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Make a Windows 7 USB install disk

Don’t have a DVD to spare to try out Windows 7? Don’t want to bother with making a permanent install disk for it? Just want to try it and throw it away?
Here’s how you can create a bootable USB install disk for Windows 7.

What you need

  • Windows 7 install DVD
  • 4GB USB flash drive
  • A computer running Windows XP or Vista

Partition your USB stick

Plug the flash drive into your computer, and open CMD as administrator.
This is done by right clicking Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt and choosing “Run as administrator”.

Run diskpart by typing in diskpart.
You will get a DISKPART> prompt.

Here, type list disk. Note down the number of your flash drive.
Let’s assume it’s 1.

Now, run through the following list of commands on DISKPART. Remember to replace 1 with the actual number of your drive.

  • select disk 1
  • clean
  • create partition primary
  • select partition 1
  • active
  • format fs=NTFS
  • assign
  • exit

Make the stick bootable

Insert your install DVD into the drive.
Assuming your DVD drive is called D:,
cd D:\boot\
Now make your stick bootable with bootsect (assuming your stick is now called E::
bootsect /nt60 E:

Copy all the windows files onto the stick

At this point, all you’ll have to do is copy all the files over from the installation DVD onto to the pendrive (yes, the normal Copy/Paste).

At this point, you’ll be able to boot your computer from the pen drive. Remember to set your BIOS to boot from USB.

Do all this without burning a DVD

You don’t need to have the DVD present for performing the above – the ISO is enough.

  • Extract the boosect program from [ISO file]/boot/bootsect onto a local directory
  • iRun bootsect from the local directory instead of from the DVD
  • Instead of copying over the files from the DVD, extract them directly onto the pen drive.

For extracting from ISO, you’ll need a program like WinISO.

Either way, at the end of it, you’ll have a bootable USB stick that can boot into the Windows 7 installer program.

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