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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 :)

569 Comments

  1. Hi all!

    I’ve been trying to make the boot, but I received the message: “Could not write new bootcode to this volume: media protected”.

    Well, the admin access is active, the media isn’t protected.

    My notebook system is w10 and the DVD Instalation is windows 7.

    What could be happening?

    thanks in advance!

    • F@#$$ drive hahaha

      I don’t know what was, but I did:

      1) Copy something to the usb drive
      2) Delete the content you’ve copied

      And now is ready

      Really, I don’t know what was.
      I’m crazy hahaha

      Thank you all!

    • you have to run CMD as a administrator

    • My man, did U tried to format the USB? If you did it then U proly r tryin 2 format a write protected USB like those from Dell, u kno. Format it with Silicon Formatter n then try the rest. Let me kno if that worked…

  2. i used this method for my 2nd pc as the dvd drive packed up the same time i never needed it so much, but usb drives ive got alot of. wouldnt use anything else.

  3. I followed these instruction to the letter and was able to make a bootable
    USB drive for my other PC. But my now the laptop that I made this USB drive on now asks me every boot if I want to press any key to boot from CD. When I press (any) key, it now goes through the motions of installing windows.
    I haven’t followed it much further than the first two screens but somehow all the install files are now on the boot sector of my laptop without me having changed the BIOS nor having an installation CD/DVD/ USB (new) loaded.
    Somehow my actions have made a change to the boot sector of my laptop.
    How do I fix this??

    • Try removing the CD!

    • I think you selected the hard disk and not the usb disk in the “Select Disk 1″ or “Select Disk 2″ part.

  4. Thanks it i follow exactly what you write and it work for me.

  5. I get the message “This tool can only be run on systems booted using a PC/AT BIOS. This system was booted using EFI or some other firmware type,” after I try the very last input command. Is this supposed to happen? If not, I need help in going further, thanks.

    • I get the message “This tool can only be run on systems booted using a PC/AT BIOS. This system was booted using EFI or some other firmware type,” after I try the very last input command. Is this supposed to happen? me too

  6. thx a lot dude…

  7. I get the message “This tool can only be run on systems booted using a PC/AT BIOS. This system was booted using EFI or some other firmware type,” after I try the very last input command. Is this supposed to happen? If not, I need help in going further, thanks.

  8. Thanks a lot for sharing this important information with US :-)
    I want to format laptop with Windows 7 but i found that, it’s DVD drive is not working. SO Bootable USB solved my problem.

  9. Hi friends
    I have tried to make bootable win 7 pendrive.
    Everything is ok untill I enter dos command
    the command will not implement and some help commands were displayed.
    what to do ?
    lastly now my pendrive is not displayed / not detected by the system in windows.My system (Pentium D) runs windows XP pro SP3.Pendrive is also ok.then what happened ? please help

  10. followed it but got a bit stuck I opened the ISO file went to the drive and the area of the iso file cd boot and the other bit
    it worked
    didnt realise a asigning the directory was required

  11. Thanks A lot it works just fine :)

  12. BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 E: is not recognized as a command

    • Yes it is.

      • I got the same error message. So, you are wrong and not much help to boot.

    • go into c:\windows\system32 check if you can see bootsect.exe there, if not you have a corrupt windows installation

    • There is a folder in the cd drive called boot (windows 7). So create a shortcut ‘cmd’ in desktop and then right click ‘open as administrator’. then go to G: (if cd drive shown in mycomputer is G:) then ‘cd boot’. Then try the command, it will surely work!!!!!

    • Make sure that you’re not using a Win 7 ISO.

  13. Thank you!
    Worked for me.

  14. Unable to create the bootable pen drive. Messages comes up when I was about to finish the last process as follows:

    Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.
    Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects:
    Access is denied.

    • I had exactly the same issue. The following worked for me:

      1) Run command manager as Administrator
      Right click on Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator”

      Use /force parameter when running the bootsect.exe
      2) bootsect.exe /NT60 J: /force

  15. haha what a sh** way to format!!!!

  16. I tried but getting error msg.. plz some one help me to solve this issue

  17. I am running windows 7 ultimate 32 bit. But i want to create a usb boot drive with windows 64 bit but my computer says (This version of Z:\boot\bootsect.exe is not compatible with the version of windows that you’re running. Check your computer’s system information to see whether you have 32 bit or 64bit). How do i fix this problem?

    • cud u plz list down the steps where u r getting error ? let us know “where r u doing wrong” .

  18. Great ! Works for me ! Thank you for your help :)

    • for me too o yeeeaaaahhhhhh :-)

  19. i am using sony vaio laptop windows 7 32 bit lapto suddenly it felt down on floor but only show the logo windows after one safe mood cursor my dvd rom not works i am trying to put windows in flash drive and want to run pc
    can u help me

    • sorry to ask but, r u trying to install windows on your computer from a flash drive ? or you want to run windows from a flash drive on your computer ?

  20. Awesome …works perfect

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