Windows Bootable USB

For those with some know how of a computer, installation of the windows operating system has been a daunting task up till now. Windows has been known to crash a lot due to all the buggy developers employed by them, and we have suffered through these kind of windows “glass pane” crashed all throughout our technological life. The worst fear of any technical guy is a misplaced windows cd, or a corrupt cd, which has been a very normal occurrence. Then the struggle to get hold of a clean copy from a friend ensues, and finally windows comes back up in 2-3 days.

CD’s have been considered as one of the most non reliable installation/storage media. And the developers of the other operating systems have taken this in to consideration long back. Though the installation of any OS is still distributed through a CD or a DVD, most of the mature operating systems have an option to back up the installation in bootable format on a USB storage media, usually a flash based pen drive. And windows has lagged behind in this but efforts have been made to make this right, and at this point of time we have some methods to port a windows installation to a USB device. Let’s check the method.

P.S. I have tried this method on windows Vista installation and it works for windows 7 too. I cannot guarantee it’s proper functioning for windows XP and below, and a backed up installation created for such OS should be tested before being considered as final.

Do not, I repeat, do not port the installation to any hard drives unless you know what you are doing. The data on the drive will be deleted permanently.

Misplacing the USB device with the ported OS, cannot result in misplaced license, unless the license key is stored in the same USB device.

Finally, use genuine operating systems. Avoid piracy. Those guys at these big software giants are trying hard to put bits and pieces together. If you are not satisfied with windows, throw it out of one. Get Ubuntu.

For a windows vista installation you need a 4 GB Pen Drive and for windows 7 you need a 8 GB device.

  • Ensure that the copy of windows installation that you have is virus free.
  • There are lots of methods of of copying certain files to the PD then tweaking with some of them. Let’s stick to a very simple method of using the DVD, a pen drive and a simple program to do all the things.
  • You will need an utility called as WinToFlash. Download it from here.
  • Insert the installation DVD in to the DVD drive and the pen drive in the USB port.
  • Run the WinToFlash utility after download.
  • Click on the “Windows Setup Transfer Wizard” button.
  • In the application, select the source path(the path where the windows installation is available i.e.. DVD in this case), the destination path(the path where the installation is to be ported i.e.. Pen Drive in this case) and click next. Authorise the process in the next dialogue boxes.
  • After the procedure is completed, restart the windows. Go to BIOS setup(most of the older computers will get the BIOS setup upon pressing the DEL key just after startup, and new computers have it on F2 key.) In the BIOS, change the first boot device to “USB device”.
  • Save settings and restart(Make sure no other USB HDD is connected else the computer will take it as the first boot device and will not find the master boot record in it.)
  • Windows installation should start at this point. Abort the installation once it is confirmed the it is working fine.
  • Check the video for easier understanding. Please note that I had copied my DVD to a HDD space so I took the source path on D drive.
Windows Setup Transfer to USB Storage Device


That’s it. You are free from the clutches of the unreliable optical drives.

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