How to Create a Bootable Windows 7 USB Key

In this lab, we will create a bootable Windows 7 USB key. With this key, you can perform Windows 7 installation from a small USB key instead of carrying installation DVDs around.

Launch the Command Prompt CMD as Administrator.

Type diskpart

Type list disk

As you can see that the 32GB USB stick is called Disk 4 on my system.

Select the Disk 4 to work with using the command

select disk 4

Now clean the USB stick

Type clean.

Make sure that the disk succeeded in cleaning.

Next we will select the disk 4, create an active partition and format it with NTFS file system.

Commands are typed in the CMD prompt one after the other:

select disk 4
create partition primary
select partition 1
active
format fs=ntfs

 

(Note that the formatting process takes some time to perform especially in larger USB disks.)

After the formatting is completed, we need to assign a drive letter to the USB drive. At the command prompt, type

assign

 

Quit diskpart, type

exit

Now change your drive to G: and change directory to Boot (where G: is the DVD drive that contains the Windows 7 DVD contents).

Type the commands:

G:
G:\>cd boot

Now create a bootsector for the USB drive to allow it to be bootable. In my case, the USB drive letter is H. Type

bootsect.exe /nt60 H:

Now we need to copy all files in G: to H. Select all files and folders in G:\, copy them.

Paste the contents in H. The process will take a couple of minutes to complete.

Once the copying process finishes, you can boot a computer off of the USB drive. Make sure to change the boot sequence to prioritize the USB device in the BIOS of your motherboard.