Valery's Mlog

Mindlog of a Freak
June 22nd, 2011 by Valery Dachev

Prepare a USB Memory Stick to Install/Rescue Microsoft Windows 7

I wonder why Microsoft still haven’t made a tool to create a bootable USB memory stick from a Windows installation CD, especially in the netbooks era when having no CD-ROM device is quite normal. It’s my third time to install Microsoft Windows 7 from a USB memory stick and I guess I would need one if I need to boot Windows in rescue mode.

So here’s a note to myself on how to prepare a USB memory stick for installation quickly on Microsoft Windows…

Preparation Check List

  • Check if you’re running Windows;
  • Check if you have an ISO image of a right edition of Microsoft Windows 7 installation DVD or the installation DVD itself for the correct platform (x86 or x64);
  • Check if you have a memory stick in which that installation would fit;
  • Check if you have backed up any data residing on the memory stick;
  • If you’re going to use an ISO image, check if you have a program (e.g. WinRar) to browse and extract files from the ISO image;
  • Read the whole article and check if you understand what you have to do in each step. If you don’t, ask for help;

USB Memory Stick Preparation Procedure

  1. Start Microsoft DiskPart by:
    • Start → Run → Type “%WinDir%\System32\diskpart.exe” → OK;
    • Windows Key + R → Type “%WinDir%\System32\diskpart.exe” → OK;
    • My Computer (Computer) → Type “%WinDir%\System32\” in the address bar → Right click “diskpart.exe” → Choose “Run as Administrator”
  2. In Microsoft DiskPart:
    1. List disks:

      list disk

    2. Locate the USB memory stick in the list (look at the size of each disk) and select it by its number (replace “#” with the corresponding number):

      select disk #

    3. Clean the partition table on the USB memory stick:

      clean

    4. Create a new primary partition on the USB memory stick:

      create partition primary

    5. Select the newly created partition:

      select partition 1

    6. Mark the selected partition as active:

      active

    7. Format the partition:

      format fs=ntfs quick

    8. Assign a drive letter (e.g. P:) to the partition:

      assign letter=P

    9. Exit DiskPart:

      exit

  3. If you’re creating the bootable memory stick from an ISO image:
    1. Extract the “boot” folder from the ISO image somewhere using any of the above mentioned programs;
    2. Start a “Command Prompt” in it as an Administrator;
    3. Change the working directory to the extracted “boot” folder;
    4. Assuming you’ve assigned letter “P:” to the memory stick, type in:

      bootsect.exe /nt60 P:

    5. Extract the whole ISO content to the memory stick’s main folder;
  4. If you’re creating the bootable memory stick from a DVD:
    1. Copy the “boot” folder from the DVD somewhere;
    2. Start a “Command Prompt” in it as an Administrator;
    3. Change the working directory to the copied “boot” folder;
    4. Assuming you’ve assigned letter “P:” to the memory stick, type in:

      bootsect.exe /nt60 P:

    5. Copy the whole DVD content to the memory stick’s main folder;
  5. Here you go!

You now have a bootable USB memory stick you can use to install or rescue Microsoft Windows 7.

P.S. These instructions may or may not work for Windows Vista installations as well but it’s not tested. But who would install Vista anyway?! :) However, if you’re one of those people, please share your experience. Any feedback would be appreciated!

Comments

4 Responses to “Prepare a USB Memory Stick to Install/Rescue Microsoft Windows 7”
  1. @peterst: Thanks about that! :) I was looking for that tool but couldn’t find it.

  2. The problem appeared to me a year ago when a notebook had installation disks (DVDs) and no device to read them.

    Similar to that one but for almost all (last 10 years) versions of Windows there is another tool – WinSetupFromUSB:

    http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/120444-how-to-install-windows-from-usb-winsetupfromusb-with-gui/

  3. уау windows има и конзола …..

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