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    Install Windows 7 or Vista from USB Flash Drive

    Written January 7, 2009

    First off, this will completely delete everything on the flash drive, and if you're not careful it can delete everything on one of your other, very important drives. Only do this if you know what you're doing, and if you screw up, it's not my fault.

    Ok, first we'll need a usb flash drive that's at least 4GB and that has no important data on it (if it does, back it up first, and not to the drive you're about to do a clean install of Windows to!). Second, we have to do this on a PC running Vista or newer (Windows 7 works fine, XP and below do not). Now, open up your command prompt and type (remember to hit enter after each command):

    diskpart

    A new command prompt opens up with diskpart running. Now type:

    list disk

    Your flash drive should be listed as disk 1, if you see disks other than disk 0 and disk 1 listed, make absolutely sure you know which one is your flash drive, and don't continue if you're not absolutely 100% certain. Assuming it is disk 1 we type these commands:

    select disk 1
    clean
    create partition primary
    select partition 1
    active
    format fs=fat32 quick
    assign
    exit


    Now we need to copy the Vista or Windows DVD contents to the usb flash drive. We will assume that d: is the dvd drive (or if you're using a program to mount the iso as a regular drive, d: is the virtual drive) and e: is the usb flash drive. Double-check your drive letters first in My Computer. Now, in the command prompt, type this:

    xcopy d:\*.* /s/e/f e:\

    When that's done, shut down your PC, enter the bios if needed to make the usb flash drive the first boot device (or at least before your hard drive), and install Windows like normal. Note that not every PC's bios supports booting from a usb flash drive, but generally anything halfway recent will work fine.


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