This will quickly run through the steps necessary to create a bootable USB to install Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2. Most likely adaptable for Windows Vista & Windows Server 2008 as well.
Required to proceed
- USB Flash Drive (4.5GB+).
- Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2 installation medium.
- Computer already running Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2.
Step 1 – Formatting and creating a boot partition on the USB flash drive
- Plug in your USB Flash Drive.
- Open a command prompt as administrator (Right click on Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator”.
- Find the drive number of your USB Drive by typing the following into the Command Prompt window, “diskpart”.
DISKPART> list disk
The number of your USB drive will listed. You’ll need this for the next step. I’ll assume that the USB flash drive is disk 1. Format the drive by typing the next instructions into the same window. Replace the number “1” with the number of your disk below.
DISKPART> select disk 1 DISKPART> clean DISKPART> create partition primary DISKPART> select partition 1 DISKPART> active DISKPART> format FS=NTFS QUICK DISKPART> assign DISKPART> exit
Your drive is now formatted and marked bootable.
Step 2 – Copy the files from the Windows 7/Windows 2008 R2 ISO over to the USB stick
Start up cmd.exe again or use Windows Explorer to perform the same action. I prefer robocopy for this. Drive D is the mounted ISO image. Drive E is the bootable USB stick.
robocopy D:\ E:\ /MIR
/MIR :: MIRror a directory tree (equivalent to /E plus /PURGE).
Step 3 – Make the USB flash drive bootable
- Insert your Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2 DVD into your drive.
- Open a command prompt as administrator (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator”.
- Change your directory to the DVD’s boot directory where bootsect.exe is located.
E: cd E:\boot
Use bootsect to set the USB as a bootable NTFS drive. I’m assuming that your USB flash drive has been labeled disk E:\ by your computer.
bootsect.exe /nt60 e:
You can now close the command prompt window.
Step 4 – Use the USB flash drive to install your chosen operating system
Now you can either enter the BIOS commonly by pressing “F2” on boot and choose “USB HDD” as your first boot medium. Or press “F12” and select the USB flash drive interactively.
At this point you can run through the installation as you ordinarily would.