How do I create a bootable flash drive for installing Windows 7 or 8.x?
If you have a Windows 7 or 8.x installation disk but do not have an optical (CD/DVD) drive on your computer, you can create a flash drive to use in the installation instead. To do so, your flash drive must have at least 4 GB of space, and you'll need the valid product key that came with your Windows 7 or 8.x software. You can create a bootable flash drive on either a Windows or Mac OS X computer.
Warning: The process in the steps below will delete any data currently on the flash drive. Before continuing, be sure to back up your flash drive's data by copying it to another flash drive, your computer, or an external hard drive.
As part of the process, you'll need to obtain a Windows 7 or 8.x
.iso file, which gathers all the individual Windows files
into one. You cannot simply copy this file to a USB drive, but must
use special software to write it properly.
Acquiring a Windows 8.x .iso file and creating a Windows flash drive installer on a Windows computer
Note: You need to have purchased Windows 8.x on
disc or have received a product key to obtain the
file. Also, you'll need to complete these steps on a Windows computer
with administrator privileges.
- Visit Microsoft's Upgrade Windows with only a product key.
- Click either or .
- You will be prompted to download a program. Do so, and then run the program.
- Enter your product key in the appropriate field and click .
- After your product key is verified, you will see the version of Windows for which you entered the product key. Click .
- After the download completes and is verified, click , and then click .
- If you have an available flash drive, click
.isofile and let Boot Camp create the flash drive, click and then . and click . If you would rather obtain the
- Choose the flash drive you wish to use and click .
- You will be warned that the flash drive will be formatted; choose . Wait while Windows creates the bootable flash drive; this will take a few minutes.
- Verify that the information is correct on the next screen, and then choose .
Creating a Windows 7 flash drive installer on a Windows computer
You can download legal
.iso files for Windows 7
Ultimate from Digital River, in both 32-bit
versions. Be sure to download the bit version that matches that of the
Windows 7 disk where you obtained your product key.
- From the Microsoft Store, download and install the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool.
- From the menu, open the .
- When prompted, browse to your
.isofile, select it, and click .
- When asked to select the media type for your backup, make sure your flash drive is plugged in, and then choose .
- You'll likely be prompted to insert the USB device even if the flash drive is already inserted. Ignore this, and simply choose the USB device you'll be writing to.
- Click . If prompted, confirm that you wish to erase the flash disk.
.isofiles will start copying to the flash drive (the process can take several minutes). When finished, close the wizard and eject and remove the flash drive.
Creating a Windows flash drive installer on an OS X computer
Note: In Mac OS X, the option to create a Windows 7 or 8.x flash drive will only appear if the computer you're using does not have an optical drive. On Macs with optical drives, the option will be either missing or grayed out.
- From the Finder, open the folder, and then .
- Open the , and then click . The next screen should give you a list of options.
- UITS recommends making the USB drive installer first. You don't
need to install Windows or download the support software at this time,
as it will be easier to do both later. To proceed:
- Verify that the USB drive you will be writing to is plugged in.
- Uncheck the and options.
- Check and click .
- Your USB drive should be listed in the "Destination disk" area.
.isofile; after selecting it, click . button to browse to your
- If prompted, confirm your action and/or provide an administrator's
password. The process of writing the
.isofile to the USB drive can take 20 minutes or longer.
This is document bciz in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2014-09-02.
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