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Use a USB key to install an operating system

Installing an operating system from a USB drive bring several advantages: USB drivers are small, USB drives transfer data quicker than CDs, and they are generally more convenient. In this guide, you’ll learn how to install Windows 7–or any operating system–from a USB thumb drive.

UPDATE: You can download the RTM versions of Windows 7 Ultimate, Professional, and Home Premium here (64/32-bit available.)

Preparing Your USB Drive

To prepare your USB drive, do the folllowing:

  1. Use a thumb drive that you don’t mind deleting everything from
  2. Press WINKEY+R to Open the Run dialogue (Start, type run, click run)
  3. Type diskpart and hit Enter (If you don’t have diskpart, get it here)Use a USB key to install an operating system - 2
  4. Run the list disk commandUse a USB key to install an operating system - 3
  5. Run select disk 3 where the “3” is the corresponding number of your USB driveUse a USB key to install an operating system - 4
  6. Run cleanUse a USB key to install an operating system - 5
  7. Run create partition primaryUse a USB key to install an operating system - 6
  8. Run active to make the partition activeUse a USB key to install an operating system - 7
  9. Run format fs=fat32 quick to format the drive as Fat32Use a USB key to install an operating system - 8
  10. Run assign to give the drive a letterUse a USB key to install an operating system - 9

Putting Windows 7 Installation Files on a USB Drive

This guide will show you how to do put the Windows 7 Installation files on a USB drive; however, this method can be applied using an operating system’s installation files.

To put the operating system’s installation files on a USB drive, do the following:

Using the Install DVD

  1. Put the installation DVD in your DVD drive
  2. Open Computer, right click on the DVD drive and click Explore
  3. Select all the files (CTRL+A) on the DVD and copy them (CTRL+C)
  4. Paste (CTRL+V) the files on the previously-formatted thumb drive

Using an ISO Image

  1. Locate the ISO file
  2. Open the file with a utility capable of browsing ISO images (7 zip works well)
    1. Download 7zip and install it
    2. Right click the ISO file and select 7-Zip > Open Archive
  3. Extract the contents of the ISO to your previously formatted hard drive

Installing an Operating System from a Thumb Drive

To install an operating system from a thumb drive, follow this guide:

  1. Load the operating system installation files on to your thumb drive (see above)
  2. Shutdown your PC
  3. Turn on your PC and press F8/ESC (they key used to select your boot menu)
  4. Select USB drive (or similar description) and hit Enter
  5. Install Windows 7

If you need more help installing Windows 7, a comprehensive guide is available in Windows 7 – The Pocket Guide.



About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

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Comments

26 thoughts on “Use a USB Key to Install Windows 7 (Or any OS)”

  1. Dani says:

    Very handy I will sourly use this…

  2. Dani says:

    Very handy I will sourly use this…

  3. Dani says:

    Very handy I will sourly use this…

  4. Joe Russell says:

    Pretty interesting. Could be used for pretty much any OS you use a CD to install.

  5. Pretty interesting. Could be used for pretty much any OS you use a CD to install.

  6. Pretty interesting. Could be used for pretty much any OS you use a CD to install.

  7. Beowülf says:

    Schweet. I’ve been trying to find this kinda info some few months back. Now I’m definitely giving it a go!
    thanks

  8. Beowülf says:

    Schweet. I’ve been trying to find this kinda info some few months back. Now I’m definitely giving it a go!
    thanks

  9. Beowülf says:

    Schweet. I’ve been trying to find this kinda info some few months back. Now I’m definitely giving it a go!
    thanks

  10. Wasiq says:

    Please help me out on this,
    When I open diskpart and type list disk.
    USB key doesn’t detect. What should I do?

    I am using Intel D865 with 2.8 Ghz Processor.

  11. Wasiq says:

    Please help me out on this,
    When I open diskpart and type list disk.
    USB key doesn’t detect. What should I do?

    I am using Intel D865 with 2.8 Ghz Processor.

  12. Wasiq says:

    Please help me out on this,
    When I open diskpart and type list disk.
    USB key doesn’t detect. What should I do?

    I am using Intel D865 with 2.8 Ghz Processor.

  13. Shelly says:

    Minty, thank you. You are amazing. I am in process of copying files over to the formatted thumb drive. I found the Windows 7, 7zip file and anytime now I should be loading Windows 7 from the thumb. Too bad all people weren’t as kind as you.

  14. Shelly says:

    Minty, thank you. You are amazing. I am in process of copying files over to the formatted thumb drive. I found the Windows 7, 7zip file and anytime now I should be loading Windows 7 from the thumb. Too bad all people weren’t as kind as you.

  15. Shelly says:

    Minty, thank you. You are amazing. I am in process of copying files over to the formatted thumb drive. I found the Windows 7, 7zip file and anytime now I should be loading Windows 7 from the thumb. Too bad all people weren’t as kind as you.

  16. Pawan says:

    I have tried this method for WINDOWS XP sp2 for my notebook but this is not booting the system. please tell me does this work for xp as well or not?

  17. Uvais says:

    any special recruitment for pen-drive and usb port

  18. Mimkall says:

    These instructions fail if you use usb HD larger than 32GB! Do not try!

    1. Rich says:

      Thanks Mimkall. At what point does it fail? Maybe we can figure out a work around.

  19. my acer aspire 5810tz-4761 laptop crashed and is showing status message: Oxc000000f
    it says it will not boot becuz a required device is inaccessible.  windows 7 came pre-installed, though i do have a product key, i do not have the disk to recover. how can i download it onto a disk or jump drive without buying it again? or any other way to get laptop running again before i go back to school! thanks a million
    ~mariha

    1. Thomas says:

      Hi,
      can you write down the exact error message, and post it here ?There are several ways to recover your computer depending on the exact error message you get.

      on a general notice, if your computer came with windows pre-installed there are a hidden partition on your computer that contain the full windows setup-files. But of course you need to be able to boot the computer into safe-mode at least, to access it. Are you able to boot into safe-mode ?

      But lets start off with the exact error message.

    2. UVAIS says:

      Remove all USB device(pendrive) from laptop & boot again .
      Try to boot in Safe mode Press ‘F8’ to enter in safe mode.
      Or start a new Topic @ Forum
      http://forum.mintywhite.com/

    3. UVAIS says:

      Remove all USB device(pendrive) from laptop & boot again .
      Try to boot in Safe mode Press ‘F8’ to enter in safe mode.
      Or start a new Topic @ Forum
      http://forum.mintywhite.com/

    4. UVAIS says:

      Remove all USB device(pendrive) from laptop & boot again .
      Try to boot in Safe mode Press ‘F8’ to enter in safe mode.
      Or start a new Topic @ Forum
      http://forum.mintywhite.com/

Comments are closed.


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