In this particular post, we will see how to install Windows operating systems (XP, Vista and 7) from USB drive and while learning that we will also see, how to make a USB drive bootable. I have seen many blogs and posts claiming that by using their methods, users can easily install Windows from USB but very few of them actually work.
Also see: How to speedup your computer
So after coming across this particular scenario myself, I decided to post this guide to help more and more people to format their PC using nothing more than a USB and Windows installation files.
Many times it happens, that we don’t have access to CD drive or in some case, we don’t have CD drive at all. In such cases, it becomes a little problematic to get our PC working again. But now you can format/install fresh version of Windows by following the steps I have given:
Our first step is to have all things ready, which we will need during format. So have one USB drive (minimum 4GB to be on safer side) and Windows operating system’s installation files. So if you’re installing Windows 7, have those files or CD image ready with you.
1. Plug in the USB drive to computer and make it empty by deleting or moving all the files to the computer.
2. Now open “Command prompt” either by typing “cmd” in “Start” menu (In case of Windows Vista and Windows 7) or by going to “Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt (In case of Windows XP). Many blogs claim that you need to open it with admin rights, but I never did it and still my installation went fine, so that isn’t a necessity.
3. Now type command “DISKPART” into command prompt. Upon hitting “Enter”, Windows may prompt you for allowing action, allow it without any doubt. Once allowed, you will get a new command prompt
4. Now in that “DISKPART” command prompt, type “LIST DISK” and hit “Enter”. You will get a list of all the drives connected to your computer.
5. The next part is little tricky. If went wrong, could erase complete data from your disk. See the disk number after which your USB drive is listed; most of the times, it will be “DISK 1”. Now type following commands one by one (assuming USB drive is listed as DISK 1).
SELECT DISK 1
CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
FORMAT FS=FAT32 QUICK
After the last command, “DISKPART” command prompt will close itself; once it’s closed, you can also close normal command prompt.
Now we have out bootable USB drive ready. Now probably the most important (?) and yet most simple step should be carried out and that is, copying Windows installation files into that USB drive, which we made bootable.
That’s it! You have done your job and you’re now ready to format your system.
I’ve noticed that some blogs are telling two or three more steps after exiting the command prompt, which involves meddling with BOOTMGR code. For the first and last time I’d like to say “IT’S NOT AT ALL NECESSARY!”