Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive for Windows 7 Installation

by Eric Geier [Published on 6 April 2011 / Last Updated on 1 Feb. 2010]

Install Windows 7 from a Netbook or other PC without a DVD drive.

If you have a Netbook or other computer that isn’t loaded with a DVD drive, you’ll run into problems when upgrading or reinstalling Windows 7, as it comes on a DVD disc. However, if you have a USB flash drive you can load it with the installation files from a disc, using another computer, or ISO disc image. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Format the USB drive.
  2. If you downloaded Windows 7, you need to extract the ISO disc image file, using a utility such as WinRAR or PowerISO.
  3. From another computer, use XCopy to put the installation files onto the USB drive:
      1. Open a Command Prompt.
      2. If using an ISO disc image, navigate to the location of the extracted files. For example, enter cd c:/path_to_file. Then run the following command, while replacing F with the real letter of USB drive, and hit Enter: XCOPY *.* F: /e
      3. If using a DVD disc, run the following command, replacing D with the real letter of your DVD drive and F for the real letter of the USB drive, and hit Enter: XCOPY D: F: /e

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