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