Tutorial: Install Windows From USB Stick On your Computer

Installing one program does not take that much time, but it changes when you want to install multiple programs, for example after a fresh Windows install from USB. It is obvious to install a few browsers, for example, an extra media player such as the VLC player, and possibly a number of useful system tools. All in all, it takes quite a long time to download and install them all separately. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a solution to that?

No DVD Player:

Installing Windows from a CD or DVD is not for every computer. The simple reason is that modern netbooks often don’t have a DVD player. You would of course also do a factory restore but a clean installation is always better. At such a time it is necessary to perform the Windows installation from a USB stick. Moreover, installing from a USB stick is often much faster. Installing Windows from a USB stick is also a solution for computers with a DVD player. For the way in which the latest Windows versions are installed, a lot easier than in the past, for example with Windows XP. The installation files are more compact and require fewer settings or adjustments to install the Windows operating system from a USB flash stick.

Requirements Install Windows From USB Stick:

A number of things are required for installing Windows from a USB stick. First of all, you must have a USB stick with at least 8 GB of free space. Nowadays you already have such a stick for a few cents. The second important point is that your computer supports the ability to boot (boot) from USB. Now most computers less than 4 years old will offer that option, but you can check this in the manual or find it in the BIOS settings to be on the safe side. In the boot options in the BIOS, you will usually find a line like ‘ boot from USB ‘, ‘ boot other device or a similar rule.

The third – and also an important point – is that you have an installation DVD of Windows your Windows Vista or 7 versions. You will need the files on this to install the windows from the USB stick. For Windows 7 the installation files can still be downloaded, that link can be found together with that of Windows 8 a little further in the article. For Vista it will be a different story, there are still places where you can download Vista but they are scarce and often not of high quality (malware and the like)

Installation Files Windows 10:

Making an installation USB for Windows 10 is not that difficult. You get the USB by downloading and running the Windows Media Creator. An extensive tutorial on how to do this can be found on the page: Making Windows 10 USB

Installation Files Windows 7:

For Windows 7 you will find the installation files for the USB in the following place. You do need the product key here.

You will most likely find this product key in the form of a sticker on the back of the laptop or side of your desktop.

Installation Files Windows 8.1:

For Windows 8 and 8.1, the installation files can be found through the utility on the site: Create installation media for Windows 8.1

Note: In this tutorial, we explain how to make a bootable USB stick, but the actions described here only work under Windows Vista or Windows 7 or Windows 8 (.1). If you are still using Windows XP or an older Windows version, some of the operations cannot be performed because those operating systems do not support it. So only use Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 to install via USB flash disk.

Preparing the USB Stick:

For Windows 10, you don’t need to follow the tutorial below because you are using the Windows Media Creator for that. An exception to the rule: if you have an ISO file and no Internet connection.

To step:

First place an empty USB stick of at least 6 GB on the computer. A 2 GB stick is not suitable for this, because the Windows installation files are just a little larger than 2 GB.

If reinstalling from a 3.0 USB flash drive fails and gives an error during installation, the USB flash drive is too large. In this case use a 2.0 stick with a smaller capacity of eg 16GB and the installation will succeed.

Now start a command line (command prompt) in Windows via the start menu | programs | desk accessories and Command Prompt. Make sure you run the command prompt with Administrator rights.

In Windows 8.1  and 10 you do this by clicking with the right mouse button in the bottom left corner and then on Command Prompt (administrator)

In Windows Vista and 7, right click on the Command Prompt icon and choose ‘Run as Administrator’. This icon can be found in the Start menu in the System Tools folder.

Administrator Rights:

You must use administrator rights because we are going to perform system administration tasks on the computer. Without these permissions, some commands may not work and the USB creation may fail.

When you arrive at the dos prompt, type the following command followed by an enter:  DISKPART

With disk part, you start the disk partition program. We will use this program to make the USB stick suitable for the Windows installation files. If you have entered disk part, you may be asked whether the command may be executed, confirm with ‘yes’. In disk part, you now give the command  LIST DISK, followed by enter. You will then get a screen that looks like below:

In our example, we have a hard disk of 100GB (Disk 0) in the PC and the USB stick of 4GB (Disk 1).

Now in disk part you enter a number of commands in succession, which successively ensures that the correct drive is selected, it is completely formatted, a partition is created and bootable is made. First make sure that the USB stick is actually shown in the overview and remember the disk number attached to it, as in our example this is Disk 1.

Type in the following commands, all followed by enter:

Select Disk 1:

You will now see the following text: ‘Disk 1 is now the selected disk’. Now type the following command:

Clean:

The drive is now completely emptied. Type the following command:

Create Partition Primary:

A primary partition is now created. Now the following command:

Select Partition 1:

The newly created partition is selected. Now the following command:

Active:

The partition is set as the active partition. The next command is:

Format FS = NTFS:

The partition is formatted according to the NTFS format. This action may take a few minutes to complete. Progress is shown in percentages. When formatting is complete, type the following command:

Assign:

This will automatically provide the USB stick with a drive letter. Now close disk part with the EXIT command. We summarize what we have done so far. We completely emptied the USB stick, then we put a new primary partition on it, formatted it with NTFS format, and made it active again. The USB stick is now ready to be used, but we still have to execute a number of commands.

Now insert the installation DVD of your Windows version into the drive. For the next step, we again need administrator rights to run. Now open another command prompt as administrator.

Then go back to the command prompt and type in the following command followed by an enter (assuming drive letter D is the drive of your DVD player, otherwise use the letter your DVD player is set to):

D:

The command prompt now indicates the following line: D:>. Now on this drive go to the BOOT folder via the following command, followed by entering:

CD Boat:

Now we are going to copy the boot sector – the part of a drive that can boot during the computer boot – from the DVD to the USB drive. To do this, enter the following command in the command prompt, followed by entering: (E: stands for the drive letter of the USB, use the letter to which your USB stick is attached).

BOOTSECT.EXE / NT60 E:

This will copy the boot sector from the Windows installation DVD to the USB stick, allowing the BIOS to recognize the stick as a bootable USB disk.

Install Files From the Windows DVD to the USB Stick:

The last step of this tutorial is actually the simplest. All you have to do is copy the install files from your Windows DVD to the USB stick. Be sure to copy all files and folders from the Windows installation DVD. Forgetting a file prevents the computer from booting from the USB stick. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the DVD drive containing the installation DVD. Then select in the right pane which shows all the subfolders and files of the DVD. Copy all of these to the USB stick.

After the entire contents of the DVD have been copied to the USB stick, you can start the computer with it. And install Windows. First, check if the BIOS settings are such that it is possible to boot the computer from USB.