How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra Software

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featured win7 install   How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra SoftwareI recently bought a nice new setup for my media centre, but I didn’t want to splash out on another DVD drive when physical media is basically dead – and swapping out a DVD drive from another machine just to install Windows seems like such a waste of time when I could be eating Christmas pudding. While Windows 8 is slated to allow media-less upgrade, today I’ll outline a relatively easy way to make a bootable Windows installation USB drive, without having to download additional software. If your Christmas PC budget didn’t quite stretch to a DVD drive, this is the tutorial for you.

We described a similar method before, but it required a few external utilities. This time I’ll assume you have a working Windows 7 computer with an existing DVD drive somewhere – and a working installation DVD to go with it. You’ll use this machine to format, set up, and copy over the relevant files to a USB stick. You could also do this without a DVD drive from the ISO, but in that case your job would be a whole lot simpler because you could use the official ISO -> USB creator.

Note: You cannot use this method to install to a Parallels virtual machine. Your only option in that case is to use either a physical DVD or an ISO download and connect to that to the VM instead.

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You’ll need:

  • A working Windows 7 system with a DVD drive and administrator rights.
  • A Windows 7 installation DVD.
  • 4GB USB drive or larger.

This will also work with larger external hard drives instead of a USB thumbdisk, but be aware that all the data on the drive will be formatted and deleted.

Open An Elevated Command Prompt

Click Start -> All Programs -> Accessories and right-click on Command Prompt. Select Run As Administrator. Of course, you need to be able to authenticate as the administrator on the PC you’re using.

run command prompt as administrator   How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra Software

Partitioning The Disk

Type:

DISKPART

diskpart command prompt   How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra Software

This will open up the partitioning application. Next, type:

LIST DISK

Figure out which of the drives listed is your USB drive, and note the number. It’s crucial you get this right, or you’re going to end up losing data on other drives.

list disk   How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra Software

Next, type the following series of commands, but replace the DISK number in the first line with the appropriate number from the above list. Here, my disk is number 1. Don’t confuse this with PARTITION 1. That number should not change, even if your disk is 3.

SELECT DISK 1
CLEAN
CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
SELECT PARTITION 1
ACTIVE
FORMAT FS=NTFS
ASSIGN
EXIT

diskpart all steps   How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra Software

Make It Bootable!

The format step may take a little while (it actually took about 30 minutes on my machine). When you’re done, put in your installation DVD if you haven’t already. Note down which drive letter your USB disk and Windows installation DVD are located at.

identify drive letters   How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra Software

Go back to your command prompt and type – assuming D: is your DVD drive with the install DVD, and U: is your USB drive:

D:/BOOT/BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 U:

This will basically make your USB drive bootable.

bootsect   How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra Software

Copy Everything

The final step can be done from My Computer. Just open up the installation DVD, highlight everything, and drag it over to your USB drive.

copy to usb   How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra Software

This will also take a while.

copy win7 files to usb takes ages   How To Make A USB Installation Disk For Windows 7 Without Extra Software

Now you should be all set – just insert the USB disk into your new PC, and enter the BIOS to adjust the boot order, or choose the option during start up which says Choose Boot Device.

Let’s hear it for computers with no noisy and clunky DVD drives! Death to physical media! Or not – what do you think? Are you ready to go DVD-less?

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35 Comments -

ajay kumar

hey,
I have another BEST and easy way to make USB bootable Windows 7…….
Nothing to do…..
Step 1: Explore your Windows 7 DVD or ISO File( in case of ISO file just mount is using any utility like Nero or PowerISO…even u can use trial version of these)
Step 2: Now copy all files including Hindden files and paste it on your formatted 4 GB( or more ) pendrive
Step 3: Restart your PC and go to BIOS and select USB as a first boot device then save and quit
Step 4: Your PC will boot with USB and now you can install or repair your Windows 7 faster than any DVD installation ……  enjoy……
I have installed this way…..  :-)

yethz

Nice Tip! I may try that if I need a USB Windows 7 disk.. Thanks and that’s really easy than using CMD’s ;)

James Bruce

That would work only if your USB drive was already bootable with NTFS partition. Otherwise you need to enter those commands. Why do you think I would publish a whole article on the topic if it was that simple?

Kelly

I am having a problem after formatting the usb. The DVD drive is D: and the usb is F: on my computer. At the prompt I typed

D:BOOT/BOOTSECT.EXE/NT60 F:

When I enter the boot command i get “the directory name is invalid” message. Can you tell me how to work through it? Thanks!

James Bruce

Yep, leave a space after the .EXE part

;)

Kelly

i’m a noob who is not wearing my glasses! Thank you!!!

Maaza

i dont have windows 7 dvd but i have the entire windows 7 files which i copied from the DVD onto my computer hard disk but now that DVD is lost and all i have is the whole files of that DVD.
So can i still create bootable win7 usb with win7 files. i dont have win7 iso image either.So please tell me the procedure by which i can create win7 bootable usb on a computer that runs on xp and have no DVD or iso image.
In xp when i type list disk it shows only ” Disk 0 ” ie my fixed hard disk
it doesnt find or locate my usb removable disk. why ?

Maaza

i dont have windows 7 DVD since i lost it but i have the whole windows 7 files on my computer hard disk which i copied from win7 dvd before i lost it.
So can i still create a win7 bootable usb with win7 files on a computer that runs on xp 2 coz when i type list disk it shows only ‘Disk 0′ i.e my fixed hard disk. It doesnt show my removable usb disk.
So can you please tell me the procedure by which i can create bootable win7 usb from a following resource :
8 gb usb , windows 7 setup files , OS – xp 2 !

muotechguy

Sorry, not possible. You need the ISO to do this. If you have a valid license key, just download a torrent of the ISO.

Maaza

What if i create an ISO image of my windows 7 backup files ? i have a tool which can create files or folder to ISO.

Rubel

For multi boot usb flash drive visit this link http://making-a-bootable-usb.blogspot.com/2012/01/make-usb-bootable-windows-7.html

Noob

can you please explain how to make an UEFI usb boot disk

Peter

FWIW, I have done this many times with many machines and I have never needed to use the BOOTSECT command.  I just follow the DISKPART steps and then copy the files to the drive.  Every machine I have tested has booted up from the USB drive made that way.

Peter

Some other tips:

After you enter the SELECT DISK # command, re-enter LIST DISK and you should see an asterisk next to the disk you selected. Double check that this is the correct disk, because using DISKPART is an easy way to really mess up your disks if you aren’t careful.

There really is no need to use the SELECT PARTITION command in this case. After you clean the disk and create a primary partition using all the available space, there will only be one partition. There is no need to specifically select it.

As long as you know the drive is good, you can save a lot of time by doing a quick format. On the format step enter FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK.

James Bruce

Awesome tip, thanks peter!w

Anomaly

All the command line work is not really necessary. All you have done is format a USB drive as one NTFS partition with a boot flag and copied the files from the DVD on to it. I use Gparted to do this with no command line necessary. Also works for making a bootable USB for the Windows 7 Recovery Disc.

James Bruce

The whole point was to do this without using external software – though admittedly that part got edited out of my original title. It’s not really a case of only having made a single active NTFS partition, because most no USB sticks come formatted like that and therefore it’s a fairly essential step. And if I’d have just written “step 1: go ahead and make a single ntfs formatted active partition with the boot flag set” , how many readers do you think would have understood that?

Gparted is a live usb/cd app anyway, so that’s another download and usb live cd creation that would have been needed before I could use that method. Why fuss around when it’s built into windows?  

Anyway, thanks for the tip. I dont use gparted myself, but I’m sure it will come in handy for other windows users who need to regularly mess with partitions. Windows is decidedly lacking in that area – even the built in partition manager refuses to load 9 out of 10 times on my machine. 

Larry Sessions

This is great, but is there any hope for someone who has a PC (with a legal copy of Windows) but not an installation disk. My PC (HP, x64) came with Windows 7 (home deluxe) installed, but no disk. I would like to have something just in case, but for now all I have are the emergency disks they let you burn.

James Bruce

Ahh, Larry. That is a sorry situation. The legalities of it are murky, since the license is OEM and technically you aren’t allowed to do a clean install, I believe. That being sent, if you can just write your licence key, and download a iso of windows 7 retail install, I’m fairly certain it would activate with your license key just fine, but I couldn’t promise anything. In that kind of situation, I would personally be tempted just to install and run Daz Loader to remove activation ‘feature’ anyway, as you obviously have a licence and aren’t stealing anything. 

Starman

Thanks, James. Next time I buy a PC I will be sure it comes with the installation CD!

James Bruce

Both are additional utilities. Yes, much easier though. 

Andy

Hi, I got through formatting the drive and assigning it a letter. Once I attempt to make it bootable I receive “Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects: Access is denied.” Any tips to move on?

James Bruce

Hi Andy. I haven’t experienced this myself, but it sounds like you haven’t run CMD prompt as as administrator, or perhaps the EXIT command is pushing you out of admin mode? 

Even if you have already, close it down, and reopen as administrator and try that step again. That should do the trick.

James Bruce

Sure, much easier. But again, the whole point was to do this without additional software. Thanks for the link anyway, but I believe MS also released their own even *easier* tool for making install disks. 

Tanveer

Guys help me Plz.
I have sony Vaio Laptop.I have problem With my laptop SuperDrive.its not working.and i want to install window from usb.Now problem is that my laptop dosn’t have the Usb Boot option.still is there anyway to insall the window…
Help plz…

muotechguy

Sorry Tanveer, you could try upgrading the BIOS but I doubt it would add the ability to boot from USB. However you look at it, you need the cd drive working.

Param

instal usb dvd rom that easy way to install window…….. another use usb hdd in ur bios .
\

Mitar

Great tutorial.
If you are ever having problems with the default Microsoft USB-DVD tool, this method works great.

Jeremy

I did everything and it was successful, however when it came to loading on the target PC it came up with disk read error.. hence, no good for me :-(

Don’t know what else to do..

muotechguy

That means your computer probably can’t boot off USB unfortunately.

Thomas Bridges

Worked like a charm on the first try! Well done and many thanks :) This brought my laptop back to life after a disk drive failure.

Armin

thanks for this tutorial, Bruce! I used your method to prepare a harddisk (in an external USB case) for WIN7 installation in a Portege M200 and it worked flawlessly. Probably the simplest way to install an operating system on this machine without CD or DVD drive.

Azra

Hi,
Such a clear and to the point tutorial, good one, thanks James. I had a problem, when I try to entering the code H:/BOOT/BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 G:, then this message came… “H:/BOOT/BOOTSECT.EXE” is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file. …

The disc I used is an .iso file that I mount with DT lite, is that the problem why it can’t be done ?

James Bruce

I suspect you’re trying to use one of those all-in-one ISOs where many different versions of the instal are included on one disk. I don’t have one to check, but have a look at the folder structure , probably you need to add another folder after H:/ before you find the executable. Alternatively, download a regular version, not all-in-one.

Oh, I assume H:/ is actually your virtual drive, right?