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How To Install Windows 7 From A Flash Drive

If you purchased a netbook you are probably wondering how you are going to install Windows 7 on the netbook if something goes wrong with your current install. You could go to your local computer retailer and buy an external 5.25? USB CD/DVD ROM drive to accomplish the task or you could invest in a USB Flash drive. All BIOS’s in the current netbooks on the market will give you the ability to boot from a USB device. Installing from a USB flash drive will be quicker than using ROM media. Why burn DVD’s when you can use flash drives? Follow the instructions below complete with diagrams to create a bootable flash drive with Windows 7.

Format your USB Flash Drive

Grab your newly purchased USB flash drive and insert it into your system. I used a 8GB drive to accomplish this but a 4GB drive will work nicely. Anything less than 4GB will not work. Before formatting the drive make sure to backup any existing data on the drive. Formatting the drive will erase all existing data. Don’t scream at me if you forget this step, you have been warned :) To format the drive open up a command prompt in Administrator mode. To do this click on Start and then click My Computer. Navigate to the following path C:\windows\system32 and then right click on cmd.exe and choose Run as Administrator as illustrated in the diagram below.

command prompt

Next, type diskpart and then type list disk. You should now see a screen with all the drives attached to your system. Make a note of which drive the USB drive is by which number is next to it as illustrated in the diagram below. For this article my flash drive is Disk 1.


Next type in Select Disk 1 replace disk 1 with the number of your drive.

Next, type in Clean. This removes any hidden sectors as well as partitions from the drive.

Next, type in Create Partition Primary. This will create a primary partition on the flash drive with default options.

Next, type in Select Partition 1

Next, type in Active This makes the partition active and valid.

Next, type in Format FS=NTFS. This will format the partition using NTFS file system, warning: This may take several minutes if you are using a rather large flash drive.

Next, type in Assign this will give the drive a label and assign the next available drive letter to the drive. In my case the next available letter was F. Next, type exit to close the diskpart utility.

format ntfs file system

Copy Windows Files To The Flash Drive And Make It Bootable

Next insert your Windows 7 DVD into your DVD-ROM drive and open it up to view all the files. Copy all the contents to a folder on your desktop called Windows 7 as illustrated in the diagram below.

copy windows 7 dvd

Find your way back to the command prompt window. Change the path to the folder you created for Windows 7 on your desktop. To do this type in CD C:\Users\Username\Desktop\Windows7.

Next type in CD Boot This will get us into the boot folder.

Next, type in Bootsect.exe /nt60 F: Note:: F: is the drive letter of your flash drive. demonstrated in the illustration below.


Copy All The Files Onto Your Flash Drive

Open up the Windows 7 folder on your desktop and copy all the files to your flash drive as illustrated below.

windows 7 copy to flash drive

That’s it, you are finished. Peace!