Installing windows OS using USB disk drive

More and more laptops these days are being offered without optical drives. This, while making the laptop much thinner and less expensive, makes some of the traditional tasks that were performed using optical drives more difficult. One such task is installing an operating system. The lack of CD/DVD drive on the newer laptops is making the OS installation disks that came along with the laptops useless. But don’t throw away those CDs or DVDs just yet. You can transfer the contents of these disks onto a USB pen drive and use that to install the operating system.

Things you need:

Laptop/Desktop with CD/DVD drive running Windows XP or higher
USB pen drive of at least 4GB storage.
The Installation disks that came along with your laptop

The process:

  1. Plug in the USB pen drive and note down the drive letter (e.g. E:\)
  2. In the start menu, right click on the Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator”.
    Installing windows OS using USB disk drive
    This will open a new a new console window with administrator privilege.
  3. Once you are in the console window, type “diskpart” and hit enter. You should see the following window.
    image2
  4. Next, you need to identify the USB pen drive. Type “list disk” followed by enter key. You should see something like the picture below. Here, “Disk 1” having a capacity of 14 GB is our pen drive.image3
  5. Execute the following commands in the same order given below:
    image4
  6. After exiting the diskpart utility, insert the windows installation disk into the CD/DVD drive and execute the following commands from the prompt. Here the assumption is that your pen drive has the drive letter “E:” and CD drive has the drive letter “F:”
    >cd f:\boot
    >bootsect /nt60 e:
    image5
  7. Now simply copy the entire contents of the installation CD/DVD disk to the root of pen drive using windows explorer.
  8. The pen drive is now bootable and is ready install the operating system.

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