Gone the old days of DVDs, no one uses DVD to install Windows now. The best and suitable option is to make USB flash drive bootable and install Windows.
There are some tools to create a bootable flash drive or Pendrive. But why would you install a third-party app when you can make a bootable flash drive using cmd (command prompt)?
In early days DVD was the option to install Windows, but you had to buy DVDs then burn Windows into it and that DVD can’t be used for any other purpose.
Flash drives are not only useful to transfer data but you can use it for different purposes. One of them is to install Windows XP, 7, 8/8.1, or Windows 10. Even you can install Linux OS as well.
Probably every computer owner owns a USB flash drive which makes it easier to install any version of Windows on your PC.
Cmd is a powerful tool to perform different tasks if you know the commands. Third-party tools can help to make flash drive bootable including Microsoft Official USB Installer. These tools do nothing but automate the process.
Many such tools have limitations and take a long time to format and write Windows files into the USB flash drive. Some tools also cost money.
Steps To Make USB Flash Drive Bootable Using CMD (Command Prompt)
Here is a simple way to turn USB flash drive into bootable media to install any version of Windows like XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10.
All you need is a flash drive with a storage capacity of 4-8 GB. 4 GB for Windows XP, 7, 8, and 8 GB for Windows 8.1 and 10 and the downloaded iso file of Windows.
Follow these steps to make USB bootable using cmd-
1. Insert your Flash Drive and go to start, search for CMD.
2. Right Click on it and Run as Administrator.
3. Once the command prompt is open, type diskpart and hit enter. It will enter into the disk partition management mode.
4. Type list disk and hit enter, here you can see all the disk into your computer, it doesn’t show disk partitions but a list of the connected disk into your computer.
5. After you get the list of disks, find your flash drive by its size. Here mine is 14 GB which is Disk 2, now lets select flash drive by typing select disk <disk no.> eg select disk 2 and hit enter.
6. Once the USB flash drive is selected type clean and hit enter, this command will erase everything from the flash drive. Make sure it does not contain your important files.
7. Now you need to make your flash drive as a primary partition to do so type create partition primary and hit enter.
8. Once the disk is a primary partition you need to make it an active drive. Type active and hit enter on your keyboard. The command will activate the flash drive.
9. Now you have to format the flash drive. Type format fs=fat32 quick and hit enter. This command will format the flash drive in quick mode.
FAT32 files system works with Windows 8.1 and the lower version of Windows. But if you are installing Windows 10 then you need to use NTFS disk.
Windows 10 contains a file names install.wim that is larger than 4GB. FAT32 does not support copying files larger than 4 GB so you need to format as format fs=ntfs quick and it will work.
The early version of Windows 10 supported FAT32 but Windows 10 version1903, 1909 and May 2020 update version 2004 does not support FAT32. So use NTFS instead.
10. Once the flash drive is formatted you may not see it in My Computer. To get it back you need to assign a literal to it, type assign and hit enter.
All done you just made your USB flash drive bootable using cmd, close this command prompt by typing exit and hit Enter.
Install Windows 7,8.1 & 10 Using USB bootable flash drive
The bootable USB is ready, you can copy the Windows files and ready to go.
1. You need to copy windows files from the PC to flash drive. If you have .iso file of Windows then extract it using win rar.
2. After extracting windows files copy all files and paste them to the bootable Flash drive.
It may take some time to copy the files since Windows files take around 4 GB on the disk. The speed also depends on the flash drive. Use USB 3.0 flash drive on the same port for faster transfer rate.
After transferring Windows files to flash drive you are ready to install windows on any computer using this flash drive. Remove and re-insert flash disk and it will get windows setup icon which confirms that it is bootable media now.
Watch this video tutorial to make flash drive bootable
To install Windows by this bootable flash drive insert into the computer and hit boot key. From the list of bootable devices select your flash drive and proceed to Windows installation.
USB flash drives are handy tools to install Windows on any computer. You just need to make it bootable. Don’t rely on third-party apps for bootable USB, cmd can do this task with few commands within a minute.
Make sure you have a good flash drive. USB 2.0 is no older, use USB 3.0 flash drives for faster transfer rate hence the faster installation.
If you don’t have a USB 3.0 flash drive then get a Faster USB 3.0 Flash Drive from Amazon which has a transfer speed up to 225 MB/s.
After making flash drive bootable you can also keep your data along with Windows files that won’t affect Windows installation.
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MobaLiveUSB is a small program to check if the USB drive is bootable or not. Copy the files to flash drive and run it from drive. Use the Qemu engine to check.
Yes, you can copy files to USB drive along with Windows files. Or delete the Windows files and use it as you want.
You can copy iso file to transfer it from one PC to another but you can’t install Windows. Extract the iso files and copy to bootable USB to install Windows.