Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Installing Windows 7 / 2008 R2 from a USB Stick

Too much of my life is spent staring at install screens - no more I say!  That time is better spent looking at the blinkenlights, drinking coffee or browsing slashdot.  One way of significantly speeding up install time is using a USB device instead of CD/DVD media.  Here is how to create bootable USB Installation media for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2.
  • Launch the DiskPart utility by typing diskpart at the Start Menu.  If your system does not have diskpart you can download it from here
  • Run the list disk command to, surprisingly, list the disks in your system
  • Now run select disk % where the "%" is actually the number of your USB drive (obtained above).
  • Run clean.
  • Now run create partition primary.
  • Let's set the partition to active by entering active
  • Now we format the drive with the FAT32 filesystem via the format fs=fat32 quick command
  • Run the assign command to assign a drive letter to our USB device
  • Copy the entire contents of the installation DVD to your USB device (a simple drag and drop will do)
  • Plug the USB drive into the target system and proceed with the (hopefully faster) installation.
Configuring the relevant BIOS options is left as an exercise to the reader.