Did you know you could install Windows onto your computer without having to use the DVD? Not only does it make the install process faster, it makes it painless if you have more than one computer in your house or business. Follow this simple and easy how to install windows from a USB drive.
With today’s ultra books, ever thinner laptops and notebook computers the one thing that ends up missing is the DVD-ROM drive. The trick is how to install Windows onto these devices that no longer have one? Well you could invest in a USB DVD ROM Drive and install Windows that way. Or you can use a USB Thumb drive instead. Not only is it easy to setup but it is a lot faster to use to install onto a computer. To do this you will need the following:
- USB Thumb Drive – at least 4GB in size
- Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool
- An ISO image of Windows (XP, 7, or 8 **)
- A Valid License Key for Windows
** For Windows 8 – This will only work if you have a Retail version of Windows 8 apparently. Since I only had the MSDN version of Pro I couldn’t get it to work. So your results may vary.
Preparing the USB Drive
First thing you’ll need to do is make sure the USB thumb drive you plan on using is prepared correctly. Make sure you backup anything that might be on it before you format it. To format the USB drive perform the following:
- Go to the Explorer Window and click on Computer
- Right click on the USB Drive and select Format
- Click on the box under Format Options: Quick Format and click Start
After it completes formatting just click on OK and your USB drive will be ready to use.
Download and Install Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool
- Download the executable to wherever you wish to save it to.
- Run the executable to install. If prompted by your computer asking if it is safe? Click Yes to continue.
After it is completed you will need to open up the application to get started. Of course before you do you will need the actual ISO image…
Downloading or Creating the ISO
The only tricky part about this process is the ISO you’ll need to create the USB Install. I was able to download the ISO directly from Microsoft. But if you only have the DVD? You can easily create an ISO image of your Windows Disc. Of course you will need a computer that actually has a DVD-ROM drive in it to do this. I suggest getting either a free utility like Burn Aware or you can download a trial version of my personal choice of Alcohol 120%. Once you have that completed you can move onto actually creating the USB Install.
Creating the USB Install of Windows
Start the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool and go through the following steps to create your USB Install
Creating bootable USB Device: Here is where it will go through the steps of formatting and copy the ISO over to your USB thumb drive. This step will take about 30 minutes +/- so step away from the computer.
Then you are set to install Windows onto any computer using the USB thumb drive!
How to Install Windows from a USB Drive
This part varies from computer to computer. For most newer systems all you should need to do is:
- Power the computer down.
- Insert the USB Install containing Windows
- Power the computer back up and it should automatically detect the USB
- Install Windows as Normal
Now if the computer isn’t recognizing the USB device upon boot up? You will need to refer to your computer’s manual on how to setup the boot detection. The way I describe below is the most generic method.
- Power down the computer.
- Power it back on.
- While it is going through the initial power on press the DELETE key quickly and repeatedly until you see the BIOS screen. (Although technically you should only have to press it once – the timing can be tricky)
- Go to the Boot section in the BIOS
- Change the Boot Order so it detects “Removable Media” first. I then recommend that you have the hard drive setup as second and finally your DVD ROM drive (if applicable) as third.
- Go to Save & Exit
- Reboot and see if your computer detects the USB Install Drive
Below are pics from my BIOS screen on my desktop. Again you should refer to your computer manufacturer on how to go about changing your settings. As weird things can happen if you play around in the BIOS.
Let me know if you run into any snags with this. I will do my best to either help you or point you in the right direction!