How To Create A Windows USB Installation Disk With WinUSB [Linux]

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winusb icon   How To Create A Windows USB Installation Disk With WinUSB [Linux]Copy the Windows installation DVD to a bootable USB key, from within Linux. It only takes a few clicks and works with all Windows Vista and Windows 7 disks thanks to a program called WinUSB.

We’ve shown you how to install Windows 7 from a USB drive, but the process assumes you have access to a Windows computer to begin with. That’s not always the case, particularly if you’re the kind of person who regularly tries out different operating systems. Also, there are more than a few IT professionals who work on Windows computers but primarily use Linux themselves. This tool is perfect for them, and any Linux user who occasionally helps Windows users.

So whether your want to replace Linux on your netbook with Windows or just create a Windows boot disk from your Linux setup, WinUSB is useful to you.

Using WinUSB

Launch this program and you’ll see an interface not unlike UNetBootin, a similar tool for creating Linux bootable USB drives. You’ll need to pick your source and your destination.

WinUSB main   How To Create A Windows USB Installation Disk With WinUSB [Linux]

Your source can be an actual DVD or an ISO file ripped from your DVD; it doesn’t matter. Your destination should be a flash drive with, ideally, 4GB of space on it. You’re going to want to clear space on the drive before you go through with this, so back up anything on your drive and delete it all from the flash drive.

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Once you’re ready, you can start the creation process.

WinUSB creating   How To Create A Windows USB Installation Disk With WinUSB [Linux]

This will take a while, so be patient. Once your disk is done being created you’ve got your installation disk, assuming no errors came up. Using this should be simple, but you will need to enter the boot menu of your device and pick the USB drive.

Once you get that going, you should see the Windows 7 installation tool:

winusb installing   How To Create A Windows USB Installation Disk With WinUSB [Linux]

Not bad, eh? You can now install Windows 7 on your optical-free computer. Enjoy!

If you’ve never installed Windows before, don’t panic. It’s much  easier than it used to be. Just follow the prompts and you’ll be fine, but know that deleting your existing partitions means you will lose your operating system entirely.

Get WinUSB

Ready to give this app a spin? You can download WinUSB for Linux here. Or, if you’re using Ubuntu, you can install it from a PPA using these commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:colingille/freshlight

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install winusb

The first command adds the PPA; the second command updates your repositories; the third command installs WinUSB.

Conclusion

Not everyone will need this application, of course, but it’s ready for you when you need it. Linux purists would believe that no one ever switches from Linux to Windows, but let’s face it, this happens. I’m glad there are tools out there for making this easy, because there are plenty of great tools for going the other way.

Even if you’re not switching from Linux to Windows, though, this tool is useful. You can use your Linux computer to reinstall Windows for friends, or generally become a better repair wizard.

What will you be using this software for? As always, I’m an extremely curious guy, so please share your ideas in the comments below. Thanks!

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26 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Al Manriquez

If anyone wants to get a bootable flash drive, just go with win to flash the most simple thing to ever use. As long  as you have the iso and a usb with enough space it will work, I guarantee it!

jhpot

That works really well, but isn’t it a Windows program? The one above is for Linux users. 

Reply

Friend

There is a script called Multisystem that can do this, and more:
sudo apt-add-repository ‘deb http://liveusb.info/multisystem/depot all main’wget -q http://liveusb.info/multisystem/depot/multisystem.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -sudo apt-get updatesudo apt-get install multisystemhttp://liveusb.info/dotclear/index.php?pages/install

jhpot

We’ll have to check that out…

Reply

Antonio Medac

From linux you don’t need this. Just open gparted (or any other partitioning tool), format stick to ntfs, put bootable flag, and extract iso to usb. That’s all :)

Reply

Elijah Swartz

I remember back in the day when I used XP, if I did a significant hardware change, my OS would become deactivated. My guess this is a anti-piracy measure or what not. I haven’t done any significant hardware changes with my current install. Would this happen with Windows 7 on a USB stick if you move it around to different PCs? Does anyone have any experiences?

jhpot

All you’re doing is moving the installation files to a Windows 7 stick. This program doesn’t let you bypass any sort of copyright protection. You can only legally use your installation on one computer at a time. 

Elijah Swartz

I wasn’t interested in bypassing security. I think i misread the article last night thinking it would let you install Windows 7 to a usb drive. This is essentially just a linux alternative of Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB/DVD tool, right?

jhpot

Yep, that’s what it is. Sorry for the confusion.

Reply

J_1_T

Hi, Is there a way to run Windows as an OS from a USB or CD, like the live Linux distros?

Reply

Shawn Frost

do this work for xp

Tina

Probably does!

jhpot

You can make installation USB disks for XP, absolutely.

Reply

Asha

Thankyou for this post. I have been looking all over the internet to find a way to make a bootable windows usb.This really is encouraging that I dont have to keep on using linux when I want to use windows. Thankyou.

Reply

discount windows 7

I used to be suggested this website by means of my cousin. I’m now not sure whether this post is written via him as nobody else understand such certain about my problem. You are incredible! Thank you!

Reply

Bert Roberts

Nice tool, except that I get a ‘no boot manager’ error when booting from the USB stick when trying to install XP or Windows PE.

Justin Pot

That’s too bad. I ran into this problem once, and found the problem was my drive: it wasn’t formatted for MBR. Could that be your problem?

Bert Roberts

Thanks, Justin. But, I did install a mbr on the USB key using Lilo -M, which is the switch for installing a NTFS/Win7 mbr. But, shouldn’t WinUSB do this itself? You would think that if it was fully automated one would not have to manually confiugure the partition and install a mbr.

Justin Pot

I forgot that WinUSB formats the drive. You’re right: it should do this on its own. Some computers don’t support booting from USB, unfortunately: my media center does the same thing. In those situations you’re stuck with using a CD. What kind of computer are you using?

Bert Roberts

It’s a Dell. But, the TSST CD stopped working long ago. Guess Dell only buys from the lowest bidder. But, like most boxes made over the last 10 years, it does support booting from USB. The way I see it is that you can get a USB stick to boot with GRUB or syslinux then mount an iso from within and install from this. The big problem with that though is that xp, which is what I want to install, has at least one reboot from what I remember, during the install process. This is likely where you will error out. I suspect that using WinPE 3 and loading my xp iso on the USB stick will work. But, to run that utility to make PE stick you need Windows. The workaround seems to be to use WINE. But, WINE will not recognize a USB drive. However, there is a hack for this on the WINEHQ site that may do the trick.

Bert Roberts

It’s a Dell. But, the TSST CD stopped working long ago. Guess Dell only buys from the lowest bidder. But, like most boxes made over the last 10 years, it does support booting from USB. The way I see it is that you can get a USB stick to boot with GRUB or syslinux then mount an iso from within and install from this. The big problem with that though is that xp, which is what I want to install, has at least one reboot from what I remember, during the install process. This is likely where you will error out. I suspect that using WinPE 3 and loading my xp iso on the USB stick will work. But, to run that utility to make PE stick you need Windows. The workaround seems to be to use WINE. But, WINE will not recognize a USB drive. However, there is a hack for this on the WINEHQ site that may do the trick.

Bert Roberts

It’s a Dell. But, the TSST CD stopped working long ago. Guess Dell only buys from the lowest bidder. But, like most boxes made over the last 10 years, it does support booting from USB. The way I see it is that you can get a USB stick to boot with GRUB or syslinux then mount an iso from within and install from this. The big problem with that though is that xp, which is what I want to install, has at least one reboot from what I remember, during the install process. This is likely where you will error out. I suspect that using WinPE 3 and loading my xp iso on the USB stick will work. But, to run that utility to make PE stick you need Windows. The workaround seems to be to use WINE. But, WINE will not recognize a USB drive. However, there is a hack for this on the WINEHQ site that may do the trick.

Bert Roberts

It’s a Dell. But, the TSST CD stopped working long ago. Guess Dell only buys from the lowest bidder. But, like most boxes made over the last 10 years, it does support booting from USB. The way I see it is that you can get a USB stick to boot with GRUB or syslinux then mount an iso from within and install from this. The big problem with that though is that xp, which is what I want to install, has at least one reboot from what I remember, during the install process. This is likely where you will error out. I suspect that using WinPE 3 and loading my xp iso on the USB stick will work. But, to run that utility to make PE stick you need Windows. The workaround seems to be to use WINE. But, WINE will not recognize a USB drive. However, there is a hack for this on the WINEHQ site that may do the trick.

Justin Pot

If that doesn’t work, buying beer for a friend with a Windows machine should.

Reply

Gabriel

I’ll be using this for me, for continuing my quest to have as many OSes as possible even though I can’t boot from a CD drive (currently will have Ubuntu, Fedora, Windows 7, XP, – and maybe OS X…..shhhhhh)

I knew how to make Linux LiveUSBs, but not Windows. Thank you very much!

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