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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
How to install Windows Vista/7 using bootable USB storage device
- Windows Vista/7 DVD 0r installation source (setup backup files)
A 4GB USB 2.0 Storage device (Its recommeded to use USB 2.0 device for optimal performance)
Plug your USB storage device.
Run CMD and execute the following commands one by one.
Run Disk parition utility
To get disk index that is used to pefrom disk paritioning.
Select disk 1
Selects disk to pefrom disk paritioning.
Flush your existing all USB drive's partitions.
Create parition primary
Creates a parition as primary parition.
Format your USB drive w/ recommeded parameters. (No need to worry about file system format)
Set the parition as active to hold bootmgr.
To quit Diskpart utlity
Now copy all Windows Vista/7 files to USB storage device... thats all.
Boot your PC w/ it, you can install Windows Vista/7 via bootable USB storage device.
Note: If you face any trouble to boot w/ it or unable to boot, try this
I:\Boot\Bootsect.exe /NT60 I: Where I: is the drive letter of USB storage device
You might want to boot from a USB device, like an external hard drive or a flash drive, for many different reasons.
When you boot from a USB device, what you're actually doing is running your computer with the operating system that's installed on the USB device. When you start your computer normally, you're running with the operating system installed on your hard drive - Windows, Linux, etc.
How To Boot From a USB Device
Change the BIOS boot order so the USB device option is listed first. The BIOS is rarely setup this way by default.
If the USB boot option is not first in the boot order, your PC will start "normally" (i.e. boot from your hard drive) without even looking at any boot information that might be on your USB device. Tip: The BIOS on most computers list the USB boot option as USB or Removable Devices but some confusingly list it as a Hard Drive option, so be sure to dig around if you're having trouble finding the right one to choose. Note: After setting your USB device as the first boot device, your computer will check it for boot information each time your PC starts. Leaving your computer configured this way shouldn't cause problems unless you plan on leaving the bootable USB device attached all the time.
Attach the USB device to your computer via any available USB port. Note: Creating a bootable flash drive or configuring an external hard drive as bootable is a task in itself. Chances are you made it to my instructions here because you know whatever USB device you have should be bootable after properly configuring BIOS.
Restart your computer.
Watch for a Press any key to boot from external device... message.
On some bootable devices, you may be prompted with a message to press a key before the computer will boot to the flash drive or other USB device.
If you do nothing, your computer will check for boot information on the next boot device in the list in BIOS (see Step 1) which will probably be your hard drive.
Note: Most of the time when trying to boot to a USB device there is no key-press prompt. The USB boot process usually starts immediately.
Your computer should now boot from the flash drive or USB based external hard drive.
The bios has to be usb boot-able you will know that by going into the bios and looking at the boot-able device array and it will show a usb choice. The usb flash drive has to be formatted as a bootable device and thats a pain in the @@@. Create Bootable USB Flash Drive
Boot device per see means that it is the device where you want your computer to start it may in the form of Optical drive (CD, DVD), Harddrive, USB drive (thumb drive), Floppy drive (for old computers). When get this error it also means that there are devices you have that are bootable it may be in a form of an Operating System Disk or just a simple bootable floppy drive. But the usual bootable device once you had the operating system installed already will be the Harddrive.
The USB port on most computers is not a bootable USB port. Only after Windows has started up. the USB device driver is running then the USB port will work UNLESS Some later model computers/laptop have a bootable USB port and you can change the boot order in the BIOS configuration and change the devices boot order to make the USB port the first boot device.
Have had loads of usb media, as far as I know some USB sticks are bootable others are not, usually it will say either on the manual or on the box of the product whether its bootable. If it is bootable format the usb drive fully then copy the BOOT.INI, NTLDR, and NTDETECT from the
root directory of your PC's boot drive to the flash drive. These files are
hidden by default, so you will either have to configure Windows Explorer to
show hidden files (including protected operating system files) or you will have
to open a Command Prompt window and use the COPY command to copy the files.
If you choose to use the Windows Explorer method, then open
Internet Explorer and enter C: into the address bar so that you are looking at
your local hard drive. Next, select the Folder Options command from the Tools
menu. When the Folder Options properties sheet opens, select the View tab. Now,
just select the Show Hidden Files and Folders and deselect the Hide Extensions
for Known File Types and the Hide Protected Operating System Files check boxes.
Click OK to continue.
Now that you have formatted your USB flash drive and installed
the boot files onto it, the next thing that you must do is to configure your PC
to allow you to boot from the flash drive. This is all done through the
computer's BIOS Setup. I can't give you specific instructions for this part,
because every computer is different. I can give you a few pointers though.
You can access your computer's BIOS by pressing a specific
key immediately after you turn the PC on. The key varies, but it is usually
either [F1], [F2], or [Delete]. Once you are in the BIOS Setup, you should
verify that all of your computer's USB options are enabled. This might include
things like support for legacy USB devices or support for USB 2.0. If there is
a time out setting for USB devices, you should set it to the max to insure that
the system doesn't time out while waiting on the USB device to boot.
Next, find the section on boot device priority. Normally, a
USB flash drive (which is usually listed as USB-HDD, but may be listed as a
removable device) will have a very low boot priority. If the USB flash drive's
boot priority is lower than the hard disk (listed as HDD) then the only time
the computer would ever boot off of the USB flash drive is if the system were
to fail to boot from the hard disk. You must therefore rearrange the boot
device priority so that the flash drive has a higher priority than the hard
Boot your computer. Insert your USB device. Follow the instructions for your particular operating system (it's different for each OS) about making a bootable device. Install an operating system on your USB device Set your BIOS to boot from USB (again, the exact process is dependent on your particular hardware, different for every motherboard/manufacturer.)