How to make a USB drive bootable and Install Windows from it without any third party software

In this post I am gonna show you how you can use your USB drive to install Windows WITHOUT using any third party software and save a lot of time. This was a much needed post because of several reasons.

First of all, you will save a lot of time. You can cut the installation time down to around 15 minutes compared with 30-40 minutes via DVD if you use a USB drive. Secondly, you DON’T need any of the third party softwares to make your USB Flashdrive bootable and ready to use. Thirdly, in recent times several USB Pendrive companies are making USB drives as local drives. Many newer flash drives are now Fixed rather than Removable. It’s due to a new Windows 8 requirement. The problem is that these ‘Fixed drives’ are not recognized as USB removable media by those third party softwares and hence you can’t make them bootable. And fourth, If you don’t have any optical drive in your PC or laptop and you have a USB drive that is recognized as Fixed one, you have only option left to do this.

And when you will do this, I’m sure that from the next time you will follow these simplest steps while installing Windows from your Flashdrive. People often try to find the solution to the best way to do this as most of the online guides are too complex or require third party software which doesn’t always work as they supposed to. With this Bootable USB guide all you need to ensure is that your motherboard supports USB booting, and this is a common feature now for most of the computers. So don’t you worry about this.

Today I’m gonna show you a step by step guide which works perfectly and doesn’t need any additional tools. I am guessing that you already have either a Windows Installation disk or an ISO image of Windows with you. Also you need to have a fast USB 2.0 flash drive – a 4GB unit will do good. The faster it is, the better.

Now follow these steps. First you need to format your USB drive. Make sure you keep backup of everything in your USB drive.

Step 1: Insert your Windows installation disk into optical drive or mount your ISO image. Suppose this is your 'G:' drive. Be careful about that. This may not be 'G:' for your case. Just make a note of it.

Step 2: Open Command Prompt with ADMIN rights. To do this, Click on Start -> Write cmd from your keyboard -> Right Click on cmd.exe -> Click ‘Run as Administrator’

Step 3: Type the following command: diskpart
This will load the DiskPart application we need to proceed to.

Step 4: Type: list disk
This will give you a list of connected disks something like this:
Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
----------- ----------- --------- ------- ------ ------
Disk 0 Online 465 GB 0 B
Disk 1 Online 931 GB 0 B
Disk 2 Online 14 GB 0 B

Identify your USB drive from its size. Suppose I knew my USB drive was around 16GB, so here it must be the Disk 2. Be careful again, it might be Disk 1 for you.

Step 5: Type: select disk 2
(It might be select disk 1 for your case depending on the list in previous step) This will enable us to use this drive now.

Step 6: Type: clean
You will get a successful response "DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk".

Step 7: Now again type: select disk 2 (or same as in step 5)

Step 8: Type: create partition primary
You will get a successful response "DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition".

Step 9: Type: select partition 1
You will get a successful response "Partition 1 is now the selected partition".

Step 10: Type: active
You will get a successful response "DiskPart marked the current partition as active".

Step 11: Type: format fs=ntfs
Formatting will take a little time depending on the size of the drive. You will see a percentage readout until it is finished. Upon completion, you will get a successful response "DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.

Step 12: Type: assign
Now you can see you USB drive in My Computer. Suppose now 'I:' has been assigned to your USB drive. Be careful, this can be different for you, make a note of it again.

Step 13: Type: exit
This will exit the DiskPart Application and bring you back to Command Prompt console. Now you are just one little step away.

Step 14: Type: xcopy g:*.* /s/e/f i:
Here 'g:' is the letter of the mounted ISO image and 'i:' is the letter of the USB drive where you want to copy the files from 'g:'. These could be different for you.

Now this process will take another 10-15 minutes. When the copying is done just type exit to exit command prompt.

Alternate way to make a USB drive bootable:
There is an another way to do this if in the previous step you messed something up.
Step 1: You need to obtain the windows files from somewhere and save them to a folder in your PC. You can rip a windows installation DVD, or if you have the ISO image file you can open it with Magic Disc or Daemon tools or even WinRAR, and you need to copy the whole content to a folder anywhere in your PC, you just need to make sure you know where it is located. Suppose its in 'D:Win7Setup' folder.

Now follow the same Step 2 through Step 13 as described in the earlier method.

Step 14: Now you have to write the path to the executable file in your windows saved folder, make sure that in your windows folder you have the boot folder with the bootsect.exe file. So for my case it will be: 'D:Win7Setupbootbootsect.exe'. You need to enter this folder now. So for me the commands go like: e: -> cd win7setup -> cd boot
If the bootsect.exe file is not there in the boot folder, you need to find the actual location of it. For Windows 8/8.1, it could be in ‘en-us’ subfolder under boot folder. So you need to enter that folder using cd <folder_name> command.

Step 15: Type : bootsect.exe/nt60 i:
'i:' is the letter of the USB drive where you want to copy the files. This will update the boot core in the USB drive.

Step 16: Type: exit
to exit from Command Prompt. Now you are just one step away.

Step 17: Now you need to COPY ALL THE FILES from the windows folder (which is in my case 'D:Win7Setup') to your USB drive. Wait until everything is copied.

Yes that’s all to make a USB drive bootable. Now you’re good to start formatting your windows. Don’t forget to take backup of all your important data before start formatting.

And don’t forget to stop by and say thanks in the comments section if you find this post helpful.

Happy formatting. ๐Ÿ™‚


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