Why Install Windows Vista/Windows 7 from a USB or an external drive?

Among the many cool things that EasyBCD can be used to do, one of the neatest is the ability to install Windows from a USB stick or external hard drive. Whether you’re trying to install Windows on a netbook that doesn’t have a CD or DVD drive, a PC with a damaged optical disk, or just simply want the convenience of having the Windows setup on a USB stick that you can carry around in your pocket so you’ll be ready when disaster strikes — EasyBCD will take care of it for you.

While we previously used to recommend the use of EasyBCD to pull this off, if all you want to do is to create a USB or external drive that can be used to install a single OS & platform combination of Windows then Microsoft has developed a simpler method of deploying the Windows setup onto a USB drive. If you’re interested in creating a multi-setup USB drive that can be used to install one or more different Windows setups (for instance, Windows Vista and Windows 7; or Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit editions), then you should refer to our guide on creating a multi-setup bootable USB or external drive with EasyBCD.

The Microsoft USB Tool requires that you first format your USB drive! Make sure to back up any important files you may have on the USB stick.

Creating the Bootable USB

  1. Open My Computer, right-click on your USB or external drive, and proceed to format with the default settings
  2. Download and install the Microsoft Windows USB Tool from this link: http://images2.store.microsoft.com/prod/clustera/framework/w…
  3. Click the Windows Start button, and click WINDOWS 7 USB/DVD DOWNLOAD TOOL in the ALL PROGRAMS list to open the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool.
  4. In the SOURCE FILE box, type the name and path of your Windows 7 ISO file, or click BROWSE and select the file from the OPEN dialog box. Click NEXT.
  5. Select USB DEVICE to create a copy on a USB flash drive and then select your USB device in the drop-down list and click BEGIN COPYING.

Installing Windows Vista/7 from USB

  1. Restart your computer, making sure that the USB is plugged into your PC.
  2. Right when your PC turns on, you will need to configure it to boot from the USB drive. Depending on your manufacturer, this may be possible directly from the splash screen that first shows up by pressing “F8” or “F12” (depending on your PC manufacturer) to open what may be called a “boot selection menu.” If you don’t have this option, you’ll need to enter the BIOS setup and configure your boot device priority — you’ll have to refer to your motherboard’s manual for the details, but it’s usually accomplished by pressing “Esc”, “Enter”, “Del”, or “F2” to enter the BIOS setup page, and then searching for “BOOT Options” or a similar listing.
  3. Save the BIOS options (if needed), and proceed to boot your PC. You’ll see a message to “Press any key to boot into Windows setup” at which point you should press something for setup to begin.

Good luck!