EDIT 2009/12/11: Microsoft Provides a tool to do this for you – Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool which is available for download here.  If you need instructions on how to use the tool, see the Microsoft Store Help on the ISO-Tool (http://store.microsoft.com/Help/ISO-Tool).

It surprised me to find that there are very few dead-simple guides to creating a bootable USB thumb/pen/flash drive for a Vista and/or Windows 7 installation.  I cobbled together the following from VistaPCGuy and another source I don’t remember right now.

This will walk through the steps to create a bootable USB flash drive for the purpose of installing a Vista or Windows 7 OS.  These instructions assume that you have a computer with Windows Vista installed on it.

Required:

  • USB Flash Drive (4GB+)
  • Microsoft OS Disk (Vista / Windows 7)
  • A computer running Vista / Windows 7

Step 1: Format the Drive
The steps here are to use the command line to format the disk properly using the diskpart utility. [Be warned: this will erase everything on your drive. Be careful.]

  1. Plug in your USB Flash Drive
  2. Open a command prompt as administrator (Right click on Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator”
  3. Find the drive number of your USB Drive by typing the following into the Command Prompt window:
    diskpart
    list disk

    The number of your USB drive will listed. You’ll need this for the next step.  I’ll assume that the USB flash drive is disk 1.
  4. Format the drive by typing the next instructions into the same window. Replace the number “1” with the number of your disk below.
    select disk 1
    clean
    create partition primary
    select partition 1
    active
    format fs=NTFS
    assign
    exit
    When that is done you’ll have a formatted USB flash drive ready to be made bootable.

Step 2: Make the Drive Bootable 
Next we’ll use the bootsect utility that comes on the Vista or Windows 7 disk to make the flash drive bootable.  In the same command window that you were using in Step 1:

  1. Insert your Windows Vista / 7 DVD into your drive.
  2. Change directory to the DVD’s boot directory where bootsect lives:
    d:
    cd d:\boot
  3. Use bootsect to set the USB as a bootable NTFS drive prepared for a Vista/7 image. I’m assuming that your USB flash drive has been labeled disk G:\ by the computer:
    bootsect /nt60 g:
  4. You can now close the command prompt window, we’re done here.

Step 3: Copy the installation DVD to the USB drive
The easiest way is to use Windows explorer to copy all of the files on your DVD on to the formatted flash drive.  After you’ve copied all of the files the disk you are ready to go.

Step 4: Set your BIOS to boot from USB
This is where you’re on your own since every computer is different. Most BIOS’s allow you to hit a key at boot and select a boot option.

I used these instructions to get my new Dell Mini 9 laptop loaded with Windows 7 (the PDC bits).  HTH.

509 comments to

  • sam

    THANK YOU THANK YOU, YOU ARE A GENIUS,
    i dont tell many people that, but this info on making the usb drive bootable with running bootsect from the dvd to the usb, then copying all files to usb drive and booting from it was not anywhere else i looked, becuase i was trying to just straight copy all files to usb and boot from it but was getting an error saying remove disks or other media. THANKS AGAIN

    • I'm glad it was helpful! It took me way too much searching to find this info myself so I thought it would be good to share.

      • Listern

        I have a problem on step 2. Step 1 is all ok but when i try to use bootsect it said:
        Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.

        Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects:

        How to fix that? Drive formatted all ok, i am sure of it

    • raiderj

      This guide worked great to install Windows 7 onto my Dell mini (using Winxp instead of Vista). What I did was make sure the USB stick was formatted NTFS, then run bootsect, copy the files from the Win7 ISO, then boot off like normal!

    • varun

      THANKZ, bt is there any problmz if there diffrnt drives>>(I own 250gbseagateprtble)

    • Derik

      SAM. Excellent man. It worked like a charm…. Many thnaks for your advice

    • Oizo

      Someday, i will kiss you for this tuts !!!!

  • kmwoley

    I have no idea what to do for an XP installation; I found a lot of information on making bootable XP disks when I was searching for instructions for making Vista-bootable USB keys. Google's your friend here b/c I can't help. :(

  • Lee

    this info is good is you got vista already install on it but what about if you got win xp and want to make a bootable flash drive to install vista from scratch. Can someone help.

  • racethesun

    If you cant get XPs diskpart to find your disk, just format it in FAT32, then use CONVERT in command prompt to convert it to ntfs. After the disk has been converted continue to step 3. Tested it on my machine and worked fine on the first try.

  • kmwoley

    That's a good question; I haven't looked at how to do that yet since I don't have any XP boxes. If you find a good way, please let me know.

    • mike

      Why cant you use the bootsect from a windows 7 disc and then just copy the XP files onto the drive and load it.. Im certainly going to try that right now.
      already loaded 7 like this yesterday.

  • whs

    Tomorrow Jan 9 will be the first time I will try to download the W7 ISO. When you talk about the "Microsoft OS Disk (Vista / Windows 7) " are we talking about the ISO disk I can burn from the ISO file or do I have to slipstream something with my Vista disk and the ISO file? I have only a Vista recovery disk that I burnt from the recovery partition.

    • You can do everything here with the Windows 7ISO that you'll download from Microsoft. Probably the easiest thing to do is mount the ISO and use it as a disk, or just burn it to physical media. You won't need a Vista disk as the Windows 7 disk will have everything you need.

  • whs

    Thanks for the answer. That makes it really easy. If it works, you have done all of us a real favor.

  • whs

    I got thru step 1 with one small problem – in "create partition primary" you have to add size=3800 (which would be 3.8GB) or whatever is right for your stick. Without "size" you get an error. But step 2 does not work at all. The cd command does not seem to do anything, at least there is no reaction. The bootsect or bootsect.exe produces an error "'bootsect.exe' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file." I am puzzled because this is a completely legal command. So I am stuck. Any push would be appreciated.

    • racethesun

      remember that in windows command prompt to change from one drive to another you cant use cd, you just put in the drive letter. So to change from C: to E: just put "E:" without quotes, then from there you can use "cd boot" and that should get you to bootsect.exe

    • That's interesting: I wonder what it is that causes you to have to specify the size when creating a partition? I've never had to do that before.

      You're right that my directions should have explicitly stated that you have to change to the drive first by typing in the drive letter. I'll get that updated.

      • YAY-I-FIXED-IT

        I ran into the same issue, the solution i found, was i didnt do a step you mentioned, once i did that it worked. Not sure why but what that option does made it happen.

        at step #4

        select disk 1
        clean

        " i didnt do the clean step then i got the boot size error, on my fat32 partioned flash drive.

        I re-ran "clean" started over those steps then it did not ask me for any size or anything and workd as yours listed did.

        What does "clean" actually do, im not sure i havent read up details for it, but that made the next step work with no added details of any size issues or putting in any numbers an such for it.

  • JRaig

    Your procedure is simply brilliant, thanks a lot kmwoely

  • Another satisfied customer. I had been roaming around google piecing something together. I had the files on my USB drive but it wouldn't boot. Tried the bootsect command you listed and it executed, but still couldn't boot. The difference was that my USB drive was formatted in FAT32 instead of NTFS. So it is important to format your drive as NTFS.

    Thanks again for the guide.

  • [...] Creating Bootable Vista / Windows 7 USB Flash Drive at Kevin’s Blog. Share: [...]

  • whs

    Adam, there are some threads that suggest that Fat32 also works. In fact, they explicitely format the USB in Fat32. I myself have not tried that though.
    For the second step (loading the ISO on the USB) i have used a slightly different approach. I unzipped the ISO file with WinRar and just moved the files over to the USB. That worked perfectly. And then there is always this command: xcopy x:*.* /s/e/f y:

  • [...] Update: The site with the process I followed for creating the USB drive installer is at http://kmwoley.com/blog/?p=345 [...]

  • rlh

    hi how do i create a boot partition on my 4gb pendrive so i can install vista , typing list disk in command prompt only shows my internal sata drives and external usb drives and not my pen drive. in disk management it is showing as drive 7 . but drive 7 is not listed in cmd? what am i doing wrong??

    • GO義勝

      I ran into the same issue on both of my XP systems. I did a "list volume" instead and got a listing of all of my system drives. Anyone know why this may be the case for some of us?

    • iyusaf

      I think you need to head into Device Manager and configure your removable drive for Optimize For Performance instead of Optimize for Quick Removal. I had to do this myself before I could format the drive as NTFS.

  • whs

    In command prompt, first type DISKPART and hit Enter, then type LIST DISK and hit Enter, then take the number it shows you there for your USB If you have several USBs in the system, you can only make the correlation by the size. If necessary, you may have to unplug other drives that have the same size. Onc you have the number, you use this for the SELECT DISK command.

  • lth

    maybe show us how to format with the QUICK option?

  • Well this works for 32 bit os if i am using a 32 bit os already … can anyone tell me how to do it to a 64 bit os from a 32 bit?

    As in my case I am running a 32 bit Vista.I want to install 64 bit Win 7 to another hdd.But the bootsect is not possible to be executed from within my 32 bit OS.Any ideas?

    • Really, the only problem you've got is that you can't run the 64-bit version of 'bootsect' which is on your Windows 7 installation media from your current 32-bit OS.

      If it were me, I'd download a 32-bit copy of Windows 7 just to get the 32-bit version of 'bootsect' and you'll be able to party on from there. Or find a friend who's got a 32-bit Vista disk you can borrow. :)

    • Kristoffer

      Actually, you don't need the bootsect part, it will boot anyway. I have used this method a couple of times without bootsect so i can vouch for that.

  • whs

    Dark Prince, I would suggest you run the 64bit in a virtual partition. Install VirtualBox (I found this to be the best performing) on your Vista. You can install W7 directly from the downloaded ISO file – takes 35 minutes (no need for a DVD or USB). Performance is very good (I allocated 1.4GB of my 3GBRAM to the virtual partition) and you can switch between W7 and Vista with 1 click. You just have to give Superfetch a few minutes to reorder it's files for Vista after you started VirtualBox. That's why I keep the virtual partition running all day because once the system settles down, performance is good on both sides (host and guest).

  • Tony

    This is great info, but does anyone know how to make it to where you can install the OS itself on the flash drive then boot into it like you would with your main OS? It's fairly easy with XP and extremely easy with many flavors of Linux but I can't find anything for 7. Any tips?

  • Walt

    Re: Install on Dell Mini9… Did you have any problems with any of the drivers? Like for wireless?

  • bob

    DUDE, you ROCK!!!
    And so does WINDOWS 7

  • Geoge

    Any idea when I do this, I get to the part to bootsect /nt60 g: and I get this error
    Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR

    then it says
    Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects:
    Access is denied

    • Gabe

      You're running bootsect from the usb stick itself. Don't. Run the bootsec on the CD image which should be a different drive from the usb disk.

    • rich

      you need to run cmd using 'run as administrator'.

    • Roger

      type cmd in the vista run box and then hold down ctrl and shift before hitting enter, you will now run a command prompt in administrator mode. It then worked for me.

    • Damon

      run it as administrator.

      • christopher-michael

        For anyone having difficulties running cmd as administrator (even when using control shift enter) you can click on Start -> All Programs -> Accessories and RIGHT click on the Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator. You will then get the aforementioned box to allow the program to run at administrator level. The commant prompt will come up with C:Windowssystem32 to run as an administrator instead of using your personal account path as it would when not running under Administrator.

        Even with the control + shift + enter it was simply opening the command prompt outside of administrator level. Yes what was suggested is supposed to be a shortcut but it seems to not work for many like myself as I found in other forums. But take this slightly longer way and it should work for you.

    • Warren

      You have to find command.com, right-click it and select "run as administrator" then it will work fine.

  • iyusaf

    Great job. Thanks!

  • ReFLeX

    Hey nice tutorial but sadly it only works if your using Vista to do all this, I tried it on my desktop that has Xp 64-bit and it wouldn't show my USB as a disk when I typed 'list disk', so I took it to my laptop which has Ultimate and it worked like a charm :D. Thanks!

    • Manish SIngh

      Yep WIn xp or Windows Server 2003 won't display USB disks as disks in the diskpart utility.

      You rock kevin.

  • chris

    George – make sure you are running the CMD prompt as Administrator, as per these wonderful instructions.

  • Adi

    Hi
    I am right now installing Vista on my MSI Wind U100.
    It came with XP, than I installed Windows 7 Ultimate, it cracked, and now I am installing Vista Ultimate using an USB flash drive.

    Thank you for tip.

  • JR24601

    Thanks for putting this together. I had attempted four other solutons, all of which failed. Very glad I found yours before i lost my mind.

  • Bill

    Thanks for making this awesome guide. I had tried multiple times to burn this to a DVD but it wouldn't boot for the life of me.. Thanks again, and keep on making this stuff….

  • Colin

    All I want to do is boot vista32 on a flash drive. Not install. Would these instructions allow me to just boot up on vista with a different config than is on my PC currently?
    What I really want is to be able to book two different configurations (not 2 different Operating systems). I created a new boot BCD, but couldn't see how to make two different configs. So, I looked at booting from a flash drive. Any help would be appreciated.

    • I think google is going to be your friend here. I don’t really know anything about booting Windows off of disk or flash media, let alone booting it with different ‘configurations’.  I’m honestly not even sure what you mean there.  I just wrote up these instructions because it was hard for me to figure out how to create bootable installation flash drives.

  • Sacramento Rich

    Following you instructions, I was able to successfully make my 32gb Flash drive bootable. But I want to run Windows7 from my Flash drive. When I get to the “Where do you want to install Windows” screen, it doesn’t see the flash drive. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Mike

    Dude this is awesome, it even worked on a bit older pc that didn't have USB-HDD as an option, only FDD and ZIP, after following your steps my stick showed up as an ordinary HD and booted without problems :D
    Thanks a lot :D

  • Brandon

    HELP!!
    I goofed up, now when I try to open my flash drive in windows explorer it says that I need to format it, when I try to format it it gives me an error. The format window doesn't list the size either.

    Please help, I don't really know what I am doing, I'm just trying to follow instructions exactly to get it to work.

  • Telnets

    Dude…. I think I love you…

    :)

    Great blog, its rare to come across usefull information on the internet now adays :P

  • eddie

    i have a xp live cd i think is called bart PE cd is there a way to transfer that to usb bootable
    many thanks

  • Vic Vazz

    How do I restore the USB back to normal now? I'm trying to create a USB Boot for Ubuntu now and it won't boot.

    • Mike R

      for linux to see the usb stick you have to format it to fat32, linux cant read ntfs very well

    • juice

      use unetbootin for linux it will take your iso and auto matically make your usb the media for installation of ubuntu

  • Popux

    when i'm booting, i've got this error: missing operating system

    Can't understand.. i had my iso on microsoft site.
    i someone can try to help me it would be greatfull

    • jano

      i have the same problem, did you figured out what went wrong?

      • misterc

        same here. for some reason, it works perfectly on my laptop.
        I only get the message when i try to boot from my desktop.

        any help would be appreciated.

  • Soner Toraman

    Thanks a lot, i'm testing a lot of builts and now there is no need to burn them into DVDs or wait for 10-20mins. A fast memory card does the trick nicely.

  • greg

    I want to put both Win7 plus all my other apps and files on a Data Traveler 100 USB stick for travel. In this case would I format a bootable partition for Win7 and a separate partition for my apps/files? Can I use Disk Management utility to do the partition/format, then follow above steps to make the Win7 partiton bootable? I am told that multiple O.S. can be stored and booted from same USB with a boot manager, but I don't think I need that since I just want Win7 plus my apps/files so two partitions should be fine – one bootable, one not. NTFS format both?

    • racethesun

      You dont have to make two partitions, everything can go on one partition on the usb stick.

  • greg

    I want to put both Win7 plus all my other apps and files on a Data Traveler 100 USB stick for travel. In this case would I format a bootable partition for Win7 and a separate partition for my apps/files? Can I use Disk Management utility to do the partition/format, then follow above steps to make the Win7 partiton bootable? I am told that multiple O.S. can be stored and booted from same USB with a boot manager, but I don't think I need that since I just want Win7 plus my apps/files so two partitions should be fine – one bootable, one not. NTFS format both?

  • Rick

    This is a great write up, however the title is misleading. It reads like we can create, install and boot Vista/Windows 7 from a flash drive, rather than the hard drive. My only option is to install to the hard drive, but I can boot to the flash drive as if it were the DVD in the drive, and install it on the laptop's hard drive (in my case, my Mini 9)

  • ConMiMente

    If you are unable to get "list disk" to show your drive in windows XP use this site http://www.ntfs.com/quest22.htm to make ur USB drive NTFS then continue to step two as normal

  • fernando

    you are freaking awesome, great man i can do it

  • @Tony: I seek the same information, but all this stuff about bootable installers is diluting the useful information =/

  • doa_9

    fantastic info ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,thanks much !

  • Yo
    I`m now installing Windows 7 Ultimate to my MSI Wind u100 with my 4G USB.
    Thanks a lot man :D

  • Nick

    Argh, i'm so frustrated.

    I've tried this a few times and i just get 'a disk read error occured. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart'

    any idea's?

    • gregrocker

      I am getting the same thing on one p.c. that is real old and won't accept it's BIOS upgrade. I think it is the machine. Try it on another computer with updated BIOS and you might be surprised. I have used this method to install to 4 p.c.s and laptops.

  • Thank you so much for this guide. I've used it about 6 times.

  • Another method now is to use Ultra ISO (trial) and under Bootable tab, select Write to Drive and it will burn it like a disk, yet you can still put other files on there (like with this method) as long as you don't mess with the ISO files which must remain out in the root.

  • envador

    Thanks gregrocker!!! I'm doing this right now…. on an XP machine, my 4gb sony usb wasn't showing up with diskpart / list.
    UltraISO is writing the disc image to my usb drive right this moment!

  • gregrocker

    Also remember that you need to enable boot from USB drive in your BIOS. This can be tricky since an old BIOS may not be ready to recognize USB, so check for BIOS updates (try your manufacturers support page for your computer via 1)serial or 2)model; at Intel downloads you can check using your motherboard model; get motherboard and BIO's ID and version numbers using Belarc Advisor freeware. Also tricky is that many bios view flash USB as a hard drive, so you may need to look at your hard drive listings under Boot tab in BIOS to see if it recognizes your flash there. If so, set it as first boot, or look in the temporary F10 settings (on some mobos) which let you choose boot-up devices on a one-time basis.

  • BOZ

    Worked for me WITHOUT Vista/7. I formatted my flash drive with XP to Fat32 and then used the ISO/DVD bootsect like you said to make it bootable. Works like a charm.

  • Great howto, but I do find it ludicrous that you can do this in Ubuntu with a simple one click util that does it all, and people say that Linux is hard …. LOL.

    Yes using the command line does get things done ;-)

  • feren

    This was incredibly helpful, thank you so much for posting such a clear and concise guide on how to make a bootable USB drive with Windows 7!

  • Dean

    Hi, one thing i found was the need to set the boot order back to hdd after the first reboot…

  • lazz

    Hi everyone..
    I had just complete my windows 7 installation based on this guide..
    Well.. It is amazing because its really work for me..
    But i have a problem to format the usb drive to normal..
    I did the default format but it comes that my usb drive only have 3.7GB space..
    How to format the usb drive for it to have the original space that is 4GB???
    Please help me!!!
    TQ

  • wayner

    This worked for me to install Win7 on an older Dell GX260, but I can't get it to work on another PC. Whenever I try to boot from USB is says "Invalid Partition table". Since I was able to do an install off of this USB key could it be an issue with a BIOS setting? This PC has an Asus P4P800 mobo. Or could somehow the partition nave been made unactive?

    • Greg

      Not all computers will allow boot from USB. BIOS settings need to be studied carefully, Google to determine relevance. "Enable USB legacy support" and "Enable Boot from USB" are the obvious ones. Under the boot tab, USB must be selected as first boot device; it may be detected under HD and not "removable device." Some Bios offer first boot device in temporary settings booted off of F10 or such, often listed at boot up.

      If all attempts fail, check for a bios update for your model on manufacturer's support page – it will normally say something about USB in the change table if it applies to this issue. A last resort is the manufacturer of your bios model, determined by running Belarc Advisor freeware. Follow instructions carefully, take all backup precautions and determine in advance emergency recovery procedures for bios flash.

      You have already determined the USB stick will boot on another computer, so that doesn't seem to be the problem but if there were any question about the stick's bootability the best check is to resinstall using UltraISO's trial new Bootable>Write Disk Image options.

      • Greg

        To clarify, check for bios update first on your computer manufacturers support software download page. Last resort, check on bios manufacturer's page. Run the Belarc Advisor to determine BIOs model, then search the model; for example on an Intel board, you search for mobo software on Download Page. Your computer manufacturer may restrict some bios updates for proprietary reasons.

  • wayner

    This worked for me to install Win7 on an older Dell GX260, but I can't get it to work on another PC. Whenever I try to boot from USB is says "Invalid Partition table". Since I was able to do an install off of this USB key could it be an issue with a BIOS setting? This PC has an Asus P4P800 mobo. Or could somehow the partition nave been made unactive?

  • wayner

    I did that Greg – I was able to change the boot priority in my BIOS to boot from the USB key, but I still got the error. However I was able to boot on another Asus mobo – a P5K.

  • Phil

    I can't get XP 32 to recognize my flash drive by "list disk" in diskpart. It shows up in list volume, as somebody else mentioned on here. Converted to NTFS, still won't show. Don't know how else to make it bootable. Also tried the link given by dhowdy (eeeguides.com…), when I use the programs suggested, the format fails. At a loss as to what else I can do. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • exad

      Use MBRwiz just google it. It will allow you to make your flash drive bootable in xp 32. Diskpart only works in vista or windows 7

  • Dave

    worked for me – HP Mini 1000 running Win 7 now! Rocks almighty ! Now I just need to figure out how to get the webcam to work.

  • wekebu

    Excellent guide! Followed it and I now have a dual-booting msi wind u123! Thank you so much. This guide was the one that made sense, and I've read many others.

    Thank you, thank you! Even my hubby is impressed.

  • Tim

    if that method didnt work…

    this gives very detailed instructions on how to do it

    thakn you so much! you saved me a loooot of time! much appreciated

  • Joe

    Thank you so much! This is exactly what i was looking for. After an eternity (i mean it) of searching how to do this, i still could not find how to make the usb bootable. You are great, thank you!

  • Cyb

    Step 3 doesnt work.
    My USB-Stick ist H:
    I have a copy of the Install-disk on my HardDrive so i insert:
    cd Win7CD
    cd boot
    bootsect / nt60 H:

    Output:
    Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.
    Could not map drive partitions to set the associated volume device object:
    access denied

    Please help me

  • Cyb

    Forgett my last post.
    It works also even with the failure message
    Thanks to you

  • vloz

    Excellent guide, worked perfectly for me with Lacie 8GB USB stick.
    Using it to upgrade Asus EeePC1000 from XP to Win7.
    Installation proceeding – slowly…

  • James

    Can't find CD/DVD driver error appears after booting from flash drive. I tried going to Windows drivers but no luck with the one that shows up. Anybody else have this problem. I've tried to boot from my original Windows RC disk, but I can't do it?

  • Deborah

    Thank You for such detailed instructions on creating the bootable flash, however my laptop has Vista pre-installed, so I do not have the Vista OS disk…. How can I proceed without it????

  • greg

    No need for Vista disk. Just download UltraISO trial and load the Windows 7 ISO, then from Bootable tab select "Write Disk Image" to your USB flash and it will format and install Win7 installer on your USB. Works every time. The above comments handle almost every other possible hitch.

  • Simon

    Does this mean that we can`t acually run Win 7 from the usb stick, like Linux, OSX, Solaris etc , but the only option is to install to an NTFS partition on your hard drive…?

  • @Deborah – If you extract the ISO to a DVD you will have a Win7 disc, which will have bootsect on it :)
    Just finishing installing it on my new Samsung N110, thank you very much!

  • Art

    Thanks for this great guide!

    My mom got an Dell PC from her boss who was replaced them with newer ones. They deleted everything on it, even the partition! So I had to put the harddrive in my Vista PC and there I created the partition. After putting it back it said bootmgr missing.

    And somehow the BIOS was messed up that it couldn't start the Windows 7 DVD. But I'm so happy I found this guide, now I am installing it from my 4GB flash drive!

    Thanks.

  • Joe

    I followed the guide but got an error:

    "Windows failed to boot" "File: bootbootbcd"

    Seems like the usb is bootable, but the second level mbr is not properly set by the command "bootsect /nt60 g:"

    I am running Windows 7 64bit, and I am trying to create a newer Windows 7 build, but it's 32bit. Maybe working under 64bits and 32bits is not a good idea. That's the most suspicious thing I could think.

  • jade

    Hi. im pretty sure i did all the steps correctly and got the usb bootable drive working. Im trying to install it to my dell mini 9 but got stuck till the part of WHERE i'm suppose to install it. there were 2 options in the setup; 1) partition 0 (OEM something2…) which is less than 1gb and another 2) partition 0 (system) with 14.3 gb. and i cant proceed. Did i miss something? I'm totally lost. right now, im googling to find some answers. Would be great if anyone could help me out please.

    • Your best option would be to use the 14.3 GB partition and leave the smaller one alone. The smaller one likely contains the Dell recovery/diagnostics tools which I've found (marginally) useful. If you really want/need all the space, delete all the partitions and start fresh.

  • window 7

    use with ultraiso

  • Elias

    When i try to load windos vista to a flash drive it ask to select the drive but the only drive listed is drive 0 and partition D . Disk 1 (usb) is not listed , Never the less is listed in the bios.

    Thanks.

  • baba

    my motherboard is asus m2nmx this motherboard is booting pendrive

  • mcxtn

    hey thanks, i badly needed this instructions..

  • aneesh

    i have windows 7 non bootable dvd
    crate bootable dvd in nero
    but i hve not boot image
    plse where have boot image microsoft.img or ima file

  • I had the same problem where it didn't show the usb as a drive in list disk. I have found a workaround- type "convert [drive letter] /fs:ntfs". This formats the drive to ntfs without deleting any files already on the drive. Sorry, this cannot be undone.

  • ServiceStud

    Thank you. This is by far the fastest and most concise walkthrough I have seen, as well as the only one that has worked for me. You, sir, deserve eCookies.

  • hemi

    Thanks man, this worked great

  • k1d

    Great build, using it about a year. Simple and perfect instructions also included.

    http://depositfiles.com/ru/files/kcnd005tt

    - Best Windows XP usb flash edition 2009.

  • ardeshir

    thanks dude
    it helps me, have fun

  • Renegade

    Well… I was nearly going mad looking for this guide in the net! … These days it is really hard to find good solutions for any problem!!…

    If you ever are in the area of Stuttgart, Germany give me a call and I'll invite you to a good beer!! — +4917RENEGADE

    THX

  • Simply2Easy

    I did all the steps and i could not get it to boot until I copy the name of disc over to the USB drive and then it booted.

    Thanks

  • fry

    my flash drive isnt a disk its a volume so i cant clean it how do you make it a disk?

  • Maolin

    I did this the other day and it worked fine to format NTFS. Today I am trying to do it again, and it won't let me format NTFS. It seems this process if for installing Vista/Windows 7 FROM a USB drive, and I want to install Vista/Windows 7 ON a USB drive. There has got to be a way to do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hi Kevin,
    Thank you for a easy to follow guide for this bootdisk – i did this from an WIN XP installation and got a great result, no different from Vista, but I dont know as i dont have a Vista Box, :)

    Best regards

    Jesper Werge

  • I tried using this method but it gave me a problem. I keep getting "select driver to install" error message. its asking me to select some DVD drivers. what the hell is that ?

  • Thank you very much!

    Tell me when you have the chance to drop by Manila. I'll buy you beer!

  • hajir

    i have a dell mini 9 also i've installed win vista on it and it was working fine , bu after installing LAN card driver i booted but it didn't boot with the message " operating system not found " when i tried to install it again the vista setup couldn't find my HDD ( it's a SCC 8gb HDD) , so i installed xp sp3 which came with the laptop .

    now i want to know if your windows 7 works properly i go for it also , thanks .

  • hajir

    i have a dell mini 9 also i've installed win vista on it and it was working fine , bu after installing LAN card driver i booted but it didn't boot with the message " operating system not found " when i tried to install it again the vista setup couldn't find my HDD ( it's a SCC 8gb HDD) , so i installed xp sp3 which came with the laptop .

  • usb user

    Thank you very much for this guide :) I have used this a few times and it always works with vista and win 7 :)

    So again thanks :D

  • no CDdrive

    1. Insert your Windows Vista / 7 DVD into your drive.
    2. Change directory to the DVD’s boot directory where bootsect lives:
    d:
    cd d:boot

    Ok so with these steps it sounds like your cd drive has to be working but mine is not, hence why I want to boot from the usb. Am I wrong in assuming this? Can I do these steps on another computer and then use the usb on the one that has the broken cd drive on it? Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • John

    Can I do this and then clone my SATA C:/ drive to the flash drive and essentially have a working plugin backup of my hard drive or are additional steps necessary?

  • Adam

    I'm currently running Vista 32 bit and have downloaded a copy of Win 7. The following instructions work really well for me until I get to bootsect /nt60 l: I get the following error – "This version of j:bootbootsect.exe is not compatiable with the version of Windows you're running. Check your computer's system information to see whether you need a x86 or x64 bit version of the program and then contact the software publisher."

    Any suggestions? And thanks for the awesome guide!

    • You likely are running a 32-bit Vista and trying to run the 64-bit version of bootsect. You need to have the 32-bit version of bootsect.
      Kevin

      • Adam

        I figured that was probably my problem. For the life of me I can't find a bootsect for windows 32 Vista. Do you know where a 32 bit version is avaliable?

        Adam

  • Peter

    I get "BOOTMGR is missing" when it tries to boot off my 4gb sony usb drive? Any ideas?

    Cheers

  • After following your instructions was able to make a 4gb bootable. However after doing that my 400gb flash drive does not display under the "computer" section and the shortcut on the desktop says drive not available. In control panel under hardware it is listed as a "drive" and the info panel says it is operating properly. Is there anything I might of done to mess this drive up? Any help would be appreciated.

  • Anshul

    You are awesome.Thank you so much for making it so easy.

  • oldBear

    You are the man! Had done this some months back but when I went to do it for another usb I searched forever, trying any number of approaches which didn't work, until I found yours.

    Great work.

    oldBear

  • Robert

    EXCELENT! Finally a simple approach! Thanks

  • core81

    Thanks…
    now i can install my old laptop without any problem from my dvd rom.

    thanks

  • frlz

    these instructions kinda suck. first of all, just right click the usb flash drive and format the drive using windows. this command line diskpart crap is pointless, and just made me start a FULL format of a 16gb usb flash drive. not cool man. secondly, most people have windows 7 iso images, not dvds. extract the boot folder from the iso using winrar, and use the command in the instructions. then extract the entire iso onto the usb flash drive.

  • dharmendra

    thx buddy it worked perfactly,thanks a lot

  • Thanks, I always forget how to do this. I need to memorize this process, I install my OS about once every couple months :)

  • michelle

    Thank you very much.The method works

  • sailya

    thnxxxxxxx broooo….

  • mark

    I keep getting error messages about a corrupted file and to make sure i have all the sources. I give up!! any ideas?? anyone??

  • Joshua

    great tutorial but i got messed up when trying to move to the D drive. I looked it up and CD is change directory. to move to another drive u just type the letter.

  • D'mo

    Pls i need an audio drivers for my Windows 7 OS on a dell optiplex desktop system

  • eric

    Sir ,the tutorial is great and tried it bothh vista&win7.Can you do it in one usb hard drive?

  • cyano

    Thanks a million! By far the clearest and simpliest instruction I have come across and it works!!

  • Jas

    I have XP pro running on my pc and did not get past the line 'list disk'. Only my hard drive is showinga and no other disks… cant figure out what im doing wrong.
    I have entered the command prompt as an administrator and followed the instructions but only see one disk which is my hard drive and no other usb or cd-dvd drives.
    Any thourghts…

  • Steve

    Just to let you know that this works with a 2GB flash drive as well. I used vlite to reduce the size of a Windows 7 installation to around 1.5GB. vlite isn't totally compatible with Win7 yet, but if you take it easy on what you remove from the default installation, then it works fine.

  • Lars Jensen

    THANK YOU LORD!
    I've been looking for this on/off over the last weeks and couldn't believe there was no simple guide anywhere to do this – after all, I could possibly not be the only one wanting to do this.
    Easy steps – well written, thorough guide. Thank you!

    Now I'll go ahead installing Windows 7 on my Asus Eee 1000.

  • ifixpcs

    I want to boot my laptop from an external source other than my onboard hard drive. I disabled my onboard drive and selected to system to boot from my external source. Everything goes well until after the Windows startup screen. It appears when it gets to loading a certain driver the system crashes and reboots. I've tried it in all modes ex. SAFE MODE. Please help! I know that this can be done.

  • canibal

    Hello! Please help me to do boot flash drive for xp x32 bit !!!

  • Unlike the various canned tools I tried, this actually works if you're preparing the USB stick on Window 7. Thanks Kevin.

  • Pardeep

    @racethesun

    Thanks! Your instructions to convert fat32 to ntfs on windows xp worked like a charm.
    Now, I can create a windows 7 bootable usb from xp too and it worked.

    Thanks
    Pardeep

  • Enrique

    I went through these steps and successfully created a bootable drive, however one small problem – I'm running 64-bit Vista on my main system, and I'd like my boot drive to be 32-bit. My install CD says it's for both versions, but when I tried the boot drive on my laptop, it said it was 64-bit (and my laptop is 32). Any ideas here?

  • skeet

    if you follow the instructions it works….
    i have all of the files extracted from the disk and you can skip step two
    you just skip step two and drag and drop
    if you cant get it to work… you shouldnt be on a computer

  • Jonathan

    After I use the bootsect.exe /nt60 g: it doesn't show something like it completed or any activity was successful… it just says type bootsect /help to learn how to use it.

    How come?

  • Alon

    thanks ! finally was able to boot from flash after many tries with all kinds of dos and FAT16 bulllshit over the web.
    Now the big question is how do i install win7 on a USB flash drive and get rid of my HD? is possible to run free HDD Laptop like knoppix? Tx

  • alver

    THANKS a lot!!!

  • Apes

    don't know if this will help anyone.. but there is a command in diskpart that you can use : list volume and it will show everything when list disk doesnt.

  • Vinay

    I have a 200 GB ext hd. I want to make it a USB windows 7 installer, plus use it as a normal portable drive. What do i do to do that? coz if i follow whats given here, i can use my ext drive only for booting installer.

  • Noam

    I tried using this method with my antique 4GB ipod nano. First with ntfs, then with fat32 (Took much longer to copy the dvd files unto the usb drive). Still can't get the computer to boot from the usb.

    My bios has usb fdd/zip/cdrom/hdd options, but neither works. I also tried just using the boot menu (f12), and everyime I get win xp booting from my hard drive, even when it is not enabled anywhere in the bios boot order.

    I've been trying the usb approach after every try I've made with dvd ended with error 0×80070570, even though I am %100 sure my medias were ok, and so is the dvd drive (Used the exact same media elsewhere, and tried connecting a drive that I used elsewhere also).

    Anyone here has any more tips for me? Why can't I boot from my ipod?

  • n3m3s1s666

    Ive looked at other instructions and I been stuck at boosect for the past hour. mine somehow seems to open and close. How in thew fuck am I doing this wrong. I even tried to use usbprep8 and it was fuckin hopeless.

  • Mr. X

    Thank you Kevin! You are AWESOME!

  • tran

    step 3: What files (Vista CD)do we need to your USB? thx

  • Luis

    Thanks a lot Kevin, this worked perfectly.

  • lakshmesha

    nice one. was a life saver for me after cd drive went bad

  • Naim

    Hi
    I'm from Iran.
    It was verry useful information for me.
    Thanks alot

  • nate

    Thanks a ton for posting this! Works perfectly!

  • Anonymous

    Can you put Linux on a usb drive too? Is there a way to put the iso file on the flash drive instead of buring a dvd and then doing this procedure?

  • salim

    i have 2 hard disk's 120+160 GB when i use list disk it show my 2 hard disk no usb drive now ?

  • chicken-

    Great guide, but is there any way to make this do a quick format rather than waiting a few minutes for it to fully format the usb drive? Kind of defeats the time saving sitting here waiting for it to format lol.

  • ws_arai

    Thanks, it helps a lot!!
    Anyway is it possible for WinXP also to make bootable in USB Flash Drive???

    • exad

      Yes it is but you need to use MBRwiz just google it. You'll find it. There's also directions for using it on a windows 7 usb installer if you google it.

  • You are a real Genius!!!
    Best guide EVER
    You rock MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rizzla

    This gude looks good, hope it works for virtuell dvd's mounted with daemon too. I will try shortly, still in the format part… I will let you know how it goes

  • godbod

    wicked just wicked – have been though all sorts of rubbish. This just worked ( once i run CMD with admin perms ! ) cheers m8

  • betti154

    Awesome. thanks!

  • Vince

    One of the few places where the directions work as indicated… GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!

  • somebody

    T H A N K Y O U ! ! !

  • Anubis

    can i seperate the file into two parts… like usb(1) and usb(2) for installing?

  • Emre Soytekin

    My god, thank you very much, this post of yours helped me very very much :)

  • wwwwwww

    THANKYOU SO MUCH YOU ARE A TRUE GENIUS

  • Jin

    Great Guide, my thanks, easy and fast, the way people want it. :D

  • Jerry

    Thanks for you guide, this has helped me alot in installing windows 7 via a usb stick.

  • vigor

    done with boot part. Getting windows 7 ISO. I have vista home premium, from the HP laptop provider, which is crashing day in day out. So moving to windows 7. Also my dvd writer of the laptop is not working, so no option to installing through the dvds for now. If it works then fine, else I will get the dvds burned from somewhere.

  • Can i do the sam for installing xp from usb (while running vista)?

  • John

    Very useful! – Thanks

  • sid

    at last step of executing bootsect.exe / nt60 g: it state error that cannot create sectors. how can i overcome that?

  • Broke a laptop on the road and had to re-install onto a bulgarian Dell. You rock!

  • lakemcdougall

    instructions worked like a charm. brings back memories of the good old MS-DOS days and Windows 3.11 on diskettes. thanks for sharing your expertise at what seems to be a dying art.

  • Patrick

    Anyone noticed that formatting in the command screen takes fuckin ages? Pretty weird, cus when u format in windows or when installing a windows, it only takes seconds.

  • Angel

    Wow, thanks!!! This is something really useful…

  • Cougar

    If you get an access denied msg with disk part or bootsect, open cmd prompt as admin. I put a shortcut on desktop form cmd and right clicked it. The menu will have an option for run as administrator

  • jose

    En español: muchas gracias;

    Thanks very much;

  • Athoz

    This was the fastest way to do and with the minimum programs required. Worked fine for me. Thank you !

  • caleb

    This guide was great!
    However, as I have windows Xp and I could not find the number of my usb stick, I needed to download the hp usb storage format tool found at http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64963-o… to format the usb stick.

    If you are having the same problem. Format your disk with the hp tool which works with any computer instead and then carry on with the guide.

  • win32-towin64

    e:boot>bootsect /nt60 f:
    This version of e:bootbootsect.exe is not compatible with the version of Windo
    ws you're running. Check your computer's system information to see whether you n
    eed a x86 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) version of the program, and then contact the
    software publisher.

  • Homeslice

    it says I was successful in creating the bootable USB drive but if I open my USB drive there is nothing there. Is there supposed to be the boot files on there? I didn't copy the DVD to this USB drive yet as I wanted to know about this?

  • Chris

    YOU ROCK!!!! thanx

  • Awesome Post. Just installing Windows 7 now. Thanks heaps for the help, saved me many headaches

  • Benny

    Thank you so much! I was stuck with a blinking cursor when attempting to boot from my USB drive but I guess the USB drive just wasn't bootable. That is until I found this post. Thanks again!

  • Guest

    Does this usb need to be created on the same box that is being upgraded?

  • Yardboy

    Thanks so much.

  • Bruce & Mike

    you are a gentleman and a scholar, Thanks from Bruce & Mike

  • Shah

    hey shall i copy all the files means even the boot files from the os dvd to the usb and does boot file of every os is same or different

  • makk

    hey…i have win 7 installed on my pc. n now i want to get vista back from the recovery partition.i do have the recovery discs but dey dont work since my dvd drive aint working.
    is dere ny way???
    plzz help…

  • Yours is nice.. I did this and then i came to know about this tool.

    http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/10/26/windows-

  • Mini User

    worked great! thanks! installed win7 on dell Mini 10.

  • Joe Venture

    Hi, are there any additional steps for performing this with Win 7 installation that has been purchased and downloaded from the Microsoft store, instead of coming from DVD?

  • dooby

    Is Step 1 mainly creating a partition on the flash drive and formatting it to NTFS?

    By The Way: AMAZING, THIS IS!! A Bootable Windows 7 and/or Vista!!

  • Mose

    when i'm done diskpart and after that list disk ,,i cann't find my disk drivein the list???.Although i had formated as fat32?????why??.thanks4 help

  • Fellow

    For those wondering how to format your stick with the quick option, the command is as follows:

    format fs=ntfs quick

    Thanks alot for the guide!

  • rob

    Is the point of this to temporarily boot off the USB as opposed to the Hard drive? If so, I suppose that would be a good way to give Windows 7 a test drive :)

  • Scott Wuji

    Would this work as-is for Windows XP Home Edition SP3 for Ultra Low Cost PCs?

  • SSHv2

    Worked like a charm! Thank you for the nice tips!

  • aldy

    succesfully boot from the usb but there's a message : operating system not found

    any idea?

  • Will

    Thanks very much for this quick, easy, handy procedure!

  • fely

    Very clear instructions and very well explained. Thank you very much for the info.

  • Chuck

    Any way to make it a quick format instead of having to wait all that time for it to do a full format on the usb stick?

  • Brad

    "list disk" displays my three hard drives. It does not list my USB drive.

  • Ryan

    YOUR A GENIUS

  • Shane

    Really Silly question: Can I have a single 8GB USB bootable stick for both Windows 7 and Windows 2008 installations? Appreciate your help.
    Shane

  • Kenny

    Hey I followed the instructions up til the point were I have to use the boot sect. I used the "bootsect /nt60 g:" but I got the following error

    Drive g: maps to volume DeviceSCDEmuSCDEmuCd0.
    This volume does not appear to connect to any disk partitions. Volume bootcode
    is always unused in the absence of associated partitions.

    so I went to "My computer" and realized it was a assigned a different letter "j"
    , so I entered "bootsect/ nt60 j:" and it said that it was successful. so my question is Did I do it right?

  • xfatherjack

    Great post. I followed you instructions.
    It allowed me to INSTALL Win7 on to a USB, Now I can INSTALL Win7 from my USB.
    What I wanted to do was to BOOT from my USB, with Win7 INSTALLED on the USB (as if there was NO HARD-Drive in my computer) ANY IDEAS!!!
    Thanks.

    • Patanjali

      No, you didn't install Win 7 on the USB, but just made the USB bootable and duplicated the Win 7 install files to the USB.

      You need another USB to actually install to, though I suspect that Windows would run very slow, as USB keys do not have good read and write times, and assuming you have enough GBs to run in (like 16GB+).

  • BradE

    Sweeet! apprec maaan!

  • andrew

    worked wonderfully!

  • imran

    this guy… is THE BEST

  • dfr

    Did anyone have any success with this?
    I do everything as instructed but I end up getting the "error reading boot/bsc" message when the computer tries to boot from the USB.

  • Devin

    Clearly laid out and well easy to follow. Good job.

  • Fantastic – Am now running Windows 7 Ultimate on my Acer Aspire one 751h. So far, running way smoother than Vista Basic was!

    I didnt even need to boot onto the USB drive – I ran the Setup.exe from the USB drive right in Vista, chose a custom install, selected the main drive, and it installed without any issues at all.

    Way easier than I thought it would be.

  • catfish

    Wont work. It gives a disk read error when trying to boot.

  • Ronald Kelly

    Hello Kevin. I recently purchased an HP Pavilion dm3 laptop with no optical drive but with Windows 7 Premium. Instead of making Recovery Disks I wanted to put the recovery info on a Flash Drive and make it bootable. The salesman said this can be done. Any idea how I can do this. My computer did not have a copy of the Windows 7 CD.

  • Lay puthy

    Thank so much! I follow your instruction throw step Bootsect i can not complete it. It shows me the message "Could not map drive partition to associated volume device object: Access is denied. " I'm stuck on this step. So anyone please help me how can i complete it.
    Please kindly reply me. Thank @@

  • Igor

    any ideas if i run XP? because the usb disk no. does not show.. although i know it is 2, the step SELECT DISC x does not work…

  • Michael

    Good Man.

    That is whats known as "A Professional"

    Any person with common sense would consider that an easy lesson learnt.

    Thank You for your help.

  • eddy

    Thank so much! I follow your instruction throw step Bootsect i can not complete it. It shows me the message "Could not map drive partition to associated volume device object: Access is denied. " I'm stuck on this step. So anyone please help me how can i complete it.
    Please kindly reply me. Thank @@

    copy the bootsect program from the boot folder to C: drive….

    after that in cmd, type cd c: to go auto route to C drive
    and follow the instruction…

    bootsect /nt60 g: (as that g is the driver ur usb is in ..) hope it help

  • This is the best and correct way to make a bootable windows 7 USB :)
    Thank you very much

  • Guesst

    This worked, and the install process took a LONG time.

    It said it would restart a few times, so I go back to see what progress it has made, and the thing has restarted to the BEGINNING of the install process.

    Any ideas?

    • Assuming that you mean the Windows 7 install, then, yes it an take a long time… I'm not an expert in it, but I've seen it take an hour on some systems and four on others. There are always 3 restarts (I think) and that shouldn't change. I highly doubt it restarted from the beginning (it can't) it probably just took a long time.

  • DNA

    Use UltraISO, it's much simple:

    1. run UltraISO as administrator.
    2. mount your windows image using virtual cd.
    3. in UltraISO click 'File'->'Open CD/DVD…', then select the mounted drive and press 'Open'.
    4. click 'Bootable'->'Write Disk Image…'.
    5. in "Disk Drive", select your flash stick drive. in "Write Method" select 'USB-HDD+'.
    6. Click on "Write" button, wait until it end. and that's it.

    Enjoy.

    DNA

    • Thanks, DNA. I haven't tried this method myself but I've heard others have had success with this. I'll try it myself and see what kind of success I have. If it works, I'll update the main post with instructions.

  • Roger UK

    This process got my advent notebook running again. Many thanks, the supposed "tech guys" were useless and many google results don't help. your way was simple, well explained and worked first time. The best!
    Roger UK

  • Igor

    does not work for me.. usb 8gb formatted in NTFS ( successfully formated partition using GPARTed), as the DISKPART does not show my usb in DISK LIST (although it is shown in VOLUME LIST (?!) used the tip shown here (the BOOTSECT part) everything is successful until the booting.. NO BOOTABLE PARTITION IN TABLE shown again…

    Any solution for this?
    I really think it would be very nice to install a Win7 for no more than 20 min ;) , so i need this :)

    • Igor

      I MUST SAY.. I'm using XP for making all of the above.. if this is the error, could anyone explain how to do this in XP…

  • Igor

    I found a solution using Gparted! (if DISK LIST does not list your USB)
    recomended:
    1.USB 2G formated in FAT32 **it has ti be FAT for the gparted program.
    2. A 4G USB (optim. for PERFORMANCE for NTFS FORMAT capability.
    3. Gparted *i did this with it
    get it here:
    http://gparted.sourceforge.net/download.php
    4. follow my instructions:

    - Unzip the Gparted on the 2G usb *FAT32
    - go to utils, win32 and run file named MAKEBOOT.bat
    - restart and boot pc wia this usb
    - Gpart will boot, and You should now insert the other USB (4GB)
    - refresh, select THE 4GB usb (beware if you select the 2GB usb or your HDD you could get in real trouble!!
    - Create a partition table
    - New Partition – Primary, NTFS
    - APPLY
    - again, select the 4GB usb, EDIT FLAGS: select BOOT
    - APPLY, RESTART, take out the 2GB usb.
    - Boot in Win as usual.
    - This is the moment You follow STEP 2 and STEP 3 from this article.

    You should have Your Win7//Vista ready on your USB ;)

    Hope this settles it.. it did for me though..

  • Chaz

    I followed these steps to a T and when I booted up on my 16GB flash drive it gave the error DISK READ ERROR press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart…what gives? The only thing diffrent is I did all of the steps on a VISTA machine but copied the files from the DVD to the USB drive using Windows XP..any thoughts?

  • Dog

    Great post. It worked a treat. Interestingly, I used this to create a Hyper-V 2008 R2 USB setup disk. Instead of using the Bootsect file from a Vista disk I used the one from the Hyper V disk just incase.

  • Patanjali

    VistaGuyRay in the 'Boot to Command Prompt?' thread at Microsoft TechNet indicated that pressing Shift + F10 at the Install Windows opens a Command window.

    There you can use diskpart.exe to create and format custom partitions, like with 64kB sectors and align of 64, for non-removable or non-SATA SSDs in laptops like the Vaio P or netbooks.

    • Patanjali

      Just to clarify this.

      You make the USB Key, and when you boot from that and get the Install Windows dialog, press Shift + F10 to do your custom stuff.

      Press F2 at boot up on a Sony Vaio P to get to the BIOS (H2) to change Boot order.

      • Strange thing, i prepared external usb hard drive with W7, but trying to boot on VAIO P from External Device cause me an "Missing operating system" message. The same time, my desktop boots from this USB drive successfully.
        Any ideas?

        • Patanjali

          Did you change the boot order in the BIOS. Press F2 during bootup.

          You can even run Win 7 with Aero, but just need to disable some things in the Visual Effects panel of the Performance Options dialog box (Computer > Properties > Performance Information anf Tools > Adjust Visual Effects), like 'Animate windows when minimising and maximising', 'Slide open combo boxes' and any other CPU-intensive visual effects, OR just select the Bsic theme.

          The only drivers that need to be installed are the video, which you can download from the Sony P series sites. Just DON'T install any of the sony stuff as they are real resource hogs.

  • zucateh

    when i boot from the usb i get the message :" reboor and select proper boot device or onsert boot media in selscted device and press a key "
    where did i go wrong ?

  • Matthew

    Thank you very much!!! I love you sosososososososo much!!!!

  • John

    would this work for a windows xp?????

  • Dr Ork

    This worked flawlessly for me on a MSI wind 210. Thanks, it's a pleasure when something written actually works as written :)

  • Scott

    I am looking to simply flash my bios to upgrade it (Vista). However, my computer did not have any DVDs with it as Vista was preinstalled by Gateway. Where can if find the boot files needed to make my USB bootable?

  • Serge

    Hi,
    I followed your instructions to the letter.
    Every thing goes fine. No error messages.
    But at booting time, the message "BOOTMGR is missing" appears.
    Do you have any idea on the cause? and solution?
    Thanks,

  • scorpioleuven

    Congratulations kmwoley for this brilliant & genial tip.
    I tried to do the same with Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool but i failed.
    I just appplied your method and it works !
    The installation of Windows 7 runs much faster than with the DVD.
    Thanks a lot again.

  • chemikus

    super :-)

  • RAPel

    Hi.
    The procedure seems really working.
    One just little comment (it saved me 15 minutes):
    -while using diskpart-
    FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK

  • aayush

    i am not able to bootsect 64 bit DVD in my 32 bit Os. :(

  • Srook

    thank you very much for this :)
    for those having 32-bit OS and trying to bootsect 64-bit DVD.. had a same problem.. so, instead of running bootsect from 64-bit DVD, i mounted 32-bit Vista… after that copied the files from win7 DVD.. worked like a charm.. you should be able to do the same with 32-bit win7…

  • elo

    wont let me map to partition to associated volume device

  • Ancalagon

    Hi. Awesome post!

    Do you know how to create a bootable USB drive that will boot to a command prompt like bootable floppies used to?

    I ask b/c as part of the instructions to update my BIOS here:

    (click the how to update icon)
    http://www.asrock.com/MB/download.asp?Model=X58%2

    it says to create a bootable system USB drive, then assumes after booting you'll be at an a: prompt (like when one used to boot from a floppy in the old days :) ).

    Trouble is when I boot with the USB drive I created with your help, Windows starts and tries to re-install itself.

    Thanks for the help!!

  • scott

    Excellent this it works perfect with windows 7 pro and ultimate

  • ajeet

    bravo..u just saved me from all the hasels..
    thank you..

  • amin

    thank you my friend

  • Eric

    Thanks! That worked as advertised!

  • Sam

    Dude, this is brilliant.
    Thank you

  • holaymolay

    Used these instructions for windows 7 ultimate and it worked like a charm.

  • chad

    Your instructions are a little misleading in step # 4:

    I assume you Replace the number "1" ONLY in the 'select disk' command… but partition 1 is assumed to be used no matter what the disk is numbered:

    4.Format the drive by typing the next instructions into the same window. Replace the number “1” with the number of your disk below.
    select disk 1
    clean
    create partition primary
    select partition 1

    • Professor Plum

      Correct.

      When you use 'create partition primary' it will create a single partition on the SELECTED device utilising the maximum useable space available. That partition will always be partition number 1.

  • Taisir

    really , you are a genius
    many thanks

  • west

    Awesome thanks.

  • Eddie

    HeHe, workt grate for me men , Thanks :)

  • tronicsmasta

    Thank you much!!!!
    Quick format:

    format fs=NTFS QUICK

  • Please Help

    Hi,
    Please help !!! Here what I have done:
    1.Download Windows 7 iso file,which I put it in isoBuster and extracted.
    2.Coz I have listen it is better to make clean instalation,I bought new WD external HDD-Passport Studio 500 Gb and put it all information from my PC to HDD (around 90Gb very important data + windows 7 of course)!
    3.I run "cmd" and get in DOS
    - "diskpart"
    - "list disk”
    - select disk 1
    - clean…
    After i wrote "clean",I discconect usb cable,coz I afraid-what does "clean" means!!??
    For god sake-i have all informations from last 6 years on my external hard disk…

    Now,my WD doesn`t work,everything is ok in "drive manager",when i conecct usb cable there is the external usb hard drive showed up on the Safely Remove Hardware list right down,but I can not enter into the disk-inside and I am so affraid and desperate and don`t know what to do…
    How you can see,I am bigginer,but please tell me what is the best solution for me to do now and to don`t lose my data on WD (if i already didn`t lost :(
    Please,please help-with days I don`t know what to do….
    My e-mail is via_makedonia yahoo dot com
    What I have tried:
    coneccting my WD with 3 dieferent cables-usb and firewire in dieferent ports.
    installing drivers from wd site

    When I check Device Manager it shows that the device is installed and working properly but it will not show in "my computer" and I can't access it.
    before the problem,my HDD appeard as drive H:
    I wouldn't be half as frustrated if it hadn't been working properly before this.Plus-ALL data is on my HDD,and I don`t even know if it is still there :(

    I do it this:
    2 Step Solution for XP users:
    Part 1:
    Go to
    Control panel -> Performance and Maintenance (cannot be in classic view to see this link) -> Administrator Tools -> Services -> Universal Plug and Play
    If Universal Plug and Play is set to manual switch to automatic.
    Part 2
    Double Click Safely Remove icon on the bottom right-> Select device->click Properties -> click Volumes -> click Populate -> hit OK -> if nothing shows it may need to be formatted

    Also i was in DISK MANAGEMENT,but except formating disk,I don`t see solution :(
    And formating will erase all data on the disk,isn`t it?! (if i have it,of course).
    again nothing :( :(

    Thanks in advance !!!!!!

  • Patanjali

    You may have zapped your WD HD. That is, deleted the partition, which is why the drive is listed but you cannot go to it.

    This may be because you may not have changed the '1' in 'select disk 1' to that of your USB key, as stated in the instructions.

    Isn't there still the ORIGINAL of your data on the internal drive in your computer as you have NOT installed anything as yet?

    As you are a beginner, I would STOP TRYING to do anything about it yourself and take the drive to a DATA RECOVERY SHOP. It may possible to recover the contents as the data may all be still there but the partition markers have been deleted.

    • Vlatko

      Unfortunatly NO :
      I put it all information from my PC to HDD (around 90Gb very important data),because I want to do clean installation from XP to windows 7 :(
      I DON`T CARE ABOUT PC-IT IS EMPTY NOW,AND I DON`T CARE ABOUT XP,OR WINDOWS 7,JUST DATA ON MY WD IS IMPORTANT NOW AND HOW TO OPEN THAT DATA AND IS DATA THERE ON IT?!
      It will be everything ok if I re-install Windows xp ?!(I have bootable XP disk)
      Or if I repair Windows XP through installation process?
      Do I have problem with MBR ?
      Should I format my WD ?
      Common,I am sure that there must be way to solve the problem with my external disk to open my data or if the disk is empty to return/recover the data somehow!
      Thanks in advance again and also thanks for the advice you gave me in second post !!!!!!

      • Patanjali

        Just to be double sure: You deleted the data in your computer after copying it to the WD?

        If so, I will not mince my words here!

        If the data is really that important to you, DO NOT risk it any more by trying advice out. You may put it more at risk.

        It may be costly to get data recovery professional to do it, but they will have the opportunity to check the current status of the data using specialised equipment and software and advise you of the chances of recovery. Something that you or we cannot really do now. No more playing around, pay the money and learn from your mistake.

  • Patanjali

    As a beginner, you should:

    - NOT attempt such processes as you are working at a very low level where mistakes can be costly. If you do not understand the consequences of each step, do NOT do them.

    - Read instructions CAREFULLY – again, if you do not understand, do NOT even start to do them.

    - If doing any such critical activities, keep a COPY of all your data on a drive that is DISCONNECTED from your computer at that time.

    - Follow the rule:
    Data is not safe unless it is on two different devices, preferably three with one elsewhere.
    Once the internal drive was reformatted, you would have had only ONE copy of your DATA anyway – this is not safe for critical data.

  • Downloaded Windows 7 .iso off the net and want to install from USB key on old laptop (previously/still running XP) that has no CD/DVD drive. Here's what I've got so far:

    * Read the instructions in this post: http://kmwoley.com/blog/?p=345 , which were quite straight forward and clear.
    * Properly formatted USB key with another laptop (this one running vista), also with no DVD drive
    * wasn't sure how to make the USB bootable, since my .iso was downloaded and I have no DVD drive.

    Any help would be much appreciated!!

    Thanks,

    Travis

    • Patanjali

      If you followed the instructions properly, the USB will be bootable, but you need to extract the files from the .iso file to the USB to use it to install from.

      Undisker is supposedly a utility that can do it.

      However, if you know someone that has Win 7 and a DVD burner, get them to Open the .iso file and select the burn disk option. You will at least have a Install disk for the future.

  • anirban

    does anybody know how to make a bootable pen drive for server 2003. if yes can u kindly mail me the details at anirban17aug@gmail.com

  • Arjun

    thanks man….. support Open Source!!!!

  • Isnanto

    what should I do over this error message?
    Help me please. Thx.
    ==================
    e:boot>bootsect /nt60 l:
    Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.

    Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects:
    Access is denied.
    ==================

  • isnanto

    thx to rich, this problem has been solved by running cmd as administrator.
    nice information.
    to kevin, i never tought ufd can do so far. you're a genius.

  • Professor Plum

    Most of it has already been said. The use of 'Clean' in DiskPart just removes the partitioning information, the data is all still there. If you have an older copy of Norton Utilities (Such as version 4.5) you will be able to recover the disk by resetting the partition information values without adversly affecting the data stored.

    There are other methods to recover and restore the partition information however this is NOT the same as creating a new partition. If you are not experienced at recovering disks and data the safest plan is to do as suggested and find someone who is. It is a simple matter to correct IF you know what you are doing.

    It is vitally important (as I am sure you are now aware) to be 100% certain that you have selected/mounted the right device, the right volume and the right partition before using any of the other available commands in DiskPart.

  • professor Plum

    It does say quite clearly in the instructions: '2.Open a command prompt as administrator'

    :|

  • Shamim

    Simply extraordinary

  • Syntax_Error

    when i try the command bootsect /nt60 h: it says "program is too big to fit in memory"
    i have 2gb 667mhz and have 1.6 gb available when trying this… even with most programs closed, it says the same. Any sugestion ?

  • Bubbles

    Your cmd prompt shit fucked my USB Stick up. Thanks dude!

  • Kyle

    Once you get past the first part of the installation it will say it needs to restart. Take out your thumbdrive right when it restarts. If you don't take out the thumb drive after this, the computer will boot into the thumb drive again and start the installation all over again. Atleast, this happened to me

  • Mike

    Super helpful, worked like a charm. Thanks!

  • Morpho

    very nice but… i want to use this for a netbook, but i dont have cd rom???? how the hell do i copy the dvd

  • KIING

    Good but my 7 install just keeps starting over, after the installation restarts itself it just goes back to the beggining

  • You might have to remove the USB drive so that it doesn't boot to it again when the installation reboots.

  • Mario

    My Windows 7 has not "Start" or "Run as administrator" options

  • lee

    kiing
    once it reboots remove the USB as its only needed for the first stage of the setup

    mario
    it does, the search box is the run box, type cmd and right click on cmd at the top and run as admin…

  • Gary

    So, I get BOOTMGR is missing error. I've created the drive twice, same error encountered on multiple computers

  • hI
    i HAVE USED TO FORMAT NEW NOTEBOOKS AND COMPUTERS AND WINDOWS 7 INSTALLED IN 11 MINUTES
    THANKS A LOT
    SAAD COMPUTERS

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  • This was a great help! Thanks!!

  • Data recovery tools by SalvationDATA built to extract data from failed hard drives. New professional data recovery training for flash data recovery and Raid data recovery .
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  • thank you very much, works really well,
    the first tutorial which works ,
    thanks alot,
    keep it up,

  • HOLY SMOKES!!!!! This is EXACTLY what I've been looking for! THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!

  • Karel

    It worked great, but now I can't use my usb drive anymore. Everytime I insert it it tells me to format, when I do, it works. But then when I reinsert the usb drive it tells me to format again.. What should i do?

  • FurZo

    Computer: Asus EEEPC
    Current Situation: Can boot from USB drive, can enter initial Windows 7 instilation
    Error BEGIN:
    Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.
    File: windowssystem32bootwinload.exe
    status: 0xc000035a
    Info: Attempting to load a 64-bit application, however this CPU is not compatible with 64-bit mode.
    ERROR END
    I copied the Windows 7 files from the Windows 7 Instilation CD directly to the USB drive.
    Any ideas on how to solve this error

  • FurZZo

    Computer: Asus EEEPC
    Current Situation: Can boot from USB drive, can enter initial Windows 7 instilation
    Error BEGIN:
    Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.
    File: windowssystem32bootwinload.exe
    status: 0xc000035a
    Info: Attempting to load a 64-bit application, however this CPU is not compatible with 64-bit mode.
    ERROR END
    I copied the Windows 7 files from the Windows 7 Instilation CD directly to the USB drive.
    Any ideas on how to solve this error

  • Ravi

    Hi guys,

    I think you dont need that much effort….as mentioned above

    I have Dell Studio15 but the problem was it's DVD writer is not working so there was no option for me to install Windows7 on my laptop the only thing i could do is make copy of Windos7 installation DVD through USB, or LAN (as i dont have a 4gb+ pen drive), So i copied the files to my HDD through LAN.

    After That the surprising thing how to do it ,

    1. i could simple click on the setup.exe but it will upgrade the current OS or make a copy to a folder and install the new os, so your going to lose around 10GB of spaces.

    2. But if you want to install a fresh copy of Windows7 , you wont be able to do it . so here is the trick …

    Restart Your PC or Laptop press F8 soon it'll take you to repair screen….after that Wola
    you got the cmd screen…..now just type command and go to the Copied Folder(Windows7)…and type setup.exe.

    haha…..Rest you know what to do…….

    I tried it and its works for me………:)

  • Eidorian

    Can this be done with XP?

  • b6badman

    oh no bad man smashinn itt lol

  • Joris

    I can get through step 1 and step 2. Step 3 is where I am having problems. If I try to copy all the files to the USB from the DVD there are files I need to skip and then only about 200 MB gets copied. Half of the time windows explorer crashes while I'm doing it. If I use the xcopy method via the command prompt I also get errors. Could you describe the process of copying the files in more detail? Trying to to copy files from a Windows 7 upgrade ISO. Was able to burn a DVD but I get "a required cd/dvd drive device driver is missing" error, so I am trying to install without the dvd drive.

  • Mike

    Also with this method.. after the reboot of the files being loaded YOU MUST TAKE THE FLASH DRIVE OUT OR IT WILL BEGIN AGAIN FROM THE BEGINING FOR THE INSTALL!! Found out the hard way.

  • meand mayself

    Worked like a charm. I only needed the bootable Win7 USB for the ability to shrink a volume with diskpart. Apparently you can't shrink with any version of diskpart below Vista and the diskpart exe does not work on Win2003 or XP. Thanks!

  • TEst

    Pure Genius. You are in Albert Einstein's family tree

  • Madhur Gupta

    Thanks Bro

  • rnet

    nice, but that will not work on OS before VISTA, guy I found something very good to make USB bootable, just anything, for installation, booting and for any other bootable program, boot loader. check out

    http://cyberlifeday.blogspot.com/2009/12/botting-

  • Chris

    Thank you very much. This saved my life!

  • tom

    Thanx for this helped alot i installed windows 7 on advent notebook 1 problem i came across was at first fomat reboot it went back to begining ie fresh format of windows 7 resolved by during first reboot change boot options back to hdd first usb second many thanks for your help

  • Cathy

    Thanks for your site Kevin. My question is slightly off topic. I want to clone my Windows 7 Enterprise VLK installation with ImageX. I need to make my USB flash drive bootable to boot into WinPE. I created my winpe.iso. I followed your steps successfully down to the bootsect command. I copied my winpe.iso file to the flash drive. When I reboot to the flash drive, I get the error BOOTMGR is missing. What am I doing wrong?

    • Good question. It's hard to say, but it sounds like the WinPE image didn't have the expected boot manager (bootmgr). This isn't something I've tried, so let me know if you figure out what was missing.

      • Hi Kevin- Now that the holiday is past, I got back to working on this. Turns out that I was making the process more difficult than it needed to be. The creation of the WinPE adds in all of the files necessary to make it bootable. All I had to do was burn to disk. Doh! Thanks again for your work!

  • Truman

    Alright – I admit… I could be retarded; However, that prefaced, is this to simply INSTALL Win7 or Vista via the USB drive? If so, cool enough.. but if its to actually RUN Win7 from the USB drive, I must be missing a step.. Can you just confirm what my expectations should be of the two mentioned? Thanks..

  • Danv

    Thanks for you help! That will help me to install Windows 7 Ultimate on my HP TC1100!

  • nav

    Very nice tute. Thanks for this. I have a one doubt:
    What if i dont put any os files after following all the steps and just try to boot through the usb?
    Gave me the "missing bootmgr" message although i think bootsect step is exclusively for setting up bootmgr itself.

  • owen

    I got a problem here,thanks for helping me.

    I don't have a Window 7 Professional disc,but jz have the licensed product key.
    so I had download the Window 7 Professional,extracted it into the files and put on dekstop.

    so wat should I do for the step 2?

  • SBS

    You saved my life man, I love you. Please marry me? ='(

  • hermit

    format fs=NTFS quick

    use poweriso to mount your .iso file and copy to your usb drive

  • Evie

    Kevin, you're a genius!
    Thank you so much for posting this, you're my saving grace. :)

  • pedja

    AWESOME!!! THANKS!!!!

  • Vega

    For Your Information!!!
    As someone else said in this thread…
    If you get an error saying (when doing the Bootsect.exe command):
    "Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects. Access Denied" then try to continue to the next step. It worked for me too :)

  • goliath

    Thanks for this info. You saved me lots of time!!!

  • Tony

    my flashdrive doesn't show up when i typed in the command list disk. it only show my harddrive. any suggestions? thank

  • This trick is remarkable. I was getting a repeated "bootmgr not found" message preventing me from loading Windows 7, and the repair option on the Windows installation DVD failed to fix it because it couldn't access the hard drive – but by creating a bootable USB stick and running repair again, I fixed the problem in seconds. Many thanks!

  • Paul S

    Thanks, man. Nice and clean. You just save me the money for a new DVD….

  • Murtaza

    No luck,
    I followed your instructions and having the error "Invalid partition table" at startup.

  • Hey there!! Your instructions helped a lot!! However, I need to write a bootable windows 7 dvd and I don't know how to.

    I have a copy of windows 7 and guessing from the flashdrive method, my guess is to load the bootsect utility on magic iso to make it bootable. But, obviously its just a guess from a rookie. Could you please help out!!!

  • ryan

    it doesn,t work for me…
    on the last part..

    D: boot>bootsect /nt60 g:
    Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.

    Could not map drive partition to the associated volume device objects:
    Access is denied.

    what will i do?help!

    • Don Field

      I has same problem – find your CMD icon and right click on it. Click on RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR and the problem should go away.

  • So I am trying to do this off of XP to put Windows 7 on my flash drive. It is a 4 GB Kingston. However when I type in the 'list disk' command, it is only showing my main hard drive and it won't show my USB stick. How do I change this?

  • ryan you can try to use formatting tool like partition magic, i think it should have something like create new boot partition or something like that. Let me know if it helps

  • sam

    Thank you so much…

  • Peter

    Saved my life – many thanks…

  • rabizziti

    this may not work for everyone, but for me this was a godsend. thank you so much!

  • If USB will be used as a bootable drive, will be as good with the CD?

  • jfi

    ya can do it with this guide from another HD as well.. doesnt have to be USB drive.. =)

  • kumar karn

    fine….easy and descriptive….thanks

  • tutorial but sadly it only works if your using Vista to do all this, I tried it on my desktop that has Xp 64-bit and it wouldn't show my USB as a disk when I typed 'list disk', so I took it to my laptop which has Ultimate and it worked like a charm

  • Don Field

    Great tutorial, worked perfectly for me. One question: I need to boot from my flash drive using the LEAST amount of system files possible, because I have a chunk of data to copy onto the flash drive from a mucked up hard drive. Can you please list only the ESSENTIAL files to copy to the flash drive in order to get it booted? THANKS!

  • SSG

    Now that you have got the boot files on your memorystick, could you delete them from your computer so that it would only boot when the memorystick is inserted? If so what files would i be looking for in windows 7?

  • ajay

    mate im getting an error.. :( could not map drive partitions to the assosiacted volume device objects: access denied :(( what the hell is it? lmao!

    please help guys!!!!!

  • ajay

    im using windows 7 on my main laptop :( and trying to make vista boot usb for my linux laptop, i wanna get rid of linux, that laptop doesnt have a cd rom :(

  • cfx_66

    Excellent write up.

    I tried installing Windows 7 x64 Ultimate, it finished copying files and installing them, then Setup had to restart. After re-starting, the computer booted the USB from the beginning again. IE. It didn't leave off where it was before restarting.

    Anyone know how to get around this? I need to continue the setup process, not have the USB boot from scratch again.

    Cheers.

  • Doc Hammer

    cfx_66
    boot from your HD

    • cfx_66

      I realized shortly after I wrote this that the files should already be on the HDD. Thanks for the reply.

  • wolfman2

    It works another way – i copied all the WIN7 data on a stick and followed your procedure
    by using the win 7 files ON the stick

    ++++++You wrote
    # Insert your Windows Vista / 7 DVD into your drive.

    +++++I did
    you dont have to do that – just go to your stick with all win 7 files on it

    +++++You wrote
    # Change directory to the DVD’s boot directory where bootsect lives:
    d:

    +++++ I did
    Change directory to the stick with win 7 files on it

    cd x:boot (x is your stick)

    +++++You wrote
    # Use bootsect to set the USB as a bootable NTFS drive prepared for a Vista/7 image. I’m assuming that your USB flash drive has been labeled disk G: by the computer:
    bootsect /nt60 g:

    +++++I did
    use bootsec on the stick to set the same stick bootable
    I’m assuming that your USB flash drive has been labeled disk X: by the computer:
    bootsect /nt60 x:

    So you are using the programm "bootsect" from your stick to make the very same stick bootable

    Worked like a charm :-)
    greetings

    wolf

  • gang

    It works as charm. Thanks a lot!

  • This is useful article. Thanks so much.

  • 2Tired2Tango

    Son of a gun… it worked first time!

    Thanks for this

  • brendon

    THIS DOSE WORK ON XP! Ill tell you how. First download this http://www.ocia.net/PeToUSB.zip. Unzip it and use it to format your usb stick. the navigate to your vista dvd and go to boot folder. copy bootsect.exe from that folder to your C: drive. Open command promt and use these commands without parentheses. "cd c:" then "bootsect /nt60 x:" replacing "x" with your drive letter. when its complete copy all contents from vista dvd to your flash drive. Then set bios to from flash drive and wala, problem solved.

  • brendon

    sorry bad link. try this one. PeToUSB.zip

  • MiQi

    Thanks , now im enjoying my Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit….=)

  • adnaan

    how abt the version of windows 7 that doesnt really depend on the characters

  • Spectrox

    Copy Windows Vista’s DVD ROM content to the Flash Drive

    Type in command to start copying all the content from the Windows Vista DVD to your newly formatted high speed flash drive.

    * xcopy d:*.* /s/e/f e:

  • Victor

    If you don't know how to kick your PC over to BIOS, if the screen changes too quickly, or if it's hidden the simplest and easiest way that works with almost every computer is to press a bunch of keys on the keyboard during startup and hold it. This will produce an error message during startup and take you straight to the BIOS. This technique hasn't failed me yet.

  • after diskpart wat to do. typing this opens up a new window

  • shreesha

    buddy how can it be done in windows xp

  • mbk

    than you very much gentle mans it rely gud we share technology im telling u this thing of making a bootable usb im going to try it 2nyt and wil be the only one knowing it.God bless u.

  • kamran

    Great Job! Thanks…

  • Luke

    HELP!

    I started the partition process and by accident I shut down the wrong window (the darn command prompt) — now vista doesn't find the disk at all nor it is listed in c. prompt under disks.
    What can I do to fix this????

  • Shivanand

    As my DVD drive is not working, how do i make my USB a bootable, formating is done correctly. Please help me as i need to install unbuntu from that.

  • Grujee

    Hi everyone, just one quick tip for all those who are interested in installing any windows (XP, Vista and Windows 7) on their machines using a USB bootable disk. There is a small free downloadable utility called WintoFlash (http://wintoflash.com/home/en/) which you can use to transfer the contents of a OS disk to a USB and then you can boot from USB to continue installation. I hope that would help several people.

    Cheers

  • Sandman

    Nice tutorial and thank you for sharing it. However I encountered an error that told me to format the disk during the process. I let the process finished and then I went back to that other little window and pressed format which took me to the normal windows formatting steps. Once I chose quick format and press enter it gave an error and told me that windows couldn't format the usb and i had to check systems log. I don't know what that means and would appreciate the help.

  • Hector

    Hey there, I followed all the above steps and I ended up losing my D-drive which is actually a partition on C. I'm pretty sure it's still there but my computer doesn't see it. HELPPPPPPP…………….Please.

  • Hector

    Sorry I forgot I'm running Windows 7 on an Acer 5515 Laptop. Thanks

  • Charlie

    I'm going to attempt this from my recovery partition (HP dv9205us) running Vista Home.
    I have one question, do I need all the stuff on that partition copied to the USB? The recovery partition is almost 6GB used space?

  • Ryan

    You may want to use this option to copy the DVD to the Flash Drive:

    xcopy d:*.* /s/e/f e: where 'd' is the DVD, and 'e' is the flash drive

  • Markus

    how do i uninstall the windows 7 usb tool? i want to get my usb drive back to normal =)
    pls mail me the answer to marku_z@hotmail.com

  • Kelvi

    BootSect.Exe says

    Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects:
    Access is denied.

  • Joe M

    Hey everyone, I don't know if i did anything wrong, but it said everything i did was successful. When you say "bootable" do you mean that it is like a computer where it ACTUALLY boots to the login screen or desktop? Or do you mean "bootable" meaning you can install windows 7 from it? Cause it would be really nice if i could ACTUALLY boot from it and use it like a portable operating system. When I change the BIOS and stuff, then restart the computer, all it does is want me to install windows 7. Is this right? I really don't know, but if anyone can help me out here and let me know how to ACTUALLY boot up from a USB Flash Drive, then it would help me a lot! Just email me a link on how to do it or just give me instructions. Thanks!!!

  • Simon

    A big thx :D nice when ppl want to help out.. cheers

  • Pete

    Thanks for posting this!

    Greetings from sunny South Africa.

  • Me2

    works perfect on Medion Akoya E1210, thanks!

  • Anukul Sangwan

    My BIOS USB boot options are:
    USB-ZIP
    USB-FDD
    USB-HDD
    USB-CDROM

    Which one should I choose? Please Help

  • gump

    wow. I have been struggling to install windows 7 upgrade on a vista laptop which has a defective DVD drive. Was having no luck with an external DVD drive. Wish I had seen your post earlier. Would have saved 5 hrs of my life! This is very helpful. Much appreciated. Thanks.

  • gump

    Forgot to mention that you need to make sure that you remove the flash drive when the computer restarts for the first time during installation (windows 7) otherwise the computer will boot up again from the flash drive and you will need to start from scratch. Also, dont forget to change the bios boot order after you are done!

  • nafsun wahirun

    I tried this and also worked fine with Ubuntu. Very good tutorial indeed.

  • zucci

    Works on my USB no problems, I found to copy the bootsec I had to run CMD in Administrator mode to do it sucessfully

  • jhumur

    I went through all the steps w/o any problems and created a bootable Flash disk. (I had used the same instructions successfully before, when I went from VISTA to a Beta version of Windows 7.) Now, I'm going from the BETA Windows 7 to the full retail version. But, weird, when I go to reboot, it always goes right to the hard drive. I've checked the Boot Device Priority settings in BIOS, and everything is OK there. I have also tried removing the HDD from the boot device list, but then the computer refuses to boot at all. If I hit the ESC key repeatedly during BIOS POST, I get a list of boot devices, including the flash drive. I can then select the flash drive and it takes me right into Windows 7 setup (i.e., "copying files" msg), bypassing the Windows 7 installation screen. And, I need that since I need to run the utility for creating a new partition and formatting it. Would appreciate some help please!

  • matt

    hey man,is it compulsory to use flah usb……

  • Hans

    You just saved me lots of headaches, thanks!

  • Karl

    I keep getting a "Load Device" error. As my laptop is a bit old, the only alternative boot option is via the CF card. So . . . I followed the instructions and applied it to the CF card, a USB and the hard drive (connected the hard drive to my desktop computer). Nuthin'. :o/
    Made sure to fire up the command prompt using "Run as administer" in all cases.

    Then tried installing Win 7 from my desktop. While that "worked", the system parameters for my desktop are quite different from the laptop. After attaching the hard drive back into the laptop, it started groovin', but came up with a new barrel of problems.

    Any suggestions?

  • Karl

    Anyone know if there's a way to do this with Mac OSX? I own the retail DVD, but can't setup HFS+ from windows (been playing around w/ making the laptop a Hackintosh – quite unsucessfully to date).

    • hi karl…the easiest way to make a bootable window 7 flash drive is by using ultraiso

      i m sure you have heard about various image burning tools like poweriso or magiciso.Ultraiso is also a image burning tool but along with image burining it can be used to make a bootable winow7 .
      so just go to http://www.ezbsystems.com and download a trial version of this software and forget about all these lenghty commands :)
      i hope this reply will help you in some way

  • simon leavesley

    Hi Can you tell me how i can create an image of windows 7 so i dont have to keep reinstalling all my custom software when i resintall windows windows.
    I have norton ghost 15 installed on my machine that i want to image but how do i get the dos ghost to boot from my USB drive? please can you e-mail the answer to simon.leavesley@gmail.com

  • Thanks

    you know, Im a noob to computers…before I was so scared to mess around with computers but its people like you who are truly helpful and motivate me to unlock the inner beauties of computer software, hardware etc. I want to thank you and all the other authors like you who take the time to help noobs like me out. Btw, this tutorial is amazing…got it working :D

    Opensource software YAY! GNU YAY!

  • Yamanza

    Brilliant! – Works a treat – the MS one doesn't seem to work – yours does! Thanks

  • George

    you are by faar the best human alive at this moment, thx dude :P

  • Peter

    thank you. This is what I've been looking for.

  • Rohit

    I had bought a MSi U100 – OpenSuse 10 version today, and wanted to desperately switch over to Win 7. But even after trying a dozen free and paid software that claim to turn your usb pen drives to bootable versions, I wasn't able to get the installation started.
    Then someone pointed this link to me, and boy, though i had completely given up – looking at the 450+ comments, a sliver of hope again came up within.
    It took just a few minutes to follow all the instructions… and windows 7 installation started…

    I am so glad you posted the instructions so lucidly… thank you sir !

  • FHG

    this is great, i used a win7 computer to great a boot usb for another computer and the steps worked perfectly.

  • ezed

    Thank you for this information.
    Unfortunately, my Windows 7 Ultimate did not support creating a USB Win 7 drive.

    Everything worked real well…copied Win 7 to bootable USB ….the USB booted into windows install.

    When I had a choice what drive to use, it did not allow me to use a USB or IEEE 1394 .device.

    I have Win 7, Ultimate. Is this OS different than other versions of Windows 7??

  • ezed

    Thank you for this information.

    Everything worked just fine until I had to select disk to install Win 7.

    (Booted from USB and ran Windows, selected custum…etc)

    Windows did not allow me to use a USB or IEEE1394 device….any help?

    I am using Windows 7 Ultimate… are versions any different?

  • Thanks a lot! Got Windows 7 working on a netbook

  • it is interesting and informative article. This has been very helpful understanding a lot

    of things. I'm sure a lot of other people will agree with me.

  • Dave C

    is there another way to make usb drive bootable cos bootsect cmd doesn`t seem to work for me `bootsect` is not recognised as an internal or external command,operable program or batch file. please help.

  • oihan

    hello it's great but I've got one problem when I do than: bootsect /nt60 g: it didn't work and this message appears: program too big to fit in memory somebody can help me? please

  • Hi I already have window 7 on my computer whose subscription is about to expire. I have the CD of full window 7, but my computer dont read any CD/DVD. I think the device where I insert CD is not working.
    So can I make bootable USP for the window 7 CD and do the same procedure as mentioned above to install window 7 again.

  • Calvin

    You are helpful. Thank you very much.

  • effin awesome copying my o.s. over right now great work..

  • Nynex

    Some of these comments are just sad…I mean seriously people….

    Great work on the how-to. Works perfect! A+

  • padam

    Just to give you a heads up, these tools are stealing your content and passing it off as their own:

    http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows

    • Thanks for the headsup – not the first time I've seen eerily similar instructions to mine appear. I don't mind people copying them – I'm glad I can help – but giving credit where credit is due is just the right thing. If they believe they have come up with their instructions all on their own with no influence from me, or other sources, then that's great. I'm certainly not the first person who figured out how to do this. I just posted the instructions because I couldn't find where anyone else had.

      • PS: I think it's funny that they removed the link to my post that you put in the comment on their website. If they really didn't copy the instructions, why would they remove the link? :)

  • shivank

    that was awesome

  • Quickee

    i did the whole process perfectly as above along with the bios priority set to removable drive,
    but after inserting the usb and restarting the netbook it shows this error
    ” Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in Selected Boot device and press a key ”

    im using Asus 1005HAB Eee PC with Windows XP(which is infected through virus so i cant install from inside also)

    plz can u help me through this
    Thanks

    • Mick

      If you have your asus eeepc recovery disk, try following the same instructions but instead of copying the win 7 dvd, copy the recovery disc. Not sure if it will work, but if the your eeepc still has that hidden partition it will fully recovery winxp back to brand new.

  • It would be nice find a quick way to get a Bootable ready-to-go Windows 7 DVD, like Ubuntu or similar Linux Distribution.
    Run in a quick way, check what you need then turn off and get back your original OS that may be not the latest Microsoft OS.

  • eoff

    thx a lot… many guides, but most of them are missing the bootsec command.

  • raj

    i have a copy of window xp and want to make bootable pen drive and i have windows 7 as operating sysytem

  • Andy

    I had the problem with not being able to run the bootsect phase. The way i managed to do it was to complete all the phases leading up to the bootsect part and then reopening a comd prompt as administrator. (right click command prompt in accessories and run as administrator) after this i carried out the d: cd d: boot and all worked well for me from there. Hope this helps.

  • Ivan

    Perfecto! Kudos Kev! Managed to do up a boot pen drive in minutes.

  • yes! thanks for this guide…been searching for so long for a solution but found nothing but long complicated solutions that require you to download a ton of extra programs.

  • Kasper

    When i try to type "bootsect /nt60 g:" i get this message: Bootsect is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file… Hmm what am i doing wrong? plz help thank you

    • Darren

      did you change your directory to the "boot" folder in the cd directory before typing "bootsect /nt60 g:"?

  • ikram

    That is excellent ………….

  • christopher ayres

    hiya id just like to add that another way of doing this as a complete newbie would be do create a disk image using power iso and then extract the whole image on to the root directory of your flash drive then boot from it

    works with my toshiba 1tb external hd

  • anonimo

    I did it!. I was using an Ipod nano 1st generation because i don't have usb flash drive.

    J'ai réussi a le faire. J'ai utilisé un ipod nano première génération parce que je n'ai pas une clé USB

  • jayant

    i am getting an error code 0×80070070 during installation …. please suggest solution.

  • Senor Cowabunga

    Grassy ass.

    You just saved my main laptop, with a failing dvd drive I've used all of 5 times in 3 years.

    Friends don't let friends buy a dell. At least, not a modern one.

  • Doing a full format of my 8GB USB drive took about 20 minutes.
    I suggest changing the
    format fs=NTFS
    command
    to
    format fs=NTFS label="win_inst" quick

    I also threw in a drive label :)

  • Carly

    I have Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit and am trying to install Windows 7 Professional 32-bit but when it comes to 'Launch Instal' I get an error message to say it cannot open .img files. I have tried downloading software to open .img files but still get error messages to say they cannot be opened. Any suggestions?

  • Thanks for the information and tutorial. I recently bought a notebook without a dvd drive using Windows 7 64 bit. Is there a way to make this work without a dvd drive that you are aware of?

  • vhin

    dude thks alot for this info. u r so genius………now i can fixed my laptop w/out usb cdrom…thnks again….

  • K.O

    My Flash drive got screwed up at the format fs=NTFS level, all y tries to format it have proved to no avail, please help!! :(

  • Odumowu Oluwatobi

    My computer keep showing error booting and i don't have Window 7 ultimate instillation CD. please can you tell me how to repair my computer my using flash drive to boot the window. Or you can tell me how to make this work that i wont losse any of my document.
    Thanks
    Please send me Email to tobiodumowu@yahoo.com

  • ElBarto

    To the person who asked about doing a quick format, simply change this line:
    format fs=NTFS

    to read as:
    format fs=NTFS QUICK

  • vimal

    hi ….is this process only helpful if u have windows vista already installed in ur system….it wont work on a corrupted system….

  • Are there any legal ways to download vista without paying for it or completing any surveys???

  • aLEX

    WOW! Thanks for this super amazing classic method . I really appreciate your help. /Alex

  • Bobby fs

    Hi, I'm just a beginner for computer and I need help please from the steps above, mentioned " insert your windows dvd " does it mean my recovery discs, if it is correct, I have 2 discs when the first time I bought this notebook, But I don't know which one to put in ? they both looks the same the different is there is a sign disc 1 0f 2 and the other one is 2 of 2, Thanks beforehand , really appreciated.

  • Bobby fs

    is there someone can help me out here, when i do this steps, at format fs=ntfs, it said 100% completed but, they said incorrect parameter, and I'm using 8gb generic flash drive ? and I tried manually to format my flash drive from fat32 to NTFS, it says windows are unable to complete the process, please someone here, pleassseeeee……..

  • Thanks for all of the wonderful comments, folks. I'm closing the comment thread on this post as most of the questions, I believe, have been answered. I'm glad this has been helpful to you all.

  • [...] Kevin’s Blog This article explains how to prepare a flash drive to be a bootable device using the Microsoft tools DiskPart and Bootsect.  This is a manual method available if the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool does not work on your flash drive. http://kmwoley.com/blog/?p=345 [...]

  • [...] should be credited also Boot From A USB Flash/Pen/Key Drive (Method 6) which came from Kevins Blog at Kevin’s Blog Which he put together based off VistaPcGuy Windows PC Guy

  • [...] Woley, Program Manager at Microsoft – Kevin’s blog post: http://kmwoley.com/blog/?p=345 reminded me to try the F8 key to go into advanced boot options. It worked! This entry was posted [...]

  • [...] when my netbook runs faster and more reliable than most of the peoples computers I work on. I used this(or one like it) guide when I put windows 7 on my netbook. I remember going into cmd and doing [...]

  • [...] http://kmwoley.com/blog/?p=345 __________________ *** Carpe diem *** [...]