Windows 7 Journey – Prepping the USB Key

The first step on this journey is to prepare the USB key. Having burned so many CD and DVD discs in the past when doing install, I feel that this is a long overdue feature from the folks in Redmond. Having done this for my RC install, I can tell you it is not too difficult, just poorly documented.

Gather the right requirements. In order to do this you will need the following things:

  • Ensure the target computer can boot from USB
  • The Windows 7 disc or ISO
  • A USB key of at least 4gb in size
  • A Vista or newer machine

Then follow these steps: {: .float_right }

  • Launch a command windows with administrator permissions. To do this, you right click on Start > Accessories > Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  • Insert USB key
  • Type diskpart into the command shell
  • Type list disk
  • Yes. I have a few too many drives. However, in this case, the drive I care about is number 5, so type select disk 5, replacing 5 with the number of the drive you are interested in.
  • Type clean
  • Type create partition primary
  • Type select partition 1
  • Type active
  • Type format fs=NTFS quick Note: You can (and should) omit quick if this is the first time using this USB key in this way
  • Type assign
  • Type exit

Now we need to make the USB key bootable. So CD into the boot directory of the Windows 7 installation disk.

  • Type bootsect /nt60 j:1 Note: Replace the drive letter with the one assigned to your USB key
  • Exit the command shell
  • Copy all the contents of the Windows 7 installation disc to the USB key

Now comes the easy part. Boot the new computer using the USB key.

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