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Install Windows Vista / 7 Using USB Flash Drive

This guide works 100% for Vista & Windows 7 unlike most of the guides out there. I have seen many sites/blogs that have “Install Vista from USB guide” but either with incomplete steps or not working guide. I have also seen some guides that don’t’ use proper commands in this guide. After spending many hours I have come up with this 100% working guide.

I just did this method on one of my friends machine and installed the new Windows 7 BETA. The main advantage is that by using USB drive you will be able to install Windows 7/Vista in just 15 minutes. You can also use this bootable USB drive on friend’s computer who doesn’t have a DVD optical drive.
The method is very simple and you can use without any hassles. Needless to say that your motherboard should support USB Boot feature to make use of the bootable USB drive.
  • USB Flash Drive (Minimum 4GB)
  • Windows 7 or Vista installation files.
How to make a Bootable USB :

Having a bootable USB is very essential, especially if you are a Netbook user. Using bootable USB to install an operating system (OS) not only makes the installation faster, but also saves a DVD.

Creating or using an USB drive to install Windows operating systems is very easy if you follow the below mentioned steps.

1. Insert your USB stick to the system and backup all the data from the USB as we are going to format the USB to make it as bootable.

Now here is a catch. Every tutorial on the internet requires you to have Windows Vista / 7 Installed to complete the steps. So i started Googling and I finally got this working on XP also after 7 hours of struggle and found out it was actually pretty simple.

So I have divided the first few steps for Windows XP and Vista / 7 users :

For Windows XP Users:

If you are on Windows XP follow the steps below :
2. Download this zip file
3. Run USB_MultiBoot_10.cmd. Press any key.
4. Choose option 2 i.e "H". In the windows, choose NTFS and format, not quick format. Follow this guide from step 5 and forward.

For Windows Vista & Windows 7 Users:
If you are on Windows Vista or Windows Seven follow the steps below :
2. Open Command Prompt with admin rights. Use any of the below methods to open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  1. Type cmd in Start menu search box and hit Ctrl+ Shift+ Enter.
  2. Go to Start menu > All programs > Accessories, right click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
3. You need to know about the USB drive a little bit. Type in the following commands in the command prompt:
First type DISKPART and hit enter to see the below message.
Next type LIST DISK command and note down the Disk number (ex: Disk 1) of your USB flash drive. In the below screenshot my Flash Drive Disk no is Disk 1.
4. Next type all the below commands one by one. Here I assume that your disk drive no is “Disk 1”.If you have Disk 2 as your USB flash drive then use Disk 2.Refer the above step to confirm it.
So below are the commands you need to type and execute one by one:
(Format process may take few seconds)
Don’t close the command prompt as we need to execute one more command at the next step. Just minimize it.
Common Steps for Windows XP and Vista / 7 Users :

5. Insert your Windows DVD or CD / Any Other Bootable CD or DVD in the optical drive and note down the drive letter of the optical drive and USB media. Here I use “D” as my optical (DVD) drive letter and “H” as my USB drive letter.

6. Go back to command prompt and execute the following commands:

D: and hit enter. Where “D” is your DVD drive letter.
CD BOOT and hit enter

(Where “H” is your USB drive letter)

7. Copy Windows DVD contents to USB i.e. copy all files from Windows DVD and paste them to USB.

You are done with your bootable USB. You can now use this bootable USB as bootable DVD on any computer that comes with USB boot feature (most of the current motherboards support this feature).