How to install Windows 7 from a USB drive

The most common method used to install any operating system is through CD up to recent time from the time of floppies. But now this trend is changing, now people prefer to install different operating systems from usb devices like pen drive, external hard disks etc.


First advantage is that this installation is more fast compared to installation from a CD. This is because from usb time taken to copy files to the system before installation is very less as usb drives can transfer data more fast than CD. But if you are using a CD this time will be higher. There after both methods will take same time.

Second advantage of installing from usb device is that it can be used even if your CD drive is not working. Installation from usb is the best way to install OS if your CD drive is not working.

Steps to install windows 7 from usb

For installing from usb there are certain steps that are need to be taken before you start installation. First of all you need to have a usb drive of capacity of a minimum of 4 GB, and windows 7 installation file which can be copied from a CD or downloaded from internet.

Technically you can describe the first step as making the usb drive bootable. For this follow the steps below

1. Plug usb to the port of a system installed with windows. If your system do not have use friend's system. It will not take long.

2. Open DOS command prompt in windows. (This can be done in many ways. First of all if you are in a system installed with windows 7 or vista, click start menu and type cmd, it will be the first option. Second way- you can go to run prompt by pressing Win key+R and then type cmd there and press enter. Third way- Start -> Programs-> Accessories ->command prompt)

3. Next you have to type the below listed commands in command prompt

diskpart This command will launch the disk partition utility in command prompt

list disk This command will list the disks connected. If only hard disk and usb then hard disk will be disk 0 and usb will be disk 1. Find the usb looking the size and not its disk number

select disk 1 Make sure that you are specifying the correct disk number, otherwise you may format other drive.

clean This command will clean any partitions inside the usb if it is there. Also it will volume format the disk selected above using the select command

create partition primary This command will create a primary partition inside the usb. As we are not specifying any size it will make the entire usb a primary partition

select partition 1 This command will select the partition inside the usb that we just made, so that you can do the remaining tasks on that partition

active This step makes partition active. It allows the usb to be detected when booting. If the device is not active, it will not be detected while rebooting

format fs=fat32 quick This command will format the partition selected in usb in FAT32 filesystem. You can also use NTFS file system. This will take some time to format the disk. But the quick format option will do it as fast as possible

assign This command is usually used to assign different partitions different drive letter. Here it is not required to assign any letter so simply use this command without any letter after that.

exit This command will exit you from the disk partition utility

If you have any doubt about any of the commands you can visit Microsoft site reference

4. Now you have to copy the windows installation files to the usb that we made bootable. If you have the copy of windows as ISO file you need to mount it using some mounting software and extract the contents to the usb that you formatted now.

5. Now you need to do only one step before starting installation. That is you need to set the booting priority of usb disk higher than hard disk, otherwise it will boot from hard disk, if there is another OS installed in hard disk. For doing this go to bios and make usb as the first device to boot from. For example see the picture below

Keys used to change boot priority will be different in different computers, but it will be written below. Anyhow make usb the first boot device
Keys used to change boot priority will be different in different computers, but it will be written below. Anyhow make usb the first boot device

6. After making usb the first boot device, save settings and exit from bios. Then naturally the installation will start from usb. You can see that it is very fast compared to installation from a usb. I think you will be familiar with OS installation. All will be simple selection of language, time etc. The only section that you need to be careful is during partitioning only.

7. Installation will continue smoothly if you follow the instructions in the screen. After completion of installation system will reboot automatically. Then you have to be careful. While rebooting press the F2 button or delete button and go to bios and change the boot priority again so that this time hard disk will be the first boot device. Because otherwise again it will boot from usb.

If you have done exactly as described, you can install windows much faster from usb drive compared to installing from CD

Loading files
Loading files
Starting installation
Starting installation
Language selection
Language selection
Selection of installation type
Selection of installation type
Starting of setup
Starting of setup
Agreeing to conditions
Agreeing to conditions
Selecting whether upgradation or custom installation
Selecting whether upgradation or custom installation
Partitioning wizard
Partitioning wizard
Creation of partition and assigning it
Creation of partition and assigning it
Installation processes
Installation processes
Rebooting. Exactly at this point while rebooting you need to enter BIOS and change the first boot device from USB to hard disk. Otherwise it will boot again from USB and repeat the setps above
Rebooting. Exactly at this point while rebooting you need to enter BIOS and change the first boot device from USB to hard disk. Otherwise it will boot again from USB and repeat the setps above

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Comments 10 comments

kipronor profile image

kipronor 5 years ago from Nairobi

Useful tips, great hubber ..keep shining

vinner profile image

vinner 5 years ago from India Author

Thanks kirpronor. Glad to know that you also a technology enthusiast.

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Master CJ 5 years ago

Try My Methods Dear. Simple & Hassle Free.

It works.

Michel 5 years ago

I installed Windows 7 from USB. Actually I made a mistake. After doing stuff like partition and assigning partition, expanding windows files and all system will reboot right. At that time I forgot to change the boot priority

Again it booted from usb. But before doing any additional steps, I manually restarted and changed the boot priority. Then the installation went smoothly without any additional problems.

Amit 5 years ago

Is it possible to install Windows 8 from USB drive. I have downloaded an ISO file of Windows 8. Can I install it from USB drive?. Is the procedure same?

Deepak 4 years ago

Nice work bro

Like it Buddy

Swati 4 years ago

I formatted my usb pen drive using NTFS partition (use CONVERT command in DOS Prompt), simply copy the setup files, and boot from usb; i dont know if it will work on others computer as well, but worked well for me.

vinner profile image

vinner 4 years ago from India Author

@Amit-For Windows 8 also the procedure is the same. If you have the Iso file of Windows 8, you can install using the same procedure

@Deepak- Thanks dude.

@Swati- That is nice. But that will not work in all computers. As the drive you are not declaring as active while using Convert command, in some computers it will not be detected.

Icematikx profile image

Icematikx 4 years ago from United Kingdom, Staffordshire

Thanks for this brilliant article. I never knew you could install W7 on a USB!

mujtabasworld profile image

mujtabasworld 3 years ago from Pune, India

Great tutorial, in depth details!

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