HOW TO: Install Windows 7 from a USB stick

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  1. Posts : 49
    Windows 7 7100 RC 1, Windows Vista 64, Windows XP, MAC OS X 10.5.5

    HOW TO: Install Windows 7 from a USB stick

    This might have been covered earlier, but I guess a fresh post would be in order as many of you have recently acquired a beta product key and the latest ISO image of Windows 7. This guide is good if you want to install to a netbook or laptop that doesn't have a CD-ROM or if you'd like to get a speedier install on your desktop PC :)

    See also: USB Windows 7 Installation Key Drive - Create

    1. Download the latest ISO image of Windows 7
    2. Use MagicISO or any other SW that can read and extract the contents of the ISO.
    3. Extract all the files to a folder of your choice ( ex. C:\Win7). If you use MagicISO you'd want to right click on the ISO file and then select "Extract to..."
    4. attach a USB stick of at least 4 GB size
    5. Select "Start->Run..." and type "cmd.exe"
    6. At the DOS prompt type " diskpart"
    7. type "list disk"

    You will now see a list of all installed hard drives and any attached USB drives, please make sure that you select the correct disk at the next step. If you select the wrong disk you will loose any data on that disk and potentially erase your entire system. Be double sure you know what you're doing before continuing!

    For the rest of this guide I will assume that my USB drive is "Disk 3" and that I've extracted the ISO to e:\

    Now, continue to type, in sequence, at the diskpart prompt (without qoutation marks):
    8. "select disk 3"
    9. "clean"
    10. "create partition primary"
    11. "select partion 1"
    12. "active"
    13. "format fs=fat32"
    14. "assign"
    15. "exit"

    You should now have a clean and bootable USB drive :) Now we need to get the Windows install files on to the USB drive:

    16. At the DOS prompt type "xcopy e:\*.* /s/e/f f:\" ( in this set of commands we assume that your USB drive is mounted as F:\ )

    That's it! Safely unplugg your USB drive and boot your netbook/laptop/desktop from it. The install we be done in no time...

    I've used this method to install WinXP, OSX and Win7 on my netbook that. It should work with any CD/DVD based installation.

    Happy hunting!
    Last edited by Brink; 01 Aug 2009 at 13:07.
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  2. Posts : 174
    Vista X64 ultimate/ 7 X64 Ultimate (7264)

    I tried this once or twice and it didn't like me so all i do is format the stick like above then just highlight the files in my Win 7 dvd and copy them over to the usb like normal..

    Also if you've got an asus board just press F8 at boot and select the usb from the list..
    No need to go into the bios and change anything :)
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 1,009
    Windows 7 RC 7100 32bit/64bit

    Hello Mindstorm...

    I use the same method myself for months...

    One question though:

    Have you managed to make ONE stick with all 3 installations of Vista, OSX, and Win7? That's what I'm working on now..
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 1,009
    Windows 7 RC 7100 32bit/64bit

    Found it!!! That's why I spent hours in vain... You cannot have 2 installations of Vista and/or Win7 on the same partition...We must have 2 partitions on the USB stick for that to work!


    Whoever is interested, take a look here...

    How to install from USB- WinSetupFromUSB with GUI - MSFN Forums
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 8,476
    Windows® 8 Pro (64-bit)

    in this tutorial, can anyone tell me if its ok to directy copy the extracted files to the usb drive instead of "xcopy e:\*.* /s/e/f f:\" ?
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  6. Posts : 4,573

    dinesh said:
    in this tutorial, can anyone tell me if its ok to directy copy the extracted files to the usb drive instead of "xcopy e:\*.* /s/e/f f:\" ?
    Actually, the xcopy command line is sloppy. /e includes /s.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 8,476
    Windows® 8 Pro (64-bit)

    Hell yeah, i directly copied the files to usb drive without any commands. Now i m ready to restart my pc and boot with usb drive. Lets see what happens.
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 39
    Windos 7 FtW

    All i do is use ImgBurn And put all the files on my Ipod and Just run setup.exe Works like a charm..
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 10
    Windows 7 (6.1) Ultimate Edition (Build 7600)

    you don't need to extract the files from the disk image, you could actualy mount it with virtual clone drive (or any DVD emulation software) and select that partition as the source drive.
      My Computer

  10. Posts : 1
      My Computer

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