Installing Windows 7 From a Flash Drive

If you have a copy of Windows 7 installation media as an ISO (disk image) you may want to put it on a flash drive.  You might think that you’d be able to just click and drag the file onto the flash drive and be done, but that isn’t the case!  Here’s how to do it

First, have a Windows 7 ISO (duh)

Next, download and install Microsoft’s ISO tool here. (That is a direct link, originally found the link here.  If you’re doing this on Windows XP, go to that page and scroll down to “For Windows XP Users” to find two more downloads you will need.)

When you open the program, it will look like this.
Windows 7 Flash Drive 1

Click “Browse”.

Windows 7 Flash Drive 2

Select the ISO file and click “Open”.

Windows 7 Flash Drive 3

Click “Next”

Windows 7 Flash Drive 4

Click “USB device”.

Windows 7 Flash Drive 5

Select the drive you want.  Make sure you don’t have any data on it that you want to keep!  Click “Begin copying” and wait for the process to finish.

Windows 7 Flash Drive 6

Windows 7 Flash Drive 7

Windows 7 Flash Drive 8

Windows 7 Flash Drive 9

Congratulations!  You now have a Windows 7 installation hard drive.  You will still probably have to do some fancy stuff in the BIOS to get the computer to look at the flash drive while the system is starting up.

This isn’t necessary, but I like to put a copy of the original ISO on the flash drive.
Windows 7 Flash Drive 10

3 thoughts on “Installing Windows 7 From a Flash Drive

  1. Nice. I just upgraded the new computer from RC to RTM. The Easy transfer tool is pretty useful.

    S’ father.

  2. So all you’re really doing is expanding the ISO file and copying those files onto a flash drive.

    Why use a dedicated program to do this? I’d think it far simpler to use something like 7-Zip and dispense with getting yet another dedicated, single purpose, program. Kind of like buying a different car to drive North, South, East and West. Just buy one car and learn to use the steering wheel.

    This process is not mysterious. An ISO file is just another common cabinet file format and there are literally dozens or programs out there that will expand them. The ISO file you get for Microsoft, or elsewhere, has the Boot folder, boot image and other boot information already there. Expanding the ISO file doesn’t put boot capability into the process. You might want to be a little more open about that fact.

    I think it would be nice to point out that you can, oh wow, make your own ISO file from an installation CD or DVD. Programs like ImgBurn, CDBurnerXP, Nero, and etc. do that with ease.

    You can also simply copy ALL the files on an installation disk to a flash drive. Just be sure you do in fact get them all. You have to get any hidden files and folders too. MS is sometimes a bit sneaky and hides certain files and folder even on some of their installation disks. Office 2003 SP0 is a prime example.

    You instructions do work, I’ll give you that. But when your process is done, you have an installation flash drive, not hard drive. After all the entire purpose of your procedure IS to do that, you know … make an installation flash drive. You might want to make a edit there.

  3. By the way, Doug. I read your comment and forgot to reply.

    I totally agree with you, but I made this tutorial for the common person who is intimidated by the kinds of solutions that you suggested.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>