Install Windows 8 directly from Hard drive – NO DVD or USB needed!

Picture of Install Windows 8 directly from Hard drive – NO DVD or USB needed!
How to CLEAN Install Windows 8 directly from Hard drive – NO DVD or USB needed!

For example, you have a netbook or desktop that you want to install Windows 8 onto, but can’t use DVD or USB for whatever reason (or don't want to, like me). This method will allow you to boot and install Windows directly from the hard drive. This guide involves plugging the hard drive into another working computer, preparing the hard drive, placing it back in the system, and installing Windows as usual.

This was tested with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.  The guide for Windows 7 is exactly the same.
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Step 1: Part 1: Preparing the HD with Windows 8 setup files.

- Connect the hard drive to another working computer.
- Format the hard drive to NTFS (Quick format works fine; multiple partitions also work).
- Copy the following from your Windows 8 disc or ISO:


Step 2: Part 2: Making the HD bootable

Picture of Part 2: Making the HD bootable
Using Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 open CMD as Administrator (Windows key + R, type CMD, hit Enter)

Enter the following commands, (replace X with what applies to your hard drive):

list disk
select disk X
list partition
select partition X
X:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 X:

(See picture for example)

Exit and shutdown.

Note: If you’re working on a 32-bit system, and you want to install 64-bit Windows, you may get problems trying to run the last command (X:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 X:).

    Use a computer with a 64-bit version of Windows


    A little trick that worked for me: If you have a 32-bit Windows 8 disc, you can copy bootsect.exe from that and replace the 64-bit one (boot\bootsect.exe).

Step 3: Part 3: Booting and installing Windows

Picture of Part 3: Booting and installing Windows
Place the hard drive back into the target machine. Make sure that the BIOS is configured to boot from the hard drive. If you did everything correctly, you should see the blue Windows logo (see picture for example) and setup will load (really fast, too, because it's loading from the hard drive). Install Windows as usual (but don’t format your drive this time in the installer – otherwise it will erase the Windows 8 setup files too!).

Lets say i do this to a HDD, where the windows files from the ISO will be at.
Can i install windows to a SSD as my boot drive?

Will the windows 8.1 install guide ask me at what drive i want to install it or will it just install on the HDD that has the ISO files?

At the time of writing this i have no pendrive that is big enough for windows 8.1 and i am quite sure i won't have a windows 8.1 disc nor dvd/cd reader on the target pc.

If anyone had a problem with the final command on cmd, you should try to execute cmd.exe as admin. it worked fine for me.

t4t3 months ago

I understand that this instructable has a different purpose ... to prepare a hard disk that will be installed internally to the pc however here goes....I'm using a 64GB USB3 San Disk pen drive over a usb 2 port for bootup. When I hit the "Where do you want to install windows?" screen no drives appear available to proceed with install. I was expecting the pen drive to show up similar to what happens with an internal hard drive. Instead I get a warning "We could'nt find any drives. To get a storage driver, click load driver". Any ideas how to proceed please?

StevenTyler (author)  t4t26 days ago

You need the chipset drivers for your drive so that Windows can find your hard drive. Go to your motherboard maker's website and download them. You will have to find a way to integrate the drivers into the Windows 8 installer if you can't use anything else but it may be easier to copy them to a USB drive to load them.

Here's a guide to integrate the drivers:

I've never actually used this method myself but it should work.

stetho801 month ago

i had to find cmd.exe right click, run as admin. win key+r did not run as admin for me.

other than that good job :)

ClaudioG3 months ago


Its me again. I believe i solved my problem. I found this bootsect.exe file, downloaded and it "worked" fine.

But, now i got i new problem. After enter with the command:

D:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 D:

i restart my system and when he trys to boot i get this error message:


Ps. I don't know if that file i donwloaded is for Windows 8.1 but it executed with no error message.

ClaudioG3 months ago


I'm using Windows Xp 32bits and when i enter with D:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 D: the output is: "D:\boot\bootsect.exe is not a valid Win32 aplication"

I'm trying to install this version of Windows 8.1:

How can i fix this problem?


ClaudioG ClaudioG3 months ago

I tried the same thing and got the same error message with a Windows Xp 64bit version.

Cyrilk4 months ago

Wow... awesome tutorial, didn't even need to retry... ;-), thumbs up to the person who made this tutorial

StevenTyler (author)  Cyrilk3 months ago

You're welcome!

theodorm3 months ago

it says that the system cannot find the path specified :/

theodorm theodorm3 months ago

nvm i had forgotten to copy the files from windows 8.1 ^_^ thank you for the tutorial

jason81004 months ago

Thanks bro! Installing Windows on an ssd from a 2.0 usbkey is such a shame lol!

TraeD4 months ago

Excelent Tutorial !!

StevenTyler (author)  TraeD4 months ago

Glad I could help!

bibibaonam8 months ago

thank you, you are my hero.

aceammar11 months ago
is this a type of hack or is it on windows computer
StevenTyler (author)  aceammar10 months ago

Not sure what your question is? It's a guide to install Windows 8 on your hard drive, not a hack.