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windows usb installation diskCopy 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 How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive Read More , 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 How To Install Linux With Ease Using UNetbootin How To Install Linux With Ease Using UNetbootin We've already talked about Linux and why you should try it, but probably the hardest part of getting used to Linux is getting it in the first place. For Windows users, the simplest way is... Read More . You’ll need to pick your source and your destination.

windows usb installation disk

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.

windows usb installation cd

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:

windows usb installation disk

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 What Is An Ubuntu PPA & Why Would I Want To Use One? [Technology Explained] What Is An Ubuntu PPA & Why Would I Want To Use One? [Technology Explained] Read More 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!

  1. Michael Weldon
    July 25, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    So WHY (as always) is it ONLY available for Ubuntu? Why do you guys always endorse Ubuntu as though it's the ONLY Linux distro.....and flip the finger to everything else out there?

    I'm sorry if this gets any backs up, but there are a LOT of us out there who DON'T run Ubuntu.....by choice. How can we get OUR hands on this?

  2. Os Worker
    March 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    But after I tried it, when I booted it up from USB, it said the following: "BOOTMGR is missing. Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart." HELP!

    • Justin Pot
      March 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      This app hasn't been updated in four years, by the looks of it. It might not every work again.

  3. Juannn
    March 5, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Great Tool, it's exactly what i needed. I had a legal windows 7 dvd not being used and wanted to install it on my new desktop pc without dvd burner. Soooo, i took the dvd image directly from the dvd itself (duh) on to the usb stick. Now i've got to see if it works on installing the os in the new computer. Wish me luck!

    • Justin Pot
      March 5, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Good luck!

  4. Gabriel
    June 26, 2012 at 12:11 am

    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!

  5. Bert Roberts
    June 16, 2012 at 2:31 am

    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
      June 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      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
      June 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      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
      June 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      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
      June 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      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
      June 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      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
      June 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      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
      June 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      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
      June 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm

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

  6. discount windows 7
    May 12, 2012 at 4:13 am

    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!

  7. Asha
    May 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    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.

  8. Shawn Frost
    February 4, 2012 at 6:51 am

    do this work for xp

    • Tina
      February 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      Probably does!

    • jhpot
      February 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      You can make installation USB disks for XP, absolutely.

  9. J_1_T
    February 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm

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

  10. Elijah Swartz
    January 26, 2012 at 5:44 am

    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
      January 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      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
      January 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      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
      January 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm

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

  11. Antonio Medac
    January 25, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    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 :)

  12. Friend
    January 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    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
      January 26, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      We'll have to check that out...

  13. Al Manriquez
    January 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    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
      January 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm

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

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