How to Create an NTFS Bootable Flash Drive

By J.S. Copper

Bootable flash drives can be used to install an operating system such as Linux or Windows, or simply used to run some diagnostic tests on the computer's hard drive without loading the entire system. A bootable drive is essential if installing a new operating system on a computer that does not have a disc drive. After creating the bootable flash drive, simply restart the computer with the USB drive inserted to boot into the drive.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows Vista DVD
  • USB flash drive

Step 1

Insert the Windows Vista DVD into the computer's optical drive. Explore the contents via Windows Explorer and navigate to the \"Boot\" folder. Copy the file \"bootsect.exe\" to the C: folder.

Step 2

Insert the USB flash drive into an open USB slot. Right-click the USB drive via Windows Explorer and select \"Format...\"

Step 3

Select the NTFS file system and format the drive.

Step 4

Type \"cmd\" into the Search box within the Windows \"Start\" menu. Command Prompt will return in the results. Right-click this and select \"Run as Administrator.\" Enter your administrator password when prompted.

Step 5

Type \"diskpart\" within Command Prompt and press \"Enter.\" Type \"list volume\" and press \"Enter.\" Make note of the associated drive letter and volume number for the inserted USB drive (designated as Removable media).

Step 6

Type \"select volume 1\" (replace \"1\" with the actual volume number) and press \"Enter.\" Type \"activate\" and press \"Enter.\" Type \"exit\" and press \"Enter.\"

Step 7

Type \"cd C:\\\" to change directories to the C: folder.

Step 8

Type \"bootsect.exe /nt60 A:\" (replace \"A\" with actual drive letter, noted in Step 5) and press \"Enter.\" When the process completes, the drive will be bootable.

Step 9

Insert a boot CD, Restore disc, Linux live CD or Installation disc into the computer's optical drive. Explore the contents of the disc via Windows Explorer and drag all the files from the disc onto the USB drive (made bootable in Step 8). Allow the files to copy over, and the USB drive will then be able to boot the system just as the inserted disc would. Without the proper files on the drive, you would boot into nothing.