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Windows 7: Install Windows 7 TO (not from) usb flash stick

28 Mar 2010   #1

windows 7
Install Windows 7 TO (not from) usb flash stick

I have read a lot of threads in a lot of places of how to put Windows 7 on a flash drive to install 7 to a hard drive. But I want to install 7 TO a flash drive and run 7 right from the usb stick. Is this even possible? I already have 7 ultimate on a dual boot with XP, so the stick would be just for my backup computer which has only XP.

My laptop has Vista only but it will not boot from a usb stick so is it possible to run 7 on a stick even though it won't boot?

Also, can I run a virtual 7 on a stick? Or a virtual XP in a virtual program on a stick. Just basically because it is there, and I would like to learn how. I tried doing virtual XP on 7, but just can't get it going. I know it's me, just have to get the hang of it. Tried a couple of virtual programs, I need Virtual 101 for Dimmies :)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2010   #2

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Soahs,

Sorry, but Windows 7 cannot be installed onto a removable drive like a USB flash drive. It must be a internal HDD instead.

If you have enough room on the USB flash drive, you might be able to create the VHD (virtual machine) on the USB flash drive.

Windows Virtual PC - Create Virtual Machine

Hope this helps,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2010   #3


Requirements to install Windows 7 on USB:

# An USB flash drive with a minimum of 6 GB disk space to install Windows 7 or Vista. You can use a 4 GB drive to install XP.

# Bootable Windows 7 USB or DVD.

# Free time

So let’s begin with the installing Windows 7 on USB procedure:

1. First of all, connect your USB to the machine and backup all the data from the USB drive.

2. Download VirtualBox portable, double-click on the executable file and extract the contents to your USB.

3. Now, go to the VirtualBox portable folder in USB, and execute the Portable-VirtualBox (.exe) file.

4. From here onwards, you need to follow the onscreen procedure to create a virtual disk and install Windows 7 on USB. Follow the install Windows 7 on VirtualBox guide to complete the process or do the following:

5. Once you finish the installation process, you can safely close VirtualBox and remove your USB drive

6. You can now use this Windows 7 USB drive on any Windows machine that you want. To use Windows 7 on other machine, connect the Windows 7 USB, open USB drive, and run portable-VirtualBox file.

another method
Vista Installed on USB Hard drive - Vista Forums

More detailed

Neither of these methods actually boot from the USB drive, but do give the same end result, so far no one has shown how to make a bootable W7 OS that actually runs from the usb drive

My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Mar 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP


How fast does this virtual Win7 USB run?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2010   #5


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
How fast does this virtual Win7 USB run?

Never tried it, but I assume running any full OS from USB is going to be slow at best.

Really depends on how fast the usb memory is also.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2010   #6

windows 7

That sounds good then, if I can go virtual. I checked out the tutorial you gave, I might be able to handle that. I know there are several virtual machine programs, tried a couple and ended up at the black screen and came to a screeching halt. So maybe this tutorial might help. Would I have to create the virtual on the flash drive, or can I create it on the hard drive then move it to the flash. I ask because will things start looking for drive letters after I install it? Thanks for your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Install Windows 7 TO (not from) usb flash stick

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