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Author Topic: How to load Windows 7 onto a bootable USB key  (Read 394 times)

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Offline DarkAngel

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How to load Windows 7 onto a bootable USB key
« on: November 16, 2010, 04:38:07 PM »
1. Format Your USB Key
 

Plug in your USB key and back up any existing data stored on it. You'll need to format the key (thus erasing existing data) before you can make it a bootable device. We used an 8GB key, but a 4GB key will also work.


2. Partition that Key in CMD3. Format Away (Command-Prompt Style)4. Copy Windows DVD to a Desktop Folder

Insert the Windows 7 installation DVD into your drive, and view the files that it contains. Copy all of the files to a folder on your Desktop. We put the disc contents in a folder named Windows 7.


5. Turn Your Key into a Bootable Device

Now, go back to your command prompt, running it as an Administrator. Using the CD command, navigate your way to the folder where you placed the Windows disk ISO files. Your command line path should look something like C:\Users\USERNAMEHERE\Desktop\Windows 7\ if you followed our lead on folder placement. Now type the following commands:

CD Boot (this gets you into the boot directory)

Bootsect.exe /nt60 L: (this assumes L is the drive letter assigned to your USB key from the previous step)

In case youre wondering, Bootsect infuses boot manager or compatible code into your USB key to make it a bootable device. Also be aware that if you're currently running 32-bit Windows Vista or 7, Bootsect will only work if you use the files from the 32-bit Windows 7 install disc. The Bootsect executable from the 64-bit version will not run in 32-bit Vista. Don't forget it!


6. Load the USB Key with Your Install Files

Copy all of the extracted ISO files into the USB drive. You don't need to do this from the command prompt. Just drag and drop the files from the Windows 7 folder into the USB drive using Windows Explorer. We also recommend copying your hardware drivers onto the same key so the installation wizard can find them.

Your USB key is now all ready to go! Plug it into your target system and make sure you enter the BIOS (typically by hitting F2 or F12) to temporarily change the boot order to allow booting from the USB key before your primary hard drive or optical drive. Now, when you plug the key into a machine, your system should automatically begin speedily downloading setup files off of the USB key and entering Windows 7 installation.

tip found at MaximumPC.com
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