This will walk through the steps to create a bootable USB flash drive. These instructions assume that you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7.
- USB Flash Drive
- Microsoft OS Disk (Vista / Windows 7)
- A computer running Vista / Windows 7
Step 1: Format the Drive
Warning: This will erase everything on your USB drive.
- Open a command prompt as administrator (Right click on Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator” – you must do this or it may not work, displaying the message: “Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects”
- Find the drive number of your USB Drive by typing the following into the Command Prompt window:
– list disk
The number of your USB drive will listed. You’ll need this for the next step. I’ll assume that the USB flash drive is disk 1.
- Format the drive by typing the next instructions into the same window. Replace the number “1” with the number of your disk below.
– select disk 1
– create partition primary
– select partition 1
– format fs=NTFS
When that is done you’ll have a formatted USB flash drive ready to be made bootable.
Step 2: Make the Drive Bootable
Next we’ll use the bootsect utility that comes on the Vista or Windows 7 disk to make the flash drive bootable. In the same command window that you were using in Step 1:
- Insert your Windows Vista / 7 DVD into your drive.
- Change directory to the DVD’s boot directory where bootsect lives:
– cd d:boot
- Use bootsect to set the USB as a bootable NTFS drive prepared for a Vista/7 image. I’m assuming that your USB flash drive has been labeled disk G: by the computer:
– bootsect /nt60 g:
Step 3: Set your BIOS to boot from USB
This is where you’re on your own since every computer is different. Most BIOS’s allow you to hit a key at boot and select a boot option.