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Old 02-01-2010, 03:45 AM   #1
2Tired2Tango
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Default Easy Boot Win 7 OS Install from pen drives....

I've been all over the net looking for a simple way to boot an OS install from a USB flash drive... Most of it was stupidly complicated and/or presented in a totally confusing manner....

Finally I just went my own way and here's what I came up with...

1) Insert the USB flash or hard drive into any convenient USB connector.

2) It will pop up under My Computer (XP) or your home folder (Vista or Win7)
Make note of the drive letter as you'll need that in a minute.
3) Right Click on the drive icon and select FORMAT.
Set it to fomat with NTFS, Default Alocation Unit Size and Quick Format, then click OK
4) When the format finishes copy all the files from the Win7 or Vista DVD over to the newly formatted pen drive.

5) Now go to Start->All Programs->Accessories->Command Prompt

6) Inside the Command Shell type the following sequence, substituting the letter of your drive for the Z in the example...

Z:
cd Boot
BootSect /nt60 Z:
7) That's it... you now have a bootable OS installer on a USB drive.


You can also take this a little further and use the same process for booting XP and Win2000 installers from USB drives... Just copy the boot folder from a Win7 or Vista DVD to the USB drive and use this sequence instead...

Z:
cd Boot
BootSect /nt56 Z:
Now you can boot pre-vista installers from the pen drive.

... I hope this clears up some of the confusion.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:21 PM   #2
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Ugh, this is a major coincidence. Robert is finishing up an article that discusses this exact same thing. If only we were a day sooner with it! We are using a very similar method to the one you mention, but also talk about two more, using diskpart and also the Windows 7 USB/DVD Tool, which seems to be easier than any other method out there (it's all GUI based, official tool from Microsoft).

You may wish to give that one a try as well, just for fun:

http://techgage.com/news/microsoft_r..._install_tool/

Nice write-up
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
... official tool from Microsoft).

You may wish to give that one a try as well, just for fun
I did. Thing is that I'm as comfortable in the command line as with most guis and since the gui tool merely invokes the command line tools in the background, I went this way.

I put this up here because there are so many sets of instructions out there that require a lot of totally unnecessary screwing around with stuff that actually contributes nothing to the final result... I thought a nice simple 3 step process was a good idea... format -> copy -> bootsect.

Didn't mean to "scoop" your article, Rob...
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:17 PM   #4
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No worries. And given you used an alternate method than what was in the article it really doesn't hurt anything anyway!

One major issue with using the bootsect.exe method (and is why I didn't cover it), is that you cannot use a 64bit disc on a 32bit OS, you won't be able to execute bootsect.exe. This means almost all XP users and most Vista users could not use this method if they wish to make a 64bit USB installer of Windows 7.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
One major issue with using the bootsect.exe method (and is why I didn't cover it), is that you cannot use a 64bit disc on a 32bit OS, you won't be able to execute bootsect.exe. This means almost all XP users and most Vista users could not use this method if they wish to make a 64bit USB installer of Windows 7.
Far as I know...
The boot sector is the same for both 32 and 64 bit installers.
Bootsect.exe is a 32 bit program, even on the 64 bit disks.

Have you actually tried running the one on the 64 bit disk from a 32 bit system?
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:20 AM   #6
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I hadn't actually tested it, my comments were based purely off of the research I'd done.

Just to be sure I have reformatted a USB drive with a known 64bit disc, then tried to run the bootsect.exe from within XP. I received the classic 64bit program error "E:\boot\bootsect.exe is not a valid Win32 application". So now I can safely say I'm sure.
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
I hadn't actually tested it, my comments were based purely off of the research I'd done.

Just to be sure I have reformatted a USB drive with a known 64bit disc, then tried to run the bootsect.exe from within XP. I received the classic 64bit program error "E:\boot\bootsect.exe is not a valid Win32 application". So now I can safely say I'm sure.
Ok, thanks for that... now I know too...
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:18 AM   #8
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I know this is an old thread, but I got some info to add. Kougar is right, the 64bit bootsect program on the Win7 x64 iso wont run on a 32bit OS. But you can use the 32bit version to do the same thing, and then just copy the iso files to the usb drive.(you have to make it bootable as well by marking it active) I found a really helpful article on how for XP 32bit, I'm sure it could be adapted for other uses such as vista 32bit. truthactual.site50.net/64to32usbtutor.html is the website. ATM, it seems to only have this one page lol. But oh well. This article worked flawlessly for me, I couldn't use diskpart because i have xp, and the microsoft win7 usb dvd tool wouldnt work either, and when i tried to use the bootsect it gave me the invalid win32 application error. Oh! and don't forget to set your BIOS settings to boot from usb!
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