Gone are the days of installing Windows from DVD drives. These days, most PC users use USB flash drives to clean-install Windows operating system and many of them even prefer creating live Windows USB drives.
Installing Windows on a USB flash drive has many benefits. The major benefit is that you can connect the live USB to any computer and boot into your Windows operating system and start using your applications. In other words, you can carry your PC on a flash drive and use it anywhere by simply connecting the same to a PC!
Even though Windows 7 can’t be installed on USB drives with default settings, the Enterprise edition of Windows 8/8.1 includes a feature called Windows To Go to install Windows 8/8.1 on USB flash drives.
As mentioned above, Windows 7 doesn’t support installing on USB drives out of the box. That said, there are a couple of working workarounds to get Windows 7 installed on USB drives.
Over the last couple of years, we have discussed and shared a bunch of tools and ways to create live Windows USB or install Windows operating system on USB flash drives. In this guide, we will discuss the best two methods that you can try out to install Windows 7 on USB and create your own Windows 7 live USB drive.
* Please don’t attempt to follow these methods on Windows XP operating system.
* Always backup your USB drive before proceeding with these methods as the USB drive will be erased during the process.
* Windows 7 live USB drive that has been prepared using one of these methods might not work as smooth as that of Windows 8 live USB created using the official Windows To Go feature present in Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise edition.
Windows 7 live USB using WinToUSB
Those of you closely following IntoWindows probably have come across our how to install Windows 7 on USB drive using WinToUSB utility. The software is extremely easy-to-use and enables you install Windows 7 on to USB drive. You just need a 8 GB+ USB drive and Windows 7 ISO file to start creating your live USB drive.
Follow the instructions in our how to install Windows 7 on USB drive using WinToUSB software for step-by-step instructions. Be sure to run WinToUSB software with admin rights to avoid boot errors while booting from USB.
Note that WinToUSB can also be used to install Windows 8/8.1 on to USB drive.
Windows 7 live USB using a custom installer
This method isn’t as easy as the above one but not a tad difficult one as well. The catch is that you need to download and install Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) and the custom installer. The custom installer takes care of installing Windows 7 on to the selected USB drive and you just need to setup your user account after completing the installation.
If you’re interested, please carefully follow the instructions in our how to install Windows 7 to external USB drive guide to create your Windows 7 live USB drive.