UPDATE (10/22/2009 12:01AM EDT): This guide details how to prepare a Windows 7 ISO to install from a flash drive. If you have a Windows 7 DVD, please go here.
Windows 7 is officially on the prowl, and that means a whole new crop of users are receiving the new operating system in the form of an ISO file. Sure, you could burn it to DVD and be on your way, but that’s so ordinary, and Netbook users are still up the creek. Why not build a little geek cred and install Windows 7 from USB? We’ll show you how to do it in just four simple steps.
You’ll need to prepare a few downloads before you can get crackin’ with your USB-powered install of Windows 7:
- The HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool
- MBRWizard v2.0b for Windows XP/PE/2003if your current OS is 32-bit, or…
- MBRWizard v2.0b for Windows 64-bit if your current OS is 64-bit
- MagicISO (or any virtual DVD/CD-ROM application)
- A Windows 7 ISO (Such as from MSDN or TechNet)
Next, make sure that your flash drive is larger than 4GB and is connected to your system.
Install and run the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. Configure the tool to match the settings provided below, and press start to clean the drive.
This step will erase the contents of your flash drive. Make sure that all important material has been backed up prior to proceeding.
Now that the flash drive has been formatted, it’s time to mount the Windows 7 ISO as a virtual DVD. Install and run MagicISO, then right click on your Windows 7 ISO and mount it to a drive as we have done in the diagram below. If you already have a virtual CD/DVD-ROM application such as Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools, we reckon you’re savvy to it and can make the mounting magic happen on your own.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users must right click and run the MagicISO installer as an administrator; the ability to mount ISOs from the Windows context menu (right clicking) will otherwise be unavailable.