Installing Windows 7 using usb thumb drive

Installing Windows 7 using usb thumb drive

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Hi everyone,

Those days gone when we used to carry floppy disks to copy small documents, text files here and there. Now, we prefer USB thumb drives or pen drives for copying documents, multimedia files. Over the last few years USB drives have been quite cheap to buy. And these days when we have operating system size grown into GBs we have to burn the DVD disc every time we want to install the OS. But using USB thumb drive we install Windows 7 without wasting any DVD disc. Many of us who try different builds and format the machine often; for such users installing from USB drive is peace of mind. No need to burn the DVD every time. Also, the netbooks are getting very common for eg. Asus Eee PC. As netbooks don’t have built-in DVD drive, installing from USB drive is the most convenient option than hunting for USB Optical drive.

So, what do we need to install the Windows 7 from USB drive ? A USB thumb drive with capacity 4 GB or more and of course Windows 7 DVD media. Right now we have Windows 7 Beta build 7000 having total DVD media sizing just over 2.4 GB.

Let’s start by pluggin the 4 GB USB thumb drive.

Open the elevated command prompt with administrator privileges and type the following commands.



Microsoft DiskPart version 6.1.7000
Copyright (C) 1999-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: AVIRAJ

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  -------------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online          149 GB      0 B
  Disk 1    Online         3834 MB      0 B

DISKPART> select disk 1

Disk 1 is now the selected disk.


DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.

DISKPART> create partition primary

DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.

DISKPART> format fs=fat32 quick

  100 percent completed

DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.

DISKPART> active

DiskPart marked the current partition as active.


Leaving DiskPart...


Now, just copy the files located on Windows 7 DVD Media.image

Make sure in the BIOS you have selected USB Boot option. Otherwise you won’t be able to boot from the USB thumb drive.

Next step, plug in the USB thumb drive into the notebook or netbook, where you want to install Windows 7. It will boot from the USB thumb drive. Installing from USB drive improves installation time vs installing from DVD Media as optical media is lower that USB.

Using this same USB thumb drive you can install Windows 7 on any computer that supports booting from USB. And now on you won’t be wasting the DVD disc for burning any new build of Windows 7. Just replace the media files on the USB thumb drive and install the OS. :)


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  • Hi, after i install windows 7 through USB how can i bring the USB to its original state ?


  • my internet is fail thats why im install windowsXPfor usb.

  • while i was updating on the last stage i got the blue screen of death!!! why?

  • Just boot in windows, open explorer, right click on USB drive and format.

  • Hey Man,

    You saved my life as my DVD drive failed to detect bootable media. Thanx a ton.

    Mayur Tendulkar | Microsoft Student Partner

  • AWESOME tutorial man.


  • This has saved lot of time for everyone.

  • Worked perfectly. I used an 8Gig SD card for my Asus EEEPC 1005HA... its running awesomly! Thanks for the tutorial.

  • may i know why,when i type in list disk,cmd cant show out the 1 for thumb drive...?

    my thumbdrives are 4GB and 8GB kingston datatraveler.

  • Good article. Can we add to it to make both 32-bit and 64-bit edition available on, say, an 8GB Thumb Drive?

  • @Steven

    Thanks steven. This supports both 32-bit and 64-bit. The only thing is you need to create 2 folders and for each platform copy those files on the root folder i.e. X:\ where X=drive letter.

  • I'm lost, I'm not tech savy, please help. I downloaded windows 7, per upgrade, then moved, had my internet re-installed, when comcast re-installed internet and re-booted, I had NO operating system. I went to a different PC, and downloaded the windows 7 backup media, 3 files,

    setup box 1 & 2 and Win7 HP retail. How do I turn these files, into bootable on a usb thumb drive, I am completely lost, Microsoft won't help me. I don't know what to do please, if anyone can help me, with really remedial step by step instructions,PLEASE!!!!

    e-mail me. please!!!!

  • Hi ,

    in my case I use an USB disk with existing data. so I can't format.

    And it is already NTFS.

    So just copy the files (use 7zip to open directly the .iso) to the root of the disk.

    and then, with X: as the USB disk


  • Thanks man, it works great. I copied the win7 installer to a microSD and I totally rocks. I had some trouble with the ntfs formatting of the microSD (USB connected), but found some info about it in other sites. Now I am playing with win 7 in a machine with no DVD-Rom, he.