Friday, November 13, 2009

Installing Windows Vista from a USB flash drive

To be able to install Windows Vista from a USB flash drive, you need a bootable USB stick formatted to FAT32 with sufficient capacity (4GB) to hold Vista’s installation files. Let’s take a look, step by step, on how to create such a flash disk:

  1. Using Windows, format your USB drive with FAT32 file system.
  2. Get Vista’s installation DVD and copy the Boot directory directly to your C:\ drive.
  3. Start a command prompt, go to the Boot directory on your C:\ drive and type Bootsect.exe /nt60 E:. This will make your E:\ USB drive bootable. Do not forget to change the drive letter to the one on your computer. You should not be using your USB drive anywhere else, i.e. opened in an explorer window, in order for the Bootsec.exe to get the exclusive access to it.
  4. Copy everything, including the hidden files, from the Vista’s DVD directly to the USB drive.
  5. Restart your computer. If you have your BIOS setup correctly, you can now boot from the USB drive.

Please note, that not all USB sticks can be made bootable. From time to time, you can find one that has problems. Also, a functional USB disk sometimes won’t boot a specific PC. That is just that you know nothing is ever perfect, right!

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