While installing and running Windows 10/8 on a USB drive is relatively easy, installing Windows 7 on a USB drive isn’t that easy. Unlike Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7 doesn’t come with Windows To Go feature, the feature that lets you easily install and run Windows 10/8.1 Enterprise edition on USB drives.
Over the past couple of years, more than once, we have talked about installing Windows 7 on USB flash drives and external hard drives (see how to install Windows 7 on external hard drive and how to easily install Windows 7 on USB) with the help of third-party utilities. Today, we’re going to introduce you to another excellent and probably the best free software out there to install Windows 10/8/7 on USB drives.
Install Windows 10/7 on to USB drive
WinToUSB is free software designed to help you install and run Windows from a USB drive. It’s easy-to-use, wizard-style interface enables you easily install Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Server operating systems on USB drive with a few mouse clicks, without having to alter system files. This also means that, in addition to Windows 10 Enterprise edition, users running Home and Pro editions can also use this tool to install Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro on USB, as Windows To Go feature is present in the Enterprise edition only.
WinToUSB supports both USB flash drive and hard drive, meaning that you can install Windows on both USB flash drive and external hard drive. The other advantage of this tool is that you don’t need to download and install Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) in order to use this free tool. On top of that, it’s fully compatible with MBR and GPT disks.
To install a version of Windows on USB, you just need to have a Windows ISO and USB drive. We recommend you use a 16 GB+ capacity USB drive for the job.
Download the software, run the same, browse to your Windows ISO file, and select your USB drive to begin installing Windows on the selected USB drive. In our test, WinToUSB took close to an hour to install Windows 7 Ultimate edition on a USB flash drive. Depending on your system hardware and USB speed, this mileage might very.
WinToUSB is compatible with all recent versions of Windows, including Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 Update. We have tested this tool and can confirm that it works as advertised.
Please note that the USB drive containing your newly installed Windows 7 might not fully work when you connect the same drive to another PC. This is because Windows 7 doesn’t support this feature out of box and you might need to manually install some drives in order to boot Windows from USB on other computers.
The developer of this tool suggests you use a USB hard rather than a USB flash drive, as USB flash drives are slow and take long time to install and run Windows.