Life-time learner's blog

How to create bootable Windows 7 Installation USB

If you want to create bootable USB flash drive with Windows 7, you may find some difficulties. How to do it is written here.

  1. Create a primary partition on your USB flash. (the hardest part)
  2. Copy all files from installation win7 disk to your USB
  3. Make it bootable with bootsect.exe

1. Create a primary partition
If you are under Windows Vista it is very easy. Follow the instructions below:

  1. Press Ctrl+R and run cmd.exe
  2. Write a command diskpart and then press <Enter>
  3. Run a command list disk. You will see the list of all disks available in your PC. Find out what number assigned to your USB flash.
  4. Run a command select disk # Instead of # youhave to specify the number assigned to your USB.
  5. clean [this will erase all data!]
  6. create partition primary
  7. select partition 1
  8. active
  9. format fs=ntfs
  10. assign
  11. exit

If you have windows XP, diskpart cannot work with USB. So you have to make windows think that your usb flash is actually HDD. It is rather simple to do. You just have to install hdd driver for your USB device. After that you can use diskpart in the same way as in Windows Vista. Just follow instructions written above.
*** But the 9th point won’t work in XP. So you have to format your USB for NTFS manually with a command 
                    format X: /fs:ntfs /y /q
      where X – a letter assigned to your flash drive in your system

2. Copy files from installation media
Just run a command:
                   xcopy S:\*.* /s /e /f /i T:
     where S – letter of Source media, T – letter of target media (your usb)

3. Write MBR
If your system is 32 bit, download bootsect.exe of windows 7 32bit. Then start it:
                  bootsect /nt60 X: /force /mbr
    where X – letter of your usb
If your current OS is 64 bit, you have to start bootsect from usb drive
                  cd /d X:\boot
                  bootsect /nt X: /force /mbr

     where X – letter of your usb

That is all. You have a USB flash with Windows 7!

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