Dec 7, 2009

How To Install Windows 7 From USB

I was having some performance issues on my Dell Mini 9 recently and decided to start doing some optimization. One of the things I was going to do was change the Page file settings from system managed, like they are by default, to a static size.

Well, I had filled up my drive, and didn’t have enough room to do that, so I decided to re-build my Dell Mini. Why not? It’s the weekend, and I didn’t have anything important save on it anyway. So like normal, I pull out my external DVD drive that I purchased with my netbook, and began trying to re-install. That is when I started having problems.

This actually happens every time I try to install anything via CD or DVD on the Dell Mini. The external drive that came with it is hit or miss. I looked online, and it appears to be a common issue with the Dell Mini. Let me tell you it is frustrating as hell!

The good news is that I can boot off of a USB stick no problem. In fact, that is how I install my Bauer-Puntu partition on the Dell Mini. What about the Windows half though? Well it turns out it is fairly easy to make a bootable USB Windows 7 install stick!

All you need is a Windows 7 install DVD, and a 4GB USB Flash drive. Don’t have one? You can get a Bauer-Power one here: Bauer-Power 4GB USB

Better yet, you get one for only $10.99 from Amazon here: 4GB USB

Once you have your materials, just do the following:

  • On another computer, open a command prompt as administrator
  • Plug in your 4GB USB thumb drive
  • Run DiskPart
  • Type List Disk and hit enter (Note the number of your drive, e.g. Disk 1)
  • Type Select Disk 1and hit enter (Where 1 is the number of your disk)
  • Type Clean and hit enter
  • Type Create Partition Primary and hit enter
  • Type Select Partition 1 and hit enter
  • Type Active and hit enter
  • Type Format FS=NTFS and hit enter (This will take a while)
  • Type Assign and hit enter
  • Type Exit to quit DiskPart

Windows 7 USB

Once that part is complete, keep your command prompt open and pop in your Windows 7 DVD, then do the following from command line:

  • Type in F: and hit enter (Where F: is the drive letter of your DVD Drive)
  • Type CD Boot and hit enter
  • Type Bootsect /NT60 M: (Where M: is the drive letter of your USB Flash drive)


  • Now copy the contents of your Windows 7 DVD to your thumb drive and you are ready to install from USB!

After performing the above steps, I recommend creating an image of your install thumb drive so you don’t have to remember all of the above later. To do that just download Roadkil’s Disk Image tool, and save an exact copy of your USB stick to your hard drive some place. If you ever need to use it again, you can re-image your USB stick with the same tool.

Are you a Dell Mini user? Are you having problems with your external DVD drive? Know of an easier tool to create a Windows 7 install USB thumb drive? Hit me up in the comments!

[Via Into Windows]

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