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Windows 7: How to install Win7 FROM a hard drive???

18 Jan 2010   #1

How to install Win7 FROM a hard drive???

I see all kinds of websites that tell you how to install Windows 7 from a USB stick, or how to make an install DVD with the latest security updates slipstreamed in. But it seems to me that what would REALLY make installing faster is to install from a second hard drive, instead of a DVD or USB stick.

I've tried looking for instructions on how to set up a hard drive so that I can install Windows FROM it, rather than TO it, but I haven't been able to find anything useful. It seem like it should be easy --- hard drives are bootable (duh), and I have a bunch of old drives that are too small to be useful now -- 40 GB or so, while my main drive is now 2TB. But a 40GB drive would easily hold the Windows install files and any extra utilities I might need, and it would be a lot faster than a DVD or USB stick.

I tried just copying my install DVD to an empty drive and booting from it, but as I expected, it didn't work. I would bet that all I need is a 4K bootstrapping program of some kind, but danged if I know where to find it.

Can anyone tell me how to do it, or direct me to a website that tells how? Thanks for any help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2010   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Tip: make your PDC 2008 (or any) USB hard drive a bootable Windows 7 install disk – istartedsomething

If you are having trouble getting it to start installing , use

bootsect /nt60 <targetdriveletter:> [/mbr]

bootsect is in the installation media - in the Boot folder.

You can run it from cmd prompt off the dvd :

>dvdriveletter:\boot\bootsect /nt60 <targetdriveletter:>[/mbr]

Or you can copy it into Windows\System32 on your existing Vista/7 install and run command prompt.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2010   #3


Thanks for the link; making the partition very small and formatting it to FAT32 did the trick for me. I wouldn't call my experiment a rousing success, though.

It DID install much faster. The file copy stage took no time at all, and the expand stage seemed much faster to me.

But instead of just installing it to my target drive, it set up a boot menu where my target drive is the boot drive, but my install drive is my system drive. Not what I want at all.

I was able to fix it by copying all the boot files it would let me to the target drive (it won't let me copy the BCD), and then disconnecting the install drive and doing a repair from the DVD. I imagine that I could set up bat file with some BCD edit commands to make it faster and more elegant, but it still seems that it takes more of MY time to do this way, even if it saves clock time, so I'll just stick to the DVD for now. I may revisit this if MS comes out with an SP1 or something that makes slipstreaming more attractive.

Thanks again for your help; I'd buy you a beer if I could for your help on this and the Paragon board.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Jan 2010   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

You're welcome.

Have fun.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to install Win7 FROM a hard drive???

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