How To: Install Windows 7 Or Windows 8 From USB Drive [Detailed 100% Working Guide]

This guide works 100% for Windows 7 and Windows 8 unlike most of the guides out there. I have seen many sites/blogs that have “Install Vista from USB guide” but either with incomplete steps or not working guide. I have also seen some guides that don’t’ use proper commands in this guide. After spending many hours I have come up with this 100% working guide to install Windows 7 and Windows 8 from USB flash drive.

Bootable USB drive

I just did this method on one of my friends machine and installed Windows 7 and Windows 8 . The main advantage is that by using USB drive you will be able to install Windows 7 or Windows 8 in just 15 minutes. You can also use this bootable USB drive on friend’s computer who doesn’t have a DVD optical drive.

The method is very simple and you can use without any hassles. Needless to say that your motherboard should support USB Boot feature to make use of the bootable USB drive. And if your PC doesn’t support booting from USB, you can still install Windows from USB by following our how to install Windows 7/8 from USB drive even if your PC doesn’t support USB boot feature.

Requirements:

  • USB Flash Drive (Minimum 4GB)
  • Windows 7 or Windows 8 installation files.

Follow the below steps to create bootable Windows 7/Windows 8 USB drive using which you can install Windows 7 or Windows 8 easily.

Procedure:

Step 1: Plug-in your USB flash drive to USB port and move all the contents from USB drive to a safe location on your system.

Step 2: Open Command Prompt with admin rights. Use any of the below methods to open Command Prompt with admin rights.

*Type cmd in Start menu search box and hit Ctrl+ Shift+ Enter.

Or

*Go to Start menu > All programs > Accessories, right click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

Step 3: You need to know about the USB drive a little bit. Type in the following commands in the command prompt:

First type DISKPART and hit enter to see the below message.

Bootable USB Drive

Next type LIST DISK command and note down the Disk number (ex: Disk 1) of your USB flash drive. In the below screenshot my Flash Drive Disk no is Disk 1.

Step 4: Next type all the below commands one by one. Here I assume that your disk drive no is “Disk 1”.If you have Disk 2 as your USB flash drive then use Disk 2.Refer the above step to confirm it.

So below are the commands you need to type and execute one by one:

SELECT DISK 1

CLEAN

CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY

SELECT PARTITION 1

ACTIVE

FORMAT FS=NTFS

(Format process may take few seconds)

ASSIGN

EXIT

Don’t close the command prompt as we need to execute one more command at the next step. Just minimize it.

Bootable USB Drive

Step 5: Next insert your Windows7/Windows 8 DVD into the optical drive and check the drive letter of the DVD drive. In this guide I will assume that your DVD drive letter is “D” and USB drive letter is “H” (open my computer to know about it).

Step 6: Maximize the minimized Command Prompt in the 4th step.Type  the following command now:

D: CD BOOT and hit enter.Where “D” is your DVD drive letter.

CD BOOT and hit enter to see the below message.

Step 7: Type another command given below to update the USB drive with BOOTMGR compatible code.

BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 H:

14

Where “H” is your USB drive letter. Once you enter the above command you will see the below message.

Step 8: Copy your Windows 7 or Windows 8 DVD contents to the USB flash drive.

Step 9: Your USB drive is ready to boot and install Windows 7 or Windows 8. Only thing you need to change the boot priority at the BIOS to USB from the HDD or CD ROM drive. I won’t explain it as it’s just the matter the changing the boot priority or enabling the USB boot option in the BIOS.

Note: If you are not able to boot after following this guide means you haven’t set the BIOS priority to USB. If you got any problem in following this guide feel free to ask questions by leaving comment.

Update on Jan 11, 2012: If you find this guide difficult to follow, please use the easy-to-use guide to create a bootable USB to install Windows 7  or Windows 8 using official tool.

This guide works 100% for Windows 8 as well. Make sure you follow all steps correctly and launch the Command Prompt with admin rights (as given in the guide) to avoid errors. Good luck!

Comments

  1. hugo says

    also, my computer uses UEFI bios but i substitute ntfs for fat32 when formatting, does this play a part at all?

  2. hugo says

    i have no problem creating a bootable USB using part disk and copying bootsect.exe but it still will not boot from start up. I have a iso and the original disk and am unable to perform a clean install. I have used the disk to perform a clean install previously and it worked like a charm, i do not have a optical drive otherwise i would just use that instead.

    If you have any suggestions as to where i could be going wrong?
    i am trying to clean install win7 ultimate on a pc that had win 7 64 previously

  3. NIBIN says

    i lost my existing os and have no cd rom. how to install windows 7 or 8 on my pc from a usb drive. i never have a way to make it as bootable device. can u help??

  4. Alex says

    Great tutorial. Worked like a charm. The only suggestion / comment that I had has already been posted which refers to the formatting of the pen drive. Considering it is an actual pen drive, there is no need to do a FULL format, quick format should work just fine and save some time. But all in all, excellent tutorial! Congrats!

  5. Richard says

    This worked PERFECTLY!!! Thank you so much!!! I tried so many things before and THIS is what worked for me! Thank you Thank You THANK YOU!

  6. Pavel says

    If you have problem like “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.” just do full reboot your PC, it should help.

  7. DWalker says

    There is an extra command listed in step 6. Guide says:

    “Step 6: Maximize the minimized Command Prompt in the 4th step.Type the following command now:

    D: CD BOOT and hit enter.Where “D” is your DVD drive letter.

    CD BOOT and hit enter to see the below message.

    Step 7: …”

    The second “CD Boot and hit enter…” is superfluous, I think. Otherwise, great directions.

  8. Ashim says

    Hey.. when I open command port and type DISKPART and hit enter and then type LIST DISK then there was showing only my tow HARD DISK Drive only.. my PAN DRIVE is not showing in the LIST DRIVE. How can I solve it?

  9. jonnie says

    Hey, just about to try this cool guide, but how the heck do you get into the bios or boot options on a sony p-series ? thx

  10. May says

    Reading the tutorials on creating a USB Win 7 repair drive, I thought you might want to add the following some where. Concerning error code 0×80070057 and not being able to restore from a WindowsImageBackup. Most any USB drive method will work for Win 7 as long as you remove the USB flash drive just before the reimaging process starts. Let it find the image and click next. Then remove the flash drive. Once it is restored it will reboot. I downloaded a Win 7 iso from Digital River and used the Microsoft Windows 7 DVD Tool to make mine, but I tried many methods from tutorials and most work if you unplug them as I’ve described. Any repair disk on a DVD will work as a source for needed files as well (You just need to get a decent tutorial online for making the USB bootable.

  11. robert says

    This works fine on older BIOS, but am afraid the EFI version stops it at the last phase. Do you have a version to allow this to work on an EFI BIOS PC (running Win7 Pro 64)

  12. mihkel says

    Someone here mentioned, that a quick format saves your data, deletes only the “mention” of it. Not to pick on anyone, but the difference between a quick and a full format is that when choosing full format, the disk will also be checked for bad sectors, and that is the main reason it takes so much longer than a quick format. All in all, USB keys don’t fail with bad sectors (they, well…just fail), so I really don’t see a reason to do a full format on it. Nevertheless, this tutorial is great. I’ve used it every time when reinstalling windows. I only wonder why it wont stick to me. :)
    This goes to show, that you don’t need additional 3rd party apps all the time.

  13. ntomi26 says

    I tried like a hundred “solutions” from the web, but onli this one helped me bring an ancient laptop back to life. Thank you so much! You helped me out big time!!! :)

  14. tanuzzo says

    i used this guide and successfully installed windows, but now i would like to use my usb normally again. when i insert it into the pc i can see the usb in computer, but it is shown as hidden and in diskpart it shows that it is 0B. how can i have access to my usb again?

  15. Yvette Faye says

    this was very helpful, and Yes be sure and log into the Command Prompt as Administrator because this makes Step 7 work, used the XCOPY with /E switch to copy the Windows 7 DVD to the USB H: Drive, hope hit makes it work like the DVD for install.

  16. The corrector says

    WARNING: a USB flash drive WILL NOT format in seconds, this guide is wrong. a 16Gb drive will take 45-60 minutes.

  17. Alex says

    If you just change ‘FORMAT FS=NTFS’ to ‘FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK’ it will do a faster format. meaning it doesn’t destroy all the data, but only the mention of it, so it still will appear formatted (and don’t worry all the old data will just be overwritten)

  18. admin says

    @cysag
    It looks like your USB device is write protected. You need to remove write protection first.

  19. cysag says

    Not working !
    Cannot go beyond step 7 got access denied and does not let me copy iso file !! i tried also with isotousb.exe tool, same things error message: cannot copy). Also tried with my perso laptop (thinkpad) with w8.1 by mounting iso from file explorer and getting an ‘access denied’ mssg after typing step 7 – Any advice?
    thx

  20. lloo says

    after doing this without success my flash can no more read neither caan it be formated please help me

  21. FAIZAN says

    it’s work much better but ntfs formatting very slow it’s take lot of time to format….

  22. Kexin says

    OK, I have spent some hours to find this out. And I am now sure about two things. (1) All of them who said something like “it works” had a 32 bits version of Window 7. With 64 bits version, you have to take the key off and put it in again. (2) After embedding USB3 drivers (e.g. 6 files from HP’s SP54511, x86 or x64) into boot.wim, this guide works also for USB3 ports (also on none-HP machines). But still 64-bits needs out-and-in manoeuvre, while x86 works just fine.

  23. Kexin says

    Thanks! Very useful guide. The created USB key will actually boot. But Windows 7 installation wants to have some CD/DVD drivers to gain access to this USB key again. If the key was inserted to an USB2 port, I have to cancel the install, remove the key and insert it back again (to the same port or another USB2 port) and try to install once more. If the key was inserted to an USB3 port, I have to change it to an USB2. Was there only me who run into this problem? Is there a way to embed some generic USB3 drivers to the source (now it is on a USB key), so that Windows Install will load them automatically? And I don’t need to change port anymore. What about if I don’t have one USB2 port?

  24. Brownie says

    Hi,i did all what uve wrote down here and it says that BOOTMGR is missing,i redid all,and still,please help!

  25. pawan says

    dude help me i don have a cd/dvd writer in my laptop.. how can i do the below step :

    Step 5: Next insert your Windows7/Windows 8 DVD into the optical drive and check the drive letter of the DVD drive. In this guide I will assume that your DVD drive letter is “D” and USB drive letter is “H” (open my computer to know about it).

    Step 6: Maximize the minimized Command Prompt in the 4th step.Type the following command now:

    D: CD BOOT and hit enter.Where “D” is your DVD drive letter.

    CD BOOT and hit enter to see the below message.

    Step 7: Type another command given below to update the USB drive with BOOTMGR compatible code.

    BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 H:

    14

    Where “H” is your USB drive letter. Once you enter the above command you will see the below message.

    Step 8: Copy your Windows 7 or Windows 8 DVD contents to the USB flash drive.

    please help me ASAP yar.. kinda stuck !!!:(;(

  26. edu says

    and when im done installing windows and want to use my usb normally again what do i do? should i only erase all the files? a quick format?

  27. Hemn Michael says

    Need Help…..!
    CD/DVD windows se7en
    UltraISO > for create windows convert to extension.iso
    Instead of using a DVD, mount a virtual CD-ROM
    USB > 4GB or more gygabyte

    thanks
    -Hemin

  28. Utsav says

    @Gio tis
    Hope you managed to get it done, if not just download a powerISO or any other virtual drive program. set virtual drives to 1. it will appear in your ‘My Computer’. right click on the virtual drive and mount the image you downloaded from TPB.
    Hope it helps.

    @Jone:
    I made the same mistake
    BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 H:
    here replace H with your USB drive letter.

  29. Remnant says

    great. format fs=ntfs does not take a couple of seconds, it takes OVER 4 HOURS on a 64 gb usb. and you can’t interrupt it after its started without destroying the usb. so much for saving time

  30. Giotis says

    i dont have a DVD with windows on it, i just download them from tpb..
    so in step 5 and above what i can do ??
    just go in step 7 and contineu and paste in USB the contents i download ??

  31. Jone says

    Target volume will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.

    Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects: No access.

    What???? Tried this on 2 different usb sticks

  32. Asif says

    Works. You can also use your PC folder if you have windows dumped in any of your machine folder.Just use the boot command in that particular folder.

  33. Darryl says

    To all the chums getting stuck at step 7. I had the same error message as some are getting. (could not open the volume root directory) I noticed the USB drive ‘busy’ LED was blinking, and the icon for the drive was greyed out in Win Explorer. I let it go for an hour, but it was still blinking, so I just pulled the drive and re-inserted it. Icon changed, LED stopped blinking, and I was able to run bootsect.exe successfully.

  34. matthew says

    on the (D:CD BOOT),mine keeps on saying drive not ready.what am i doing worng or what can i do to fix the problem

  35. Raju says

    hi thanks for the guid.. but how to copy windows 7 file from my hard disk to the USB DRIVE instead of using a CD DISK.. i have already coppied a cd disk and saved it into my hard disk.. please give me a reply..

  36. kim says

    the part where you input the command (D:CD BOOT),mine keep on saying drive not ready.what could be the problem?

  37. shashi says

    the problem occurs when it is installed, restart the pc is running the setup again from the beginning ..setup is not resume, and pc is not ask– boot from usb, setup is auto start..pls help me…

  38. bhanu says

    i lost my D,E,F drives while iam doing the commands.
    how can i recover them. please help me as soon as possible.

  39. Trestin says

    If you have an ISO, you can download a freeware tool like Virtual CloneDriver to mount the iso as if it were a cd. Worked for me.

  40. ahmed says

    hi,
    If I have the file of windows7 setup in my laptop, then how can I make USB as a Bootable device through command prompt to copy and install the windows from USB?

  41. roh says

    Thank you very much! one of the few step-by-step guides where what happens in the screenshots is exactly what follows on your pc, this was very useful and worked perfectly without me having to improvise, simply follow each step exactly and it will work

  42. Deepak Gupta says

    i got the compatibility message. its messsage for 32 or 64 bit version.
    please tell, now what i do.

  43. MarmoteX says

    Hi, thank you so much for this guide. I was stuck at step 7 (bootsect.exe) and what i did was to do the step 2 again: *Go to Start menu > All programs > Accessories, right click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

    It worked

  44. MARVIN_ENGG says

    COULD NOT OPEN THE VOLUME ROOT DIRECTORY:
    THE PARAMETER IS INCORRECT.
    NO BOOTCODE WAS SUCCESSFULLY UPDATED.

    IM STUCK WITH THIS ERROR N I TRIED 3 DIFFERENT USB DRIVE N ALSO DIFFERENT BRANDS BUT THE SAME OUTCOME. ANY SUGGESTION DEAR SIR?

  45. Hawa says

    Hi,
    actually, I have this problem tried lot’s of way to format my laptop but it work …my laptop is Dell inspiron 6400..my DVD RW…isn’t work..so now I wanna format my laptop via bootable usb…I used your guide for that meaning but it wasn’t work and when I used this flash on other laptop it worked perfectly…I don’t know what is the problem with my laptop…and so please help me to solve this problem …thanks.

  46. Mikel says

    I’ve tried a couple of other methods but it did not work out for me well, lot of errors.

    But this worked for me so smooth. I want to thank you for taking time to do a such a clear and fantastic guide. You have helped me and others big time. YOU ARE THE BEST!!

  47. Marvie says

    instead of using DVD, I use the ISO file. Load it in ISOBuster or PowerISO and then select extract contents to….

  48. Martijn says

    Also, why does diskpart do this?
    The ASSIGN command assigns a drive letter that is already in use by a network mapping. Grmbl grmbl, and other noises!

    Solution: manual override :)

    ASSIGN LETTER=X

  49. Martijn says

    FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK

    Do that instead. It’s been a few times that I accentidally did a full format, and doing that on a USB stick is *NOT* just a few seconds!! Please change this in the guide, dear editors.

  50. Hoai Pham says

    the Format command is very slow. There’s an other way to speed up this command is using quick format option.

    format fs=ntfs quick

  51. Mr Right says

    Titan Uranus, you are special, this guide shows you how to make a bootable USB copy of windows, so in the first place you would need to have the Windows files in order to create the bootable USB. Whether you have the original on CD or have downloaded a copy from the web, without the original files you would not be able to do this. So the moral to the story is, put your brain in gear before you type anything in future because you are only making yourself sound a little dim.

  52. Titan Uranus says

    Nice guide, until step 5 where it requires a CD :) pretty retarded to call it FROM USB then xD

  53. yaser says

    THNX. WORKS LIKE A CHARM. 100% .THNX FOR UR WORK. (guys follow all the steps correctly and you will not face any problem )

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