How to install Microsoft Windows from your USB Drive

Ever had a problem installing any distribution of Microsoft Windows from a CD-ROM? Happen to me so often that I began doing research into whether it was indeed possible to install it on a computer any other way.

Turns out there are other ways, actually….

Your Computer’s BIOS Settings allows you to select the Boot Priority of each of the external peripherals that can connect to your Laptop of Computer’s Motherboard. Typically, a Laptop or Computer can boot from:

  •  Harddrive
  • CD-Drive
  • USB Port
  • Network Drive
  • Floppy Disk (yes, these are still around!!)

By default, most Computers or Laptops are set to boot from the Harddrive, where the active partition that contains the kernel for the OS is located. Thus whenever you’re installing a fresh copy of any Windows OS, the typical procedure is to:

  •  Boot up the computer using a Linux Distribution, such as Fedora or Ubuntu
  • Back up your data
  • Sets the BIOS to boot from the CD-ROM
  • Format and Install the Windows OS to your specifications

But CD-ROM Drives are fraught with danger as the media may be damaged and the CD-ROM Drive may not even work, forcing you to consider an expensive replacement or a portable USB CD-ROM Drive. At that point, folks, the little light bulb should have already lit up in your head as to where I am going with this: Install Windows from your USB or Thumb Drive.

The advantages are clear:

  •  Faster installation times due to faster read/write times from a USB Drive
  • More portable form factor
  • Less Susceptible to damage, both physical and software
  • Erase-ability of USB Drive means that it can be reused for other purposes
  • Can Reinstall Microsoft Windows is corrupted
  • This procedure can be used for the installation of other bootable software e.g. Microsoft Office 2010

Now you’ve got the tools together, it’s DIY (Do It Yourself) Time folks!!!

First, you’ll need:

  •  4GB USB or Thumb Drive
  • Computer or Laptop with a CD-ROM Drive free of malware or viruses
  • A Genuine Bootable Copy of Windows (‘cause Geezam not supporting Piracy!)
  • A fresh downloaded copy of TeraCopy

Time to follow some instructions to make your USB Drive a means for installing Microsoft Windows:

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Open a command prompt by clicking Run
  3. Type cmd in the search box and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter to enable administrator privileges
  4. Type diskpart to enter the diskpart utility.
  5. At the DISKPART> prompt, type list disk.
  6. Type select disk 4, where “4” is the number of your USB flash drive from the list.
  7. Type clean to clean the USB flash drive.
  8. Type create partition primary.
  9. Type active, to make the partition active.
  10. Type format fs=fat32 quick to format the USB flash drive quickly in the FAT32 file system.
  11. Type assign to have Windows assign a drive letter to the drive.
  12. Type exit to leave diskpart
  13. Type exit again to close the command prompt.
  14. Install Teracopy and set the 255 Character Limit unchecked
  15. Insert your Windows 7 disc into your computer
  16. Copy all the files to the USB flash drive

That’s it! You now have a bootable USB Thumb Drive


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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.