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How to Boot and Install Windows from a USB Flash Drive

How to Boot and Install Windows from a USB Flash Drive

Handy guide to booting and installing the Windows OS with nothing more than a USB drive – no blank CDs or DVDs required.

To be honest this guide is the product of a recent inability to install Windows on a wiped HDD. I was given a PC tower as a gift, and it was stripped of the standard optical drives. All it has are several USB ports.

Now I could have bought a cheap CD or DVD drive online, but that would’ve taken all the fun out of it right?

The question is “How do I install Windows on a wiped HDD without a CD or DVD?” The answer is simple: Use a USB flash drive.

All this requires is a separate computer (with a USB port obviously), a USB flash drive with at least 4GB of memory (depending on Windows 7 or XP), a copy of Windows, and about 20 minutes of your time.

 

Rounding Up a Copy of Windows

Some may have their original copy of Windows available, and others may not. For the those that the former applies you’ll have a little bit of extra work to do.

Convert Copy of Windows to an .ISO File

You’ll need to create an image file of your copy of Windows to install on your formatted USB flash drive. I recommend using ISODisk. It’s free and easy to use. Just select “Create ISO Image from CD-ROM” (even if actually DVD-ROM), the letter drive, and lastly where you want to save the .ISO image.

 

If you don’t have a copy of Windows you can always find one on the Internets with this guide here.

Burn .ISO File to USB Flash Drive

For this I recommend using a free program called “ISO to USB.” Just select your .ISO file, the letter of the USB Drive, and select “Burn.”

Change the Boot Order

Okay, you’re almost done.

Put the USB flash drive in an empty USB slot and reboot the computer. When it restarts be sure to press whichever F key is required to enter your computer’s BIOS and change the system’s boot order. Reconfigure it’s boot order so that it first boots from USB.

Save and exit from BIOS

Your computer should automatically restart itself and boot from your USB flash drive.

It’s that easy.

Stay tuned.

[email protected] | @jaredmoya

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
gracemary
gracemary

if this procedure works, i will forever be indebted to this site

ashish0143
ashish0143

after click burn the message display invalid usb .

what can i do plz help me...?

noo oo
noo oo

And how do you do that? I mean how you install the boot system files. The windows XP or the Linux CD's are bootable CD's and a copy of their iso image on a USB drive should make them bootable as well, theoratically speaking. Thanks

anon
anon

I thought you had to install the boot sys files to usb in order to boot from usb?

noo oo
noo oo

I formatted it many time. It wont do the XP image giving an error after burning some of it (cannot format disk) but it burns the Ubunto Linux ISO image fine. The problem is when I try to load it thru the USB port thru BIOS setting asthe first drive on an IBM Thinkpad, it gives me "Disk Error". I am stumped. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks

noo oo
noo oo

I tried it with Windows XP. While burning tyhe ISO image to the USB it gives a "cannot format drive" error/ I can burn Ubuntu Linux but doesnt work with the XP Pro CD ISO image for some reasom. Any thoughts? Thanks.

ejonesss
ejonesss

you can do that with macs.instead of making an iso you can just use the restore function or if you have a drive cloner you can clone.

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

Id try reformatting the USB drive.



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