GUIDE: Install Windows Vista, 7 and 8 from a flash drive!

nobody_here

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 1, 2006
Messages
8,878
There's a slightly longer way to do this using the dispart command and just a few more commands, I read it in CPU, and works fine with no errors.

From Vista/Win7 Command prompt

  1. diskpart
  2. list disk
  3. select disk 3 (or one that is the flash USB)
  4. clean
  5. create partition primary
  6. list partition (just to check there is only one parition)
  7. select partition 1 (should be the only one)
  8. active
  9. format fs=fat32
  10. assign
  11. exit

Copying the files:

xcopy e:\*.* /s /e /f f:\ (where e is your dvd drive and f is your flash drive)

I know its not as short, but an alternative way, none the less.
i used MagicISO to rip a standard .iso file off my retail Win 7 x64 Ult disc first (this avoids having to do the xcopy part), then tried the MS USB Download tool, kept erroring out...saying it couldnt use that USB device....so i followed your instructions above to format and partition and make it active, then using the MS tool again pointed it at the same iso and same USB device (which changed from H to I when i assigned it btw) and now it works great



thanks for the info
 

evilsofa

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
10,078
A recent thread, here, discovered that to install Win7 to an eee required that the USB thumbdrive be formatted with FAT instead of NTFS, and that various walkthroughs on the net note that some versions of the eee may require versions of FAT earlier than FAT32, such as LBA (FAT16X). If you're having trouble getting a netbook to recognize the thumbdrive, that may be worth a try.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 3, 2001
Messages
39
I had to use the xcopy method in the first post because the MS tool complained about an invalid ISO file, even though the ISO was made from a real Windows 7 disc image downloaded from MSDNAA.
 

Joe Average

Ad Blocker - Banned
Joined
Apr 6, 2008
Messages
15,459
Did you verify the checksum (MD5, SHA-1, etc) on that ISO after you finished the MSDNAA download? If just one bit is outta place, well... ;)
 

criccio

Fully Equipped
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
12,672
Hmm, I've never run across that. Could be because I've been using the same ISO for awhile now... :p

Good to know that it actually checks that stuff.

However, I am curious if that ISO you did download matches MS's MD5 hash.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2001
Messages
39
Did you verify the checksum (MD5, SHA-1, etc) on that ISO after you finished the MSDNAA download? If just one bit is outta place, well... ;)
I just grabbed new ISOs, and the checksums all checked out, and the MS tool worked. Just for shits and giggles, I tried the MS tool with a Windows Vista ISO, and immediately got the 'Bad ISO' error (duh, it's the Windows 7 USB tool).
 

That's_Corporate

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
1,738
Well OP's method didn't work for me, but the official MS tool that he posted did. Boy did that sucker ever install fast! I was down for maybe 20 mins, MAX!
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
I've used WinToFlash multiple times without issue, even on an ASUS netbook... Works with Vista as well, I've used it to repair older laptops with busted HDDs and CD drives (ahh, HP/COMPAQ, thanks for making me extra money on the side), can't remember if it works with XP too.
 

tienlv2011

n00b
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
Messages
1
Found a buntu way the other day as well.

1. Install ntfsprogs in synaptic
2. Format as ntfs in gparted, set flag to boot
3. Extract contents of .iso to flash drive. (I used winrar under wine, but whatever works for you)


Thats all it took for me.
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Messages
30
windows tool is saying it wasn't able to run bootsect for the usb to be bootable is that going to be a problem?
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Messages
30
For users trying to prepare a 64-bit Vista/7/2008 installation flash drive from Windows XP (32 bit)

follow this guide:
http://www.bwana.org/2009/01/11/how...a-usb-drive-to-an-hp-mini-1000-without-vista/ (linked by Mazgazine1)

with this 32-bit bootsect.exe:
http://www.2shared.com/file/2585881/5ad9ef68/bootsect.html (i can rehost if needed)

may be some unneeded steps in there, but so far it's worked great for me...
ok so i went back and found this on pg7 but the link is dead.
 

cambrian

Gawd
Joined
Aug 5, 2004
Messages
623
Does any one know how to solve the problem of USB 3.0 drivers during windows 7 installation. I can boot up fine but it will go to the screen asking for additional drivers for my USB 3.0 flash drive. I assume you would have to slipstream the drivers in there.
 

Jon55

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,349
I've used WinToFlash multiple times without issue, even on an ASUS netbook... Works with Vista as well, I've used it to repair older laptops with busted HDDs and CD drives (ahh, HP/COMPAQ, thanks for making me extra money on the side), can't remember if it works with XP too.

Add my vote for WinToFlash as well.

Just gave it a try after trying all the other suggestions in this thread, all of which gave me problems of some kind. I didn't want to try this program at first because I figured I could do the same in command line, and also because I didn't want to install some spyware software just to mount an image to a flash drive. Damn I was wrong. Install was a breeze, no other "crap" software installed. Just put in the Windows disc or image and the flash drive, and that's it. Automatically does everything else for you. Used Windows 7 SP1 64-bit on a 4GB Sony flash drive.
 

criccio

Fully Equipped
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
12,672
Guys, I do mention in the first part of my guide that Microsoft has an official tool that's been out for awhile now that does this in a few clicks of the mouse. Just a heads up.

If you're worried about installing WinToFlash, why not just use the official MS app?
 

Makaveli@BETA

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 24, 2004
Messages
2,304
Guys, I do mention in the first part of my guide that Microsoft has an official tool that's been out for awhile now that does this in a few clicks of the mouse. Just a heads up.

If you're worried about installing WinToFlash, why not just use the official MS app?
Because using the Offical app wouldn't be [H]
 

Jon55

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,349
Guys, I do mention in the first part of my guide that Microsoft has an official tool that's been out for awhile now that does this in a few clicks of the mouse. Just a heads up.

If you're worried about installing WinToFlash, why not just use the official MS app?

I tried the official Microsoft tool as well, but it doesn't allow making bootable flash drives from a Windows disc (yes, it's 100% legit). It has to be an image file, and every time I tried making an image out of the Windows disc, the official tool would give me "your image isn't legit" errors. WinToFlash allowed for either methods, and worked incredible well/easily. Don't get me wrong, your guide was very helpful, and I thank you for it. I was, for whatever reason, having problems getting it to work.
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2011
Messages
58
I don't understand...because I was trying to do a fresh install over a corrupt copy of windows...but it said it did not have the right windows bootup files....that doesnt make sense because you can install it over a blank hdd...
 

=HPSF=Roadrunner

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
285
Awesome guide! I have been wanting to do this for some time, and I really hope it eases my install woes with my W7 upgrade disc. I am trying it using an ISO d/l straight from MS. If I have to reinstall with my copy to make it activate, it is still a lot easier than trying to do it from XP, or trying to borrow another disc.
 

RegalZulu

n00b
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
24
I'm so sad... 228 posts and still no solution for installing XP. I have a HP Compaq Tablet PC 1100 and I am trying to install Windows XP 2005 Tablet Edition on it, and well being as it doesn't have a cd drive my only other solution was using a USB to install it. According to several users it isn't possible, although some have claimed to have done it, frustrating as it may have been.
 

Soyo13

Gawd
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Messages
643
I'm so sad... 228 posts and still no solution for installing XP. I have a HP Compaq Tablet PC 1100 and I am trying to install Windows XP 2005 Tablet Edition on it, and well being as it doesn't have a cd drive my only other solution was using a USB to install it. According to several users it isn't possible, although some have claimed to have done it, frustrating as it may have been.
External USB CD/DVD drive maybe?
 

bilnfon

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 21, 2004
Messages
107
Have installed all versions Vista, Windows 7 Home Premium, and Ubuntu all many times over from USB – cheaper and faster with less disks to keep up with.
 

Porn Loader

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
153
ok so i went back and found this on pg7 but the link is dead.
i'm working on the same thing now. running xp 32bit (using the windows usb-dvd tool), trying to get win 8CP on a thumb drive. fails on bootsect. if i figure it out, will post.
 

criccio

Fully Equipped
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
12,672
Haha, thanks guys. I'll get around to completely revamping it for Windows 8. There is a lot that is no longer needed.
 
Top