This page covers instructions on making a bootable rescue USB stick containing either the Windows Vista/7/8 setup files or repair environment.
These instructions won’t work on Windows XP!
EasyBCD can’t create a bootable USB stick if you’re running it on Windows XP! You’ll need to follow these instructions on Windows Vista or higher for it to work.
Out of all of NeoSmart Technologies’ products, EasyBCD and EasyRE (our Windows Recovery CDs) are the two most popular.
This picture-by-picture guide will demonstrate how you can use EasyBCD to create a bootable Windows Recovery USB that you can use in lieu of a bootable CD or DVD.
You can even use these directions to create a multi-purpose “swiss-army USB” by adding more than one image to the USB disk, letting you choose which one you want to boot from when you turn on your PC!
Before you start with this guide, you’ll need to have the following things on hand:
- A USB stick or USB drive that has at least 500 MiB of free space,
- A copy of EasyBCD
- An ISO image of the Windows XP/Vista/7 repair CD
EasyBCD can be either downloaded or purchased from our website at http://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/. If you’re using this at work or for commercial purposes, you’ll need to buy an EasyBCD license.
Obtaining the Windows XP/Vista/7 Recovery CD ISO image
You’ll need to have the ISO image you purchased for download from http://systemdiscs.com/. If you’ve bought the disc online, you’ll need to go to your order page (check your email!) and download the ISO image – make sure to save it to disk (and not run) if/when you’re asked!
Step 1: Plug in your USB drive
Make sure you insert or connect your USB drive to the computer before you install and run EasyBCD in the next steps!
Step 2: Install EasyBCD
Assuming you don’t already have EasyBCD installed, you’ll need to run the setup file you downloaded earlier. Just click “next” on all the prompts, and you’ll be good to go.
Step 3: Run EasyBCD
Open the start menu, go to the programs menu, expand the “NeoSmart Technologies” folder, expand the “EasyBCD” folder, and then click the EasyBCD entry. Or just search for EasyBCD in the start menu.
Copy the ISO image to the USB
Step 1: Copy the ISO image to the USB
At this point, you need to copy the ISO image you created or downloaded from SystemDiscs.com to the USB drive. Locate the file in My Computer or My Documents, then copy and paste it to the USB drive (do not put it in a folder on the USB!):
Step 2: Rename the ISO image
You’re almost ready to add the new entry to EasyBCD. EasyBCD can’t load an ISO image that has spaces in its name, so you need to rename it from (for example) “EasyRE for Windows 7” or “EasyRE for Windows 7.iso” to “Windows_7_Recovery_Disc” or “Windows_7_Recovery_Disc.iso”
If you see an extension, don’t change it. For example, if it says “EasyRE for Windows 7.iso” make sure you leave the “.iso” part in there after you rename!
Use EasyBCD to create a bootable USB
Step 1: Go to BCD Deployment
Once EasyBCD has launched, click the big button in the EasyBCD Toolbox sidebar that says “BCD Deployment” which will bring you to the page shown below:
Step 2: Select your partition from the drop-down menu
Click on the drop-down box in the top-half of the screen (where it says “Partition: “) and select the entry that matches your USB drive:
Step 3: Install BCD to USB
Now you need to tell EasyBCD to install the bootloader to the USB, making it possible to boot from it. Just click the “Install BCD” button to begin, and wait for the BCD installation to finish:
Step 4: Allow EasyBCD to load USB bootloader
EasyBCD will ask you (rather nicely) if you want to load the newly-created BCD from the USB drive. Make sure you press yes when you see this dialog:
Step 5: Go to Add New Entry | ISO
Click the “Add New Entry” button in the EasyBCD Toolbox sidebar, then click on the ISO tab in the bottom-half of the screen (it’s the one with the icon of a CD on fire):
Step 6: Change the name and type
In the ISO tab, change the Name textbox to something a bit more useful, such as “Windows 7 Recovery CD” and make sure the type is set to “Run from Disk”:
Step 7: Browse for the ISO image
Click the icon of the folder with three dots to open a browse file dialog. Use that to find the ISO image you copied to the USB drive.
Do not select the ISO image that was saved to your computer! Make sure you select the ISO image you copied to the USB and renamed in the section above!
Step 8: Add the ISO entry
After selecting the ISO image from the USB, you’re ready to add the entry! Just go ahead and click the “Add Entry” button with the green plus sign, then wait for it complete its task:
Step 9: Exit EasyBCD
Go ahead and close EasyBCD from the file menu. Make sure you don’t remove the USB until EasyBCD has closed!
Wait for EasyBCD to close!
EasyBCD hasn’t yet saved the changes to the USB drive. If you pull out the drive before EasyBD has had a chance to save the changes and fully exit, you’ll risk damaging your USB drive and/or PC!
Step 10: Remove the USB
You can now safely remove the USB drive from your computer and give yourself a pat on the back. Your USB stick can now be used to boot into the Windows Vista/7 Recovery CD!
Recover your PC!
You’re now ready to take this USB to another computer (the one that needs help), and proceed to boot from it. Next step: Follow our instructions on using the recovery CD to fix your computer.
Rinse and Repeat? (Optional!)
If you have more than one recovery CD ISO image you want to add to your USB, just repeat the steps above, starting from copying the ISO and ending with exiting EasyBCD.