Install Windows 7 via USB

I like installing Windows from USB. It just installs so much faster, and let’s face it. What’s cooler than having your Windows install on your thumbdrive?! I use a 32GB flash drive, so a few gig off the top to have Windows 7 install at the ready is worth the tradeoff.

The first step is to prepare the thumbdrive for use. We want to make sure it is formatted and prepared properly. To do this we will use the disk partitioning command line tool. It’s fairly easy, I’ve explained briefly what each command does under the step, but if you don’t care about that just pay attention to what’s in bold font.

  1. Begin copying the files from your Windows 7 disc to a folder on your desktop, such as “Win7″.
    We will need these files later in the process, and it might take a few minutes for them to copy from the disc.
  2. Run CMD as an Administrator (Start –> cmd & Right Click Run As Administrator).
  3. Type: diskpart and press enter.
  4. Type: list disk and press enter.
    This will list all the drives on the computer. Note the number associated with your flash drive.
  5. Type: select disk # (where # is the number associated with your flash drive) and press enter.
  6. Type: clean and press enter.
    Removes any existing partitions from the flash drive.
  7. Type: create partition primary and press enter.
    Creates a new primary partition.
  8. Type: select partition 1 and press enter.
    Uses the newly created partition.
  9. Type: active and press enter.
  10. Type: format fs=ntfs and press enter.
    Formats the flashdrive using the ntfs file system. This may take a few minutes.
  11. Type: assign and press enter.
    Gives the flashdrive a drive letter, note the letter it assigns, we will need it later.
  12. Type: exit and press enter.
    Exits the diskpart utility.
  13. Type: cd %userprofile%\Desktop\Win7\boot and press enter.
    Puts us in the Windows 7 boot directory.
  14. Type: bootsect.exe /nt60 L: (where L is the letter associated with your flash drive) and press enter.
    Makes the drive a bootable device.
  15. Once that command has finished, copy the files from in the Win7 directory to your flash drive.
  16. You’re ready to use the thumbdrive to boot into the Windows 7 install!

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