A lot has been written on installing Windows 8 from a USB flash drive. There are quite a few working guides and applications available on the web to create a bootable USB flash drive, or to install Windows 7 from USB flash drive. The best way to install Windows 8 from USB flash drive is to create a bootable USB drive using the Command Prompt and then use the bootable USB drive as installation media to complete installation.
But the problem with all these USB guides is that your PC’s BIOS should support USB boot. In other words, you can’t use a USB flash drive as installation media if your PC doesn’t support this feature. Many of you might have a notebook or netbook that doesn’t support USB boot. So, is there a workaround to install Windows 8 from USB on a PC that doesn’t support USB boot? The answer is yes.
Even though the procedure is simple and straight-forward, we recommend this method only if your PC doesn’t support booting from USB.
NOTE: In this guide, we assume that you are trying to install Windows 8 on a PC running with Vista or Windows 7.
Step 1: Begin the procedure by downloading and installing the popular EasyBCD software on your machine that doesn’t support USB boot. EasyBCD is a free software and is compatible with both x86 and x64 versions of Windows.
Step 2: The next step is to run EasyBCD software. Run EasyBCD, click Add New Entry button in the left side. On the right-side, under Portable/External Media, switch to BIOS Extender tab. The BIOS extender can be used to boot from network, CD, or USB on computers that don’t natively support it.
Step 3: Under BIOS Extender tab, click Install PLoP button to install PLoP entry to the boot menu.
Step 4: You have just made your Windows machine to boot from USB drive.
Step 5: Now that you have installed PLoP and EasyBCD BIOS Extender, it’s time to test your bootable Windows 8 USB on your machine. Plug-in the bootable USB drive, and reboot your PC.
Step 6: You will see a new entry in the boot menu named EasyBCD BIOS extender. Select the BIOS extender option and hit enter key to see to the next screen. In the following screen, you will see a list of options.
Step 7: Select USB option to start booting from your USB flash drive. From here onwards, follow the on screen instructions to complete Windows 8 installation process. Good luck!
Method 2: Use this method if your PC is not bootable or you don’t have any OS on your PC. Note that your PC must have a working CD ROM drive to use this method.
Step 1: Download the PLoP Boot Manager from here and burn the ISO file it to a CD or DVD (you need to extract the zip file to get ISO file). If you are on Windows 7, use the native ISO burner for this job.
Step 2: Switch on your PC, insert the PLoP CD or DVD into the optical drive. Use the appropriate key to enter the BIOS and change the boot priority to CD/DVD drive so that you can boot from CD/DVD.
Step 3: Connect your bootable Windows 8 USB flash drive (learn how to make bootable Windows 8 USB) to your PC and reboot your PC. Your PC will boot from PLoP CD/DVD and within a few seconds your will be taken to this screen:
Select USB option and press enter key to boot from already connected bootable USB flash drive. Follow the on screen instructions to finish installing Windows on your machine. Good luck!