It is possible to copy Windows 7 images to a USB flash drive and install Windows 7 onto a PC from it. This also applies to the Windows Vista, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 product families.

 This topic is a how to.
Please keep it as clear and simple as possible. Avoid speculative discussions as well as a deep dive into underlying mechanisms or related technologies.


The simplest method is to copy the DVD files or extract an official ISO. It is also possible to use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) to customize an image and deploy this via USB drive.

End users could use Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. Please ensure that the USB flash drive has a minimum capacity of 4GB.

Basic Overview

  1. Using diskpart:
    1. Clean USB drive
    2. Create primary partition
    3. Format partition as NTFS
    4. Set partition as active
  2. Copy DVD files or extract official ISO onto the drive
  3. Boot PC from USB and install

Diskpart Commands

This process will prepare the USB drive for the Windows 7 disk files. In normal Windows GUI format tool, the Allocation Unit Size must be set to 4096 bytes. This works with some USB drives and fails in some USB drives. Therefore, diskpart is used.

Please note: This will delete all data on the drive, so ensure all files are backed up before continuing.

  1. Open the command prompt
  2. Type: diskpart
  3. Type: list disk
  4. This will show all connected disks, their disk numbers, connection status and disk size
  5. Using the sizes, determine which disk is your USB drive and remember its disk number (i.e. Disk 2)
  6. Type the following commands: (where X is the disk number of your USB drive)
    1. sel dis X
    2. clean
    3. cre par pri  
    4. active
    5. format fs=ntfs  Quick
    6. exit

Once the disk is formatted and prepared, you can copy the Windows 7 installation files onto the disk, whether this is from the DVD, ISO or a modified image.

For Deploying Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on USB Stick

Video on the same topic

Video on how this is done on Edge -

See more

Use a USB Key to Install Windows 7—Even on a Netbook -

Here you can download the USB/DVD tool -

See Also


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