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How to easily make bootable Windows 7/Vista USB flash drive

Before we start make sure you have Windows 7 installation disk (or Windows Vista if you going to make Windows Vista bootable USB drive) and at least 4GB USB flash drive (some people call it memory stick or pen drive).

  1. Plug in your USB flash drive and format it to FAT32 or NTFS file system
    • Open Computer icon
    • Right mouse click on the USB drive
    • From the menu select Format…
    • Choose File system (FAT32 or NTFS)
    • Enter Volume label
    • Press Start
    • Read the displayed warning and confirm if you agree (all data on the disk will be REALLY erased!)
    • After a while you should get a message: Format Complete.
    • Click OK and then Close.

  2. Insert Windows 7 (or Vista) installation disk to the drive (you can mount an ISO image if you use e.g. Daemon Tools)
  3. Open Command Prompt (if you use UAC make sure you right click on it and choose Run as administrator)
  4. Copy the installation disk to your USB flash drive by running the following command
    xcopy L:*.* /s/e/f/h H:
    
    In this scenario Drive L: is the Windows installation disk and H: Drive is the USB memory stick so make sure you change them to the proper once.
    Please notice that copying install.wim file can takes quite a while as it is a huge file (almost 2GB).
  5. Now we have to make the USB drive bootable.
    Enter the following command and hit ENTER
    L:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 H:
    
    Again: remember to change the drive letters.

And that's pretty much all :-)
Now you can use your USB drive to boot and install your Windows 7/Vista OS.

Document version: 1.1

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