Delayed Post: How I Installed Windows 7 From USB HDD

Andrew Bolster

Senior R&D Manager (Data Science) at Synopsys Software Integrity Group and Treasurer @ Bsides Belfast and NI OpenGovernment Network

As was noted in my LENOVO ROCKS post, I recieved a virgin hard drive for a laptop with no disk drives.

This is a problem that has been long solved in Linux Distros but is not so good for Windows, but i did find this brilliant guide by Sandip from earlier this year, i just wanted to point out a few difference that i made to the process that i think make it slightly more transparent whats going on.

  1. Get a USB drive > 4GB

  2. Use The Disk Managment pane in Computer Managment (Control Panel > Administrative tools)

  3. Find your drive and right-click > Format the partition as NTFS

  4. Once its formatted, right click it again and ‘Mark Partition as Active’

  5. Use a image mounter such as WinCDEmu to mount the Windows 7 image

  6. Drop into a cmd prompt and navigate to the drive where the Window7 image is mounted, cd to ‘boot’ and execute ‘bootsect /nt60 X:’ where X: is the drive letter the target partition is mounted on.

  7. Copy the contents of the mounted Windows 7 image to ‘X:’

  8. Reboot and if you dont know how to boot from a USB drive, you probably arn’t reading this, but if not…

I know  there are alternative methods for doing this in Linux, but since i didnt use them in this instance, i cant comment on them.

FYI: Windows 7 is now my full time OS, and frankly im suprised; Theres a few things I miss, like a nice easy command line networking, SSH built in, a decent X11 server, but for a  all round notes/documentation/lil-bit-o-code machine, the Tableting pros few  out-weigh the cons. E.G The wonderous marvelous stupendous Math Input Panel that outputs in MathML!