How to Install Microsoft Windows Vista or Windows 7 Using a USB 2.0 Flash Drive

By Techwalla Contributor

Installing Microsoft Vista or Windows 7 from a USB thumb drive is much faster than installing from a conventional CD. The quicker access and high-speed data transfer capacity of a flash drive makes it the preferred method for installing a fresh copy of Windows.

Things You'll Need

  • 4GB USB 2.0 flash drive
  • Windows Vista or Windows7 ISO image
  • WinRAR or 7-ZIP installed

Step 1

Connect the USB flash drive to an open port on your computer. Windows will recognize the drive as an external device.

Step 2

Click the Windows "Start" button. Type "run" and press "Enter." Type "cmd" in the Run box and press "Enter." Type "diskpart" when the command prompt window opens. Press "Enter." A new disk part window will open.

Step 3

Type the following commands into the window that just opened:Type "list disk" and press "Enter." This command will list all the disk drives connected to your computer. Find the number of the USB drive that you'll be using for your Windows installation and write it down.Type "select disk #" but replace the "#" symbol with the correct number for your USB drive. Press "Enter."Type "clean" and press "Enter." All data on the flash drive will be erased to make room for the Windows operating system. Type "Create partition primary" and press "Enter." This will make the flash drive a primary partition. Type "Select primary partition." Press "Enter."Type "active" and press "Enter."Type "format fs=fat32 quick" and press "Enter." Type "assign" and press "Enter."

Step 4

Copy the Windows installation files from your ISO disc image to the USB flash drive. Use WinRAR or 7-ZIP to open the ISO file and copy the Windows installation files to the flash drive.

Step 5

Reboot the computer and configure the BIOS to boot from the USB flash drive. The method for accessing the BIOS setup page varies depending on your computer brand and model. Refer to your computer's documentation for specific instructions.

Step 6

Restart the computer. The PC will boot from the USB flash drive. The Windows installer will autorun and begin installing a fresh copy of Windows Vista or Windows 7 on your computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to remove the quotation marks when typing the listed commands in.
  • Be careful that you select and type in the correct disk drive number from the drive list. If you input the wrong information, you may format the wrong drive and lose all of your data.