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How to install windows from a USB Drive

Many IT professionals prefer to install windows from a USB Drive.  First it is faster than a DVD in most cases, next there are many computers shipping without optical drives, and lastly you can leave the clients software unopened by using your USB and then putting the COA Sticker on their computer.

I use a MSDN iso file that has a few different versions on it including 32 and 64 bit versions. Be sure to select the same version as the clients COA if you use such a tool.  Once the OS is loaded you have 30 days to activate it.

First you need to have a USB Drive that you can destroy all of the data on, I like to use 16GB because I like to have space for other things on the same drive.  You can use an 8GB, but a 4GB will not be enough for DVD’s with multiple versions.  I don’t use large ones because these drives get used a lot and lost or broken a few times per year.

So let’s get down to how to create a Bootable USB Drive, this works for Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

You need to open a Command Prompt with Admin Rights.  Find or create a Command prompt icon and right click on it and then select “Run as administrator”.  You also can do it from the Run command by typing in CMD and then hitting CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER to run as Admin.  Now we use a program called DISKPART, and then we run a few commands.

Just type the commands as listed above, be sure to select the Disk number of your USB Drive.  I CLEAN and FORMAT the drive because many drives come with programs that need to be cleaned off, and most of the drives come with FAT32 formatting, and I much rather use NTFS, it is faster and allows for larger files.  If your drive does not show up in the GUI you can enter the ASSIGN command, but this is unlikely.

Now you need to load the boot manager onto the USB Drive.  There is a command on the Windows DVD that will do this.  It is stored in the \boot folder.  In your Admin Command windows simply switch to the DVD Drive, and then CD to the BOOT folder.  Then type BOOTSECT /NT60 G: (Assuming G: is your USB Drive) It should look like this.

Now finally just drag and drop everything from your DVD onto your USB DRIVE.

Now you are done, I have used this many times and I know 100% that it works perfect every time.   Be sure that the target computer is set to boot on the USB.  Boot up and it will install very fast. If you use faster USB drives you will even get faster load times.

Hope this helps you.