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Install Windows 7 from a USB drive the very easy way

The fastest way to install windows 7 is from a bootable usb drive. You can cut the install time down to around 15 minutes compared with 30-40 via DVD if you use a fast drive.

People still asking me to explain what is the best way to do this as many of the guides online are too complex, or require third party software which doesn’t always work as they supposed to.

With this BootableUSB guide all you need to ensure is that your motherboard supports USB booting, and this is a common feature now for most of the computers.

Today I am going to publish a step by step guide which works perfectly and doesn’t require any additional tools – I have been doing it for some time now to create bootable Windows install drives.

You need to get hold of a fast USB 2.0 flash drive. It doesn’t need to be 32GB or bigger,however, all you need is a 4GB unit. The faster it is, the better.

What you need:
– Windows 7 DVD install disc or ISO image
USB Drive (4GB+ and as fast as you can get)
– Running Windows Operating system
– Working set of hands and eyes
– A few minutes of your life

Plug in your USB drive in the USB port:

Usb Drive Plugged

Before going any further, make sure you have removed any important files on your drive to a safe location, what we are about to do next is to erase the entire contents of the drive.
Insert your DVD of Windows 7 into the computer, but don’t start the normal install process.
Open your ‘My Computer’ and make a note of the drive numbers of both the USB drive and the DVD drive with Windows 7 files on it.

Usb And Computer Drives

 

As you can see from the image above, the DVD drive is drive has letter D assigned and the USB drive is E.
Open the command prompt with admin rights. Type cmd in Start menu search box and hit Shift+Ctrl+Enter.
To keep things really easy, if you see text in upper case, it means this is what you type into the command prompt (you don’t need to type in upper case).

cmd-prompt-usb-bootable

 

Next type

DISKPART

this loads the diskpart application we need to proceed

Then type

LIST DISK

the image above shows our 32 GB USB drive is listed as DISK 2

so you have to type

SELECT DISK 2 (your USB Drive may have a different number, don’t follow exactly this text it depends on your usb drive)

You will get a successful response “Disk 2 is now the selected disk”

Clean Cmd USB Drive

Next we want to clean the USB drive

Type:

CLEAN

you will get a successful response ‘DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk”.

Clean USB Drive

 

After the drive is cleaned follow the list in the image above (detailed below in list order) – you can also note the successful text responses from the OS as you enter each command.

SELECT DISK 2 (or what number your USB drive has)

CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY

SELECT PARTITION 1

ACTIVE

FORMAT FS=NTFS

Formatting can take a little time depending on the size of the drive, our 32GB unit took about 10 minutes to format - you will see a percentage readout until it is finished.

Bootable USB Final Cmd Prompt

Next type:

ASSIGN

EXIT (DISK PART will exit)

Type D: CD BOOT (substitute the “D” if necessary with the letter of your Windows 7 DVD drive)

then key

CD BOOT

then

BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 E: (substitute the “E” if necessary with the letter of your now ready USB drive) – we are telling the system to create a boot sector file on the USB drive.

Now you can exit the command prompt and copy all the files on the Windows 7 DVD to the USB drive.

Once this step is finished you’ll be ready to boot from this drive, all you need to do is configure your motherboard bios setup to boot first from USB rather than hard drive or optical drive. If you don’t know how to do this, refer to your specific motherboard manual or search the internet.

Now, Windows 7 installation should take between 40% and 60% of the time it does from the DVD disc.

Last step: Drink a cup of tea, from now on you can do this again and again :)

562 Comments

  1. Bahen ke laude Teri wajah se meri pen drive kharab ho gayi madarchod.

  2. After converting fat32 to ntfs formet and sending cmd F: CD BOOT and then BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 H: (according my drives letter )its show ‘bootsect’ is not recognise as an internal or external command operable program or batch file please help

    • download the bootsect.exe file from net and paste it into the windows fo;der. also dont forget to start cmd as admin.

  3. The process is now running.
    I have only one problem “after formating with above commancd 14 pd shows only 11 gb free. How can i restore the total volume, if I successfully Installed by USB.”

  4. Dear Sir,

    We are very thankful to you for your support on making pendrive to bootable & to install Win7 from it.

    Hope, you will post such procedures in future also.
    Wish you all the best in your upcoming life.

    Thanks a lot.

  5. Dear Sir,
    We are very thankful to you for your support on making pendrive to bootable & to install Win7 from it.
    Hope, you will post such procedures in future also.
    Wish you all the best in your upcoming life.
    Thanks a lot.2

  6. got an error while giving command bootsect.exe/nt60 h: as
    “could not map drive partition to assosiated volume device objects:
    access is denied”
    while i am using usb of 8GB

    • Hi.
      I get that message too. And the memory stick is not lokced and the security settings are correct – and I’m able to copy files to it.

      “Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.

      Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects:
      Adgang nµgtet.”

      Any advice what to do?

      • Sounds like a session permission problem.

        When using the CMD utility, make sure that it runs with administrator privileges.
        Windows like to launch programs without admin rights.

        You can see if CMD is running with administrator privileges in the window-bar, to the left.

        If it doesn’t say, it is not running in admin mode.

        Right click on the program when you have typed cmd in the “start-search” bar and “run as administrator”, or something like it.

      • I got the same error as I was typing e: for my usb.. when I checked again the drive letter was changed to g: .. hopefully its the case for typically this error.

  7. I upgraded to win10 from 8 , wanna go back to 7, i got uefi bios , do these steps apply for uefi as well cose i read somewhere that u need fat32 format for uefi.

  8. BHOSDE KE YE KISNE GYAN DIYA H , YE ADHURA H

  9. TJANK YOU. MAY GOD BLESS YOU. YOUR ARTICLE REALLY HELPED ME OUT. IT WORKS VERY WELL.

  10. BUT CAN THIS PROCESS WORK ON ALL VERSIONS OF WINDOWS OS?

  11. thank you for this!!

  12. if the win7 is in a file on pc can i do it from there ?

  13. my dvd Drive is not working ..how do i assign and create a boot sector file on the USB drive.

  14. Almost worked, but I had to make some changes. Thanks for a basic outline to get me started. My problem was I’m installing Windows 7 on an old Balance Netbook. Installation media is on DVD, but the laptop will not boot from DVD no matter what (only CD will boot). The next problem is (even after a BIOS update) the laptop would not boot from a NTFS usb key, or a FAT32 key. Only a basic FAT usb key would work up to 2 GB. Needless to say I was limited to just a WinPE/RE environment booting from a 256MB FAT formatted usb key. I did not need to use bootsect.exe either, just had to copy the bootmgr to the root of the drive, the 3 boot files from “boot”, and the boot.win file from “sources” directly from the DVD onto the FAT USB key while using the same directory naming structure. Then reboot and TAAADAA, I was able to use the WinPE pre-os environment to initiate the setup, which in turn brings the DVD drive online and continues installing Win 7 from the DVD. Cool Trick, eh? Let’s just hope I haven’t went through all this trouble for nothing, LOL.

  15. Hello, after I did all the steps with diskpart and the cmd, When I try to copy those files from my windows cd to the usb key It shows thhat is loading but nothing happens, can u help me please?

  16. the format options take so long .-.

  17. Hi,

    How to revert back to usb flashdisk ?
    After i did this, I cant use as standard usb again.
    I couldnt format it back

  18. I start windows 7 they show insert cd/dvd disk and I have no option to format disk and install windows can you help me please

  19. Thank you sir :)

  20. I have just tried this and I am receiving “Could not map drive E: to an associated volume device object.” when I type BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 E:
    All other stages worked a treat.
    Could it be because the OS of the host computer is Windows 10?

    • The drive letter of the USB had changed to G:
      So everything worked well.

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