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How to create a bootable Windows USB drive.
A common use of a bootable USB flash drive is to use it to boot into Windows. Booting from removable media such as a USB drive allows you to perform diagnostics on a computer that is having trouble booting from the hard drive. You can also use the flash drive to install Windows, instead of using the Windows installation CD.
This guide will outline making a bootable USB flash drive with Windows XP, Vista, or 7. Before we begin, it is important to note that the computer you want to use your bootable USB drive must be able to use a USB drive as a boot device. Most computers built since Windows Vista was released are capable of booting to a USB device. Prior to the Windows Vista time frame, it is hit or miss with motherboards.
To determine if a computer is capable of booting to a USB device, access the computer's BIOS and check the bootable device list. If a USB device is listed, set the USB drive to be the first boot device. If you do not see a USB device in the list of bootable devices, your BIOS is not capable of booting to a USB device.
Note: You may need to have your USB flash drive plugged in when you access the BIOS).
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users
To make a bootable USB drive for Windows Vista or Windows 7, you need to have Windows Vista or 7 installed on your computer. It is recommended that you have a flash drive of at least 4 GB in size, to store all the necessary files.
Tip: Before you start, plug in the USB drive and backup any files you have stored on the USB drive. The drive will be formatted during this process and all files on it will be deleted.
Note: You need to have a Windows Vista or Windows 7 DVD for these instructions to be successful.
1. Open an elevated Windows command line window by clicking Start, typing in cmd in the search text field, then pressing CTRL + Shift + Enter on your keyboard (at the same time). You can also access this by navigating to Start, All Programs, Accessories, right-click with your mouse on the Command Prompt menu item and select Run as Administrator.
2. At the command prompt, type cd c:\windows\system32 to change the directory to the Windows system32 directory. Ensure your USB drive is plugged in, type DISKPART, then press Enter. Type LIST DISK and press Enter.
3. You will see a listing of the disk drives connected to your computer. Find the disk number of your USB drive and type SELECT DISK [USB disk #], where "[USB disk #]" is the disk # for your USB drive. It should now state that your USB drive is the selected disk. If you're not sure what disk is the USB disk, eject the USB drive, perform step number 2 again, connect the USB drive again, and compare the results. Usually the USB drive will be the last drive.
4. Type in the following commands, one by one, pressing Enter after each command.
CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
SELECT PARTITION 1
(may take a couple minutes, depending on the USB drive size)
Keep the command prompt window open, but you can minimize it for a little bit.
5. You will now need your Windows Vista or 7 Installation DVD. Put the DVD in your computer's DVD drive. Open up My Computer and note which drive letter is assigned to your DVD Drive and your USB flash drive.
6. Go back to the command prompt window and type in D: CD BOOT (substitute your DVD drive letter for "D:", if necessary) and press Enter. Type CD BOOT again and press Enter. Lastly, type BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 H: (substitute your USB flash drive letter for "H:", if necessary) and press Enter.
7. The last step is to copy the entire contents of the Windows DVD to your USB flash drive. To do this, in the My Computer window (opened in step 5 above), right-click on the DVD drive and select Open to view the contents of the DVD. Copy all the files and folders on the DVD to the USB flash drive.
Your USB flash drive is now set up to be a bootable USB drive for Windows Vista or 7. How to or can boot from CD or DVD
The pecking order for boot is controlled as you have said by the bios. I have found that not all USB connections are the same and have had to try the different USB connections to get one to boot.
Make sure that the DVD is a system boot disc and is in the drive when you power up.
If the HDD is still on the boot BIOS list I would try removing it from the list. The drive should still be available but the BIOS will not see it as a boot choice.
You may want to swap the SATA connections on the HDD drive making the SYS HDD no longer the default boot.
It is possible that the drivers for the DVD drive you are trying to boot from are not loaded and the drive is not accessible. Look at the bios using setup after turn on to see if the DVD drive is registered. It may be it gets its driver later during the windows boot.
You may have to use more of a generic DVD drive.or internal drive.
I'm not sure about this, because I have an internal CD/DVD in my macbook. But this can be a driver issue. Do you have an Apple CD drive, or an universal USB CD drive? The last one could be very tricky, because the computer needs special drivers, so it can recognise the external drive.
We are going to do this the easy way....you need a computer of course and one that has a working cd/dvd player, a flash drive and a windows installation disc. A recovery disc will not work...you need a windows installation disc.
Go to the control panel > folder options > click on the "View" tab, scroll down and UN-check the box the says "hide protected operating system files", now click the bubble above that says "Show hidden files and folders.
Now get out of the control panel and insert the windows disc in the drive.
Go ahead and insert the flash drive into a usb port and let windows recognize the device and load it. It will give the device a drive letter.
After the disc loads, it may appear on your desktop and say to install Windows....just exit the program but don't eject the disc. Open "My Computer" and look for your cd/dvd drive and right click on it. Choose "open" from the choices and a list of files and folders will appear. Select all the files except for a file that says "desktop
Copy all the files and paste them into the flash drive that you can find in "My Computer" The files from the disc will now be written to the flash drive. Once the copy is completed, the flash drive can now be used to boot the computer.
Insert the usb drive into the laptop that needs fixing and power it up. After the flash screen appears, tap the F12 key to bring up the multi-boot options. Choose USB drive and hit enter. The laptop will boot off the usb drive and initiate the Windows files.
Obviously you need a cd/dvd drive. Put the disc into the drive and power up the laptop, pressing on f2 or f8 or f12 depending on the model, select boot device options, pick the drive letter for the cd/dvd drive (assuming that the internal HDD is drive c, then the external could be d,e,f,g etc) and the pc will load from the disc. You may even have it set to boot from usb already. Then just follow the onscreen prompts until it's finnished.
If its only having trouble with one disc , then the disc is probably dirty or the data on it is corrup
If it has trouble with many discs or all discs , then the drive is failing and will have to be replaced. As its a laptop , it would probably be cheaper buying an external USB dvd reader/burner than buying a replacement internal one as laptop parts are expensive and not readily available
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