
    it did work , but it did take a while end to end

  • http://blogger.xs4all.nl/vads Vitor

    I’m using XP. Diskpart doesn’t show my USB-drives; only my two internal harddrives. Any workaround for this?

  • http://twitter.com/Lothinator Lothinator

    It would have been nice to put the caveat about not being able to make a 32 bit source bootable from a 64 bit OS at the BEGINNING before steps had been completed prior. Many of the devices people will be doing this for are netbooks, and not all of them have 64 bit capability.

  • ZH

    Thanks so much for this article! It's great! Fantastic if you want to install Windows 7 on a netbook, and you don't have the ISO file but a normal DVD.

  • Bakkiepleur

    Im running a 32bit windows 7 van i install a windows 7 64bit using this way?

  • http://www.resumewritingservice.biz//home/premium-resume-writers/ resume writers

    It’s quite a complicated way to do this. I’d rather recommend using UltraISO to write an .iso image to a USB stick

  • http://onlinediscprinting.com/ CD Printers

    Thanks for sharing this very awesome guide.

  • http://JustLikeAMagic.com Mohammad Elsheimy

    This article is so GREAT, although it’s somewhat complicated, but it’s easy to follow and apply. Thank you very much. I’m going to do a fresh copy today to start the new year with a fresh Windows :D :)

  • http://www.americanrecordablemedia.com/ CD DVD Printer

    Wow this was great! Having a windows 7 OS on a USB is such a good idea.

  • http://www.fairingkits.org/ducati-fairings.html ducati fairings

    Nice post Rajesh. Been looking for this step by step method. Keep up the good work!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5SXHAMSIS3EJLCPC4SGY7XJJOY Vadim

    How to open command promp in my new pc, which is running freedos?

  • Alexa_shupy

    From the tutorial i understand that i Can´t install a 64 bit from a laptop with the 32 Bit? my DVD broke.