How-to Install Windows 7 From USB Flash Drive (Create a Bootable Windows 7 USB Drive)

September 3, 2010, By Fouad Bajwa

Ever wondered how you boot or instal Windows 7 using an USB Flash Drive? While it may not be a very easy process, in reality, it isn’t rocket science and even novices will be able to do it.

How-to Install Windows version 7 using a USB Flash DiskInstalling the OS using the USB Flash Disk method, is not only possible for Windows 7 but also for Windows Vista and Windows XP — all you need to do is to create a bootable Flash drive with the system files.

The following method shows you a simple and convenient way to create an installation USB Flash Drive for Windows 7. We have also added a third party installation method to outline the difference between using the Microsoft recommendation opposed to a third party software installtion attempt.

Create a Bootable Windows 7 USB flash drive

To create a bootable Windows 7 flash drive you will need to have your copy of Windows — which you can get from the Microsoft Store for example, as an ISO file. Also remember that your USB flash drive needs to have a capacity of at least 4GB.

Method 1 : the Microsoft way

  1. Download the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool from here (warning! .exe file), double click it to load up the install file and if you are prompted to either save the file to disk or run it, choose to Run it.
  2. Now follow through the steps in the setup dialogs where you will have the option to specify where to install it. You will need administrator rights on the computer you are installing the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool and also the Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0 or higher.
  3. Copy the Windows 7 ISO file to your hard drive and open the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool.
  4. In the Source File box insert the path to your Windows 7 ISO file, or click Browse and select the file from the Open dialog box. Click Next.
  5. Then select USB Device to create a copy on a USB flash drive. If you are copying the file to a USB flash drive, select your USB device in the drop-down list and click Begin copying.
    Windows 7 USB DVD Download tool
  6. When this is done and your Windows 7 ISO file is fully copied, you now have a bootable Windows 7 USB flash drive to use to install the OS.

Method 2 : the UltraISO way

UltraISO Windows 7 bootable flash

  1. Download UltraISO (from this link) and install it to your computer.
  2. Plug your Flash drive into a USB port.
  3. Grab hold of an ISO image of Windows 7 and open it with UltraISO (Menu -> Open). Then click the bootstrapping burn hard disk image option.
  4. In the Disk Drive list, select your Flash drive as well as the Disk data write method: USB-HDD and click Burn.
  5. In the window that opens displaying the prompt about destruction of information, click Yes after it has finished recording (this usually take anything from 5 to 20 minutes).
  6. Voila, you have your bootable Windows 7 USB drive.

Installing Windows 7 via USB

Now that you have a bootable flash drive with the setup and system files for Windows 7 you’ll have to actually install the OS. For that you will need to

  1. Restart your computer and press Delete (Del) to open your BIOS configuration menu.
  2. Change your booting options — first booting option should be USB (doesn’t matter what else you have after that, can be hard drive and then CD-ROM)
  3. Save your settings and Restart your computer, BUT make sure the flash drive is in before you do that.
  4. Follow the instructions from the Windows 7 setup menu and everything should be fine.

Note : don’t forget to reconfigure your BIOS boot options after the installation.

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