Installing from a USB storage device

pen driveThe main advantages of using flash drives instead of DVD-ROMs are becuase of their faster read speeds and ability to customize the installation image according to your needs such as, adding additional drivers! However, your computer must be able to boot from a USB device. A capacity of 4GB is required for a normal x64 installation image and about 3GB for the x86 one.

 Follow these steps to perform an installation from a USB device:

Preparing the USB device: -

  1. Connect an empty USB device to your computer (must be running either Vista or Windows 7) – all data on the USB device will be lost
  2. From a Command Prompt with administrative privileges type diskpart - It is recommended that you use the Diskpart utility cautiously because Diskpart enables explicit control of partitions and volumes.
  3. Type list disk at the DISKPART> prompt – identify the USB disk number # from the list
  4. Type select disk # – where # is the disk number of the USB drive – not likely to be disk 0
  5. Type clean
  6. Type create partition primary
  7. Type format fs=fat32 quick
  8. Type active and then type exit to leave DiskPart utility
  9. Copy all contents from the Windows 7 installation DVD to the USB drive
  10. Configure the new computer to be installed with Windows 7 to boot from a USB device first
  11. Connect the USB device and restart the computer list disk

The USB method is not suitable for large deployments since other methods are more feasible such as, using network deployments! Also, some USB drives have inbuilt hardware encryption which will not let you perform all steps!

Important Note: – Sometimes the diskpart utility may seem to hang on execution – restarting the Virtual Disk service (vds – Provides management services for disks, volumes, file systems, and storage arrays) may solve this issue.