1 Selecting the Drive
We used the excellent guide for installing Windows 7 from a USB drive published at the Maximum PC website.
Due to the size of the Windows installation files, you will need a UFD drive exceeding 3.25GB of storage space.
2 What you Need
One of the advantages to installing Windows 7 from a UFD is that when using a fast drive, you should be able to install much faster than when using an optical drive. A fast drive such as a GT series drive from Corsair will provide great results. Also, your UFD will still be fully usable as a normal flash drive.
In our example, we‟ll be using Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. This method works with any version of Windows 7. This method uses a Windows 7 DVD as the source for the Windows 7 installation files. You‟ll need a Windows 7 DVD.
3 Open a Command Prompt and Run as
Open a command prompt and run as an administrator by right-clicking the icon.
4 Run Diskpart and List Disk
Open the Disk Partition command line tool by typing “diskpart” and pressing enter. Then, type “list disk” to find the active disks on your system.
Next, type and enter the following commands, one at a time:
Select Disk # (Where # is the number of your USB disk. We typed “Select Disk 6”)
Clean (removes any existing partitions from the USB disk, including any hidden sectors)
Create Partition Primary (Creates a new primary partition with default parameters)
Select Partition 1 (Focus on the newly created partition)
Active (Sets the in-focus partition to active, informing the disk firmware that this is a valid system partition)
Format FS=NTFS (Formats the partition with the NTFS file system. This may take several minutes to complete, depending on the size of your USB key. NOTE: For very large drives, you may want to use the “quick” formatting option: Format FS=NTFS Quick )
Assign (Gives the USB drive a Windows volume and next available drive letter. In our case, drive “L” was assigned.)
Exit (Quits the DiskPart tool)
5 Copy the Windows 7 files to the UFD
Copy the entire Windows 7 disk contents to a folder on your desktop and name the file Windows 7.
6 Make the UFD Bootable
Go back to your command prompt, running it as an Administrator. Using the “CD” command, find your way to the folder where you have the Windows 7 files. Your command line path should look something like “C:\Users\USERNAMEHERE\Desktop\Windows 7\”.
Type the following commands:
CD Boot (This gets you into the “boot” directory)
Bootsect.exe /nt60 L: (where „L‟ is the drive letter assigned to your USB key from the previous step)
7 Copy the Windows Files to the UFD
After this step is completed, copy all of the files from the Windows 7 folder to your UFD. Once, these files are copied, your UFD is now bootable and can be used to install Windows 7. When using a fast drive, this method is much faster than installing from a DVD. This is also very useful when installing Windows 7 to systems that do not have a DVD drive such as netbooks or barebones systems.
Additional information on Corsair UFD drives can be found here: http://www.corsair.com/products/flash.aspx
Additional information on the Maximum PC article for installing Windows 7 from a UFD can be found here: