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Installing Windows 7 via USB flash drive!

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by kyle2020, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. kyle2020 Guest

    Alright guys, heres a quick, easy way to make your USB thumb / flash drive capable of installing Windows 7, cutting out the need for a disc!

    First off, you need a 4GB or higher capacity flash drive - ill be using my 8GB Freecom drive, as its the largest I own.

    So, to kick things off, we need to open the command line, or cmd.exe for vista users using the search feature

    [​IMG]

    Then we need to start up DiskPart, simply by typing "diskpart" and hitting enter:

    [​IMG]

    We will the need to find the discs available to be used by DiskPart - to do this we type "list disk"

    [​IMG]

    So now we have a table of available drives - disc 0 in my case is my samsung spinpoint and disc 2 my thumb drive - you will need to figure out which is your USB drive by the size table.

    Next, we need to select that disc by typing "select disc #" - the hash being the number of your drive - in my case, I would enter "select disc 2". Then, after the drive is selected, we need to type "clean"

    [​IMG]

    DiskPart will scrub the chosen drive clean for us, ready for the windows install files.

    However, before we learn to run we must crawl - to do this we simply type "create partition primary" - this will format the disc, making it usable for our purpose

    [​IMG]

    We then enter "active"

    [​IMG]

    And heres the bit that requires a bit of typing. You will now need to type "format fs=fat32 quick" to format the drive as fat32, making it bootable so that we can install our OS from it

    [​IMG]

    Our second to last step simply involves typing "assign"

    [​IMG]

    And then, finally, no more than 5 minutes down the line, we copy and paste all the OS files - in my case, im copying all the files from my copy of Windows 7 build 7068 (thanks alex :D) to the drive

    [​IMG]

    After setting the primary boot media to your USB drive in your bios, your all set!

    Advantages?

    1. Faster installation times

    2. No use of discs! saves money and reusable time after time!

    3. Takes no more than 5 minutes to set up, so time effective in comparison with burning a disc.

    4. Silent install. No disc spinning up. No annoyance. Do it whilst your sleeping for all I care :toast:

    5. Did I mention there's no cost of discs involved?! :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2009
    CrAsHnBuRnXp says thanks.
  2. alexp999

    alexp999 Staff

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    Is it that easy?

    Does the BIOS just pick up the same Boot image as if it were a CD?

    Damn thats simple if it works...
  3. kyle2020 Guest

    yes and yes :D

    Obviously just set your bios to boot from the drive first.
  4. alexp999

    alexp999 Staff

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    Why is it so complictaed to make a bootable USB normally then?

    All you are basically doing is formatting to a format the BIOS can read, and shoving all the CD files onto it.

    Will have to give it a go when I get the RC of Win 7.

    Also would it not be easier to just right click on the drive in my computer, click format, and set the file system to Fat32?
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2009
  5. kyle2020 Guest

    No idea mate, you can probably use that hp drive utility for this, but the command prompt feels so much more genuine, as if its really doing its job, you know?

    I dont think you can format drives to fat32 that way, you can select it but I think that the command prompt way makes it so that it acquires the actual bootability (lol, making up words now).

    Try it, it honestly works, and no more annoying half a million RPM disc spinning up installing neither. Just silence :D
  6. alucasa

    alucasa

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    Well, it is easy now since all recent BIOS supports USB boot option. But this feature was very buggy even a few years ago.

    Nowadays, even my mini-ITX boards supports USB booting.
  7. kyle2020 Guest

    All I had to sort it in terms of problems was changing my bios not only to boot from that USB drive, but making it so that the USB drive was set as "Hard disc drive #1" so it looked there straight away.

    Had no problems, booted as far as language selection.
  8. Polarman

    Polarman New Member

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    I'll try this out during my next Vista install.
  9. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    Thanks for this guide, been trying to figure how to do this. But like you said I think the HP util would work.

    If you set it to format then select the bootfiles option then use that option to drop all the windows folders on there. But I been too lazy to try.
  10. DaMulta

    DaMulta My stars went supernova

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  11. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    Ok someone want to explain this? I put the USB stick gf's comp restart it and it doesn't find it. It should list it as an HDD, but it doesn't. I restart and try f8 to get the boot options and it doesn't show it.
  12. DaMulta

    DaMulta My stars went supernova

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    Do you have it formatted in NTFS, can her machine boot off of USB?
  13. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    I'm not sure if it can, how would I find out. It's an old AM2 PcChips mobo thats in it right now. I also got a Asus M2V-SE sitting here, but wouldn't think it would be any diff since both cheapo AM2 boards.

    But yeah it's been formatted.

    Think I'm gonna do it with the HP util quick see maybe if that works.
  14. DaMulta

    DaMulta My stars went supernova

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    In BIOS you should see it as a boot device.
  15. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    Yeah, I wasn't seeing it. Formatting it as NTFS right now and going to try it in a few min.
  16. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    Stuck the Asus Mobo back in, installing win 7 build 7077 as we speak, guess the PcChips couldn't boot off USB.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
  17. Polarman

    Polarman New Member

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    You should mention that after completing the "ASSIGN" part, you can type "EXIT" to quit Diskpart.
  18. oli_ramsay

    oli_ramsay

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    Gonna try this method in a min when build 7077 finishes downloading. I remember having issues booting from USB device on this board in the past, i.e. it wasn't showing up in the BIOS at all. Hope this works :D
  19. technicks

    technicks

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    I tried this on two Windows 7 builds and it works like a charm. Very fast.
    I believe it was something like 15/20 min to install.
  20. kyle2020 Guest

    It is fast, took me roughly 20 minutes from start to desktop.
  21. oli_ramsay

    oli_ramsay

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    Just finished installing 7077 x64 using this method and it worked very well! Bit slow though but that's due to my cheap/old ass 4GB mp3 player :D Well at least I saved a DVD!
  22. kyle2020 Guest

    haha, a DVD lives to be scratched to bits another day :D

    Its damn fast on a decent memory stick. That said, I saw an ad in CPC that are selling 16GB Cruzr's for £17 . . .
  23. Hayder_Master

    Hayder_Master

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    rally useful tread kyle2020
    thanx
  24. kyle2020 Guest

    Cheers :toast:

    Tried to make it as easy as possible to follow, seems like I achieved that :)
  25. Hayder_Master

    Hayder_Master

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    yeah you do, good work :toast:

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