Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Install Windows 7 Using a USB Key

Using a USB key to install Windows 7 has its advantages. The install will complete much faster, it is easier and more convenient to carry a USB key than it is a DVD, and you can install Windows 7 on devices that do not have a DVD drive, such as a netbook.


What You Need

1. USB drive (at least 4GB in size)
2. Windows 7 Install DVD
3. Diskpart.exe utility (the diskpart.exe utility is installed as a part of Windows 7, otherwise, you can download the utility from here:


Preparing the USB Key

1. Insert the USB key into an available USB port on your computer, and insert the Windows 7 DVD into your DVD drive.
2. Open DiskPart, in Windows 7 click on the Start Orb, type diskpart in the Start Menu search.
3. Right-click diskpart.exe and select Run As Administrator.
4. The DiskPart Utiltiy will open.
5. In the DiskPart Utility, run the command list disk. DiskPart will list your disks on your computer.

In my example, I have 2 disks listed. Disk 0 is my computer’s hard drive and Disk 1 is my USB key.
6. Run the 'select disk {disk number}' command. IMPORTANT! Be sure you select your USB key and not your computer’s HDD. In my example, I would type select disk 1.
Run the clean command.
7. Run 'create partition primary' command.
8. Run the 'active' command to make the partition active.
9. Now you need to format the drive as Fat32. Run 'format fs=fat32 quick'.
10. Run the 'assign' command making it easy to access the drive from Windows Explorer.
The attached image shows all of the commands and the output.
11. Finally, copy all of the contents from the Windows 7 Install DVD to the USB key