Introduction: 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.

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:

   -Boot
   -Sources
   -Bootmgr

Step 2: 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):

diskpart
list disk
select disk X
list partition
select partition X
active
exit
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:).
Solutions:

    Use a computer with a 64-bit version of Windows

OR

    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

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!).

Step 4: Part 4: Final Steps/housecleaning

We’ll have to quickly edit the boot menu once Windows is installed.

In Windows 8, hit the Windows key + R. Type msconfig, and hit Enter.
Click to the Boot tab at the top.
Click 'Windows Setup (\windows)', and hit Delete.
Click OK.
Click 'Exit without restart'.
(See picture for example)

And lastly, delete the ‘Sources’ folder and “Windows.old” (if it exists) from your hard drive root (this will free up 2-4gb).


I hope this helps some people out.  Feel free to comment :)

Comments

author
HariJ5 (author)2017-01-06

i have win7 in my comp will i be able to install win8.1 in it with the help of win8.1 system repair disk

author
HdjgD (author)2016-09-20

Guys who need windows key can go link: http://windows10productkey.weebly.com

to got. My key got here and after i used is great works.

author
KenG59 (author)2016-09-08

This worked flawlessly even with windows 10!

I did get an access denied error when I ran the command \boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 but the weird part was that there was a success message followed by an access denied error. Regardless I tried going through and it worked.

author
ΑλέξανδροςΔ3 (author)2016-06-26

B: is my drive - it is 400GB and it is a NTFS system. When executing "B:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 B:" it says:
Could not map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects: Access is denied.

author

Hi. The same thing happened to me as well with the access denied. You have to run "cmd" as administrator. Go to your Windows search panel, type cmd, right-click on the cmd.exe and run as administrator. Type in the command X:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 X: replacing "X" with your drive letter as described in this article by StevenTyler and it should work. It worked for me.

author

you wont be able to put an operating system on drive a or b for historical reasons
remove the b partition, make an e or f partition or so, and then it should work

author
clumy (author)2016-06-12


If you guys wanna
activate Windows 8 need a product key, i got you this link to get some stable
ones: https://plus.google.com/103156713044838092165/pos...

author
Minfeuop (author)2016-06-07

Sharing my experience that i got working windows 8 key can go link https://www.instructables.com/id/Windows-Office-Key to got. My key got here and after i used is great works.

author
ShikharK2 (author)2016-04-14

Sir i shrink a partition and created a 4 gb new partition , i put windows installation files into it , made that new partition active , installed windows from it successfully . Now i want to extend my partition to its original size. How to do that ? Mg new partition is showing (System, active and primary ). What to do ?

author
BananaYazoo (author)2015-09-25

I am SO close, when I do the last command though it tells me that either the directory name is invalid or that the system cannot find the path specified. The new HDD is F: and I have converted from GPT to MBR. I am also using CMD as admin so I really don't know what I'm doing wrong. Thank you so much for your tutorial, I haven't found another so clear and simple anywhere online!

author
ArtiM2 (author)BananaYazoo2016-02-18

hey try to copy the files and folders listed before to the partition (or hdd) you formatted :) I did the same mistake

author
StephenO31 (author)ArtiM22016-03-29

Duhhh... thanks dude this was getting me too :)

author
Alice Pitty (author)2016-01-03

you can go https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheap-Windows-10-Pr... get windows, my windows got here and works well

author
HunterN1 (author)2014-12-23

i do everything and when type 'active' it says "the active command can only be used on fixed mbr disks". help please

author
MonS4 (author)HunterN12015-12-31

you have gpt hard drive

author
RichardC6 (author)HunterN12014-12-27

Run the command prompt as administrator and type in the following (X is the disk that applies to you):

diskpart

list disk

select disk X

clean (WARNING: THIS REMOVES ALL PARTITIONS AND FILES)

convert mbr

Now repeat from step 1 at the top of the page and you should be all good!

author
IstvánF (author)RichardC62015-04-17

don't forget to create a new partition, format it and add a drive letter for it, like "x", it was hard, but without RichardC6 i could not commet this :)
( btw, the installation failed for me, but the previous installation of windows recovered magically... 3 different hard drives: old windows - new failed install - and this setup created in the tutorial. Im an IT guy, but i have no clue how did this happened.. if u figure out plz inform me :D )

ps.: it was win10 prew not 8

author
KasunM6 (author)2015-10-31

thank you very much.great work

author
LinaqtiM (author)2015-10-29

Try link https://www.facebook.com/Windows-8-Product-Key-69... about windows 8, i got help here.

author
PavlosA1 (author)2015-10-11

Man I LOVE you! I had been stuck with the "We couldn't create a new partition or locate an existing one" error when I was trying to install windows from a usb drive but this method overcame the problem and took less time than any other method of installing windows that I have used before. A neat trick worth remembering.

author
BananaYazoo (author)2015-09-25

Nope, blue recovery screen. I give up :(

author
BananaYazoo (author)2015-09-25

My fault. Realised there's a space in between exe and / YIPPEE and fingers crossed for the next stage!!!

author
gideongek (author)2015-06-07

help if i do the last command (X:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 X:) it says that i have no acces to my hdd. see image for more details

hoi.PNG
author
CoreyC2 (author)gideongek2015-08-25

Have to run cmd as administrator

author
HarutY (author)2015-08-06

Hi, your post was very useful for me, but i'm getting an error after doing all the process. It gives me a "Missing bottmgr" error when i put the HDD back to the original PC. It works just when the HDD is put as a secondary disk on the working PC. But it gives the same error on the working PC when I run it only with this "installer" HDD. I'm trying it with a win 7 x64 iso. Thanks in advance.

author
HarutY (author)HarutY2015-08-07

Finally it works. Had to do it only with the installer HDD on the working PC. Put the HDD and installed the Win7 from a USB. Then made a partition with the win7 installer so I could put the HDD back the failing PC and repair the installation with the installer on a partition.

author
lucas.buchaul (author)2014-12-12

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.

author
HarutY (author)lucas.buchaul2015-08-06

The installer normally asks you to choose a partition. That partition list contains partitions from all your HDDs.

author
IvanF3 (author)2015-07-30

sooo u mesn that "copy" these files means that they will be copied directly to the root of the external HDD? or what?

author
HarutY (author)IvanF32015-08-06

Yes, as the HDD, or it's partition, is formatted at the first step, there aren't any directories on it.

author
ClaudioG (author)2014-09-10

Hello!

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:

http://katproxy.com/windows-8-1-pro-vl-x86-multi6-...

How can i fix this problem?

Thanks!

author
Luigi RafaelD (author)ClaudioG2015-06-27

I have the same system and the same error.

author
ClaudioG (author)ClaudioG2014-09-10

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

author
Luigi RafaelD (author)2015-06-26

Windows 7 and windows 8 on hdd external?In the same time.

author
ChristopherD16 (author)2015-06-19

author
JasonL20 (author)2015-06-19

Thanks for guide. help me alot!

author
JasonL20 (author)2015-06-19

author
ThankYouStevenTyler (author)2015-06-01

thanks, you dont know how long it took me to find the solution to my very special problem but your instruction worked just fine. thanks

author
boatdrift (author)2015-06-01

Perfect!!

author
VitorA3 (author)2015-04-29

Please help me guys.

I created a new partition in Hard Drive D:, 50gb, and I putted boot and source files in it.

After I installed the Windows 8.1 in Hard Drive C:, but the partition I created for the boot and sources file continue there, and I losed 50gb creating it, but only uses 4gb, how can I pick these 3gb boot and source files and put in Hard Drive C:?

author
NicoNikoND. (author)2015-04-23

Say i do this with my new hard drive, can i still use it as a main hard drive to put data on?

author
Syed AbdaalS (author)2015-04-07

HEY I HAVE DELL LATITUDE E4310 LAPTOP AND I WANT TO INSTALL WINDOWS 8.1 PRO IN MY LAPTOP...
I HAVE ONLY 1 DRIVE WHICH NAME IS DRIVE C.. AND I WANT TO INSTALL WINDOWS DIRECTLY FROM THE HARDDISK PLZ GIVE ME SOME INFO..
SORRY FOR BAD ENGLISH !!! :D

author

Set up a partition on your C drive. You're pretty much splitting your C drive into two seprate drives when you create a partition.

author
citrusian (author)2015-04-02

after few hours searching & making thread in some local forum about how to make external hdd boot-able, i was surprised why no one just answer it like this, but they answer "why you don't use the dvd" after i already said i don't have usb stick or cd/dvd drive,
it was really simple step but very time consuming to find, but now i can restore my computer again, thanks "Steven Tyler" :)

author
DurhamB (author)2015-03-27

Any idea how to get this working on a disk initialized as GPT? "diskpart" isn't playing nicely with it...or playing at all.

author
JuanP8 (author)2015-03-23

I usually do this with Windows 8 USB Installer Maker, a Windows ISO file, and the HDD connected via USB adapter. This small program can detect internal HDDs connected via USB adapter as if they are USB Flash or Pendrives. No other program of the type, at least none that I have been able to find and test, has this capability.

You can create the Windows installer on any Internal HDD partition (other than C or the partition where you'll be installing Windows). When the Windows installer is done, next connect the HDD internally in the target computer, and install windows.... after the installation has concluded, you can format the installer partition as opposed to slowly deleting the Windows files from the installed Windows OS partition as suggested here.

So, if you find this tutorial by Steven Tyler (which is very usefull no doubt) a bit complicated for your level of knowledge with computers, and if you want to simplify the task, use Windows 8 USB Installer Maker... The program can do it for you with just 6 clicks and finish it in a few minutes depending on your hardware speed... You'll need to previously create or download a Windows ISO file for the application to extract the files from.

Note: the program doesn't work with Windows XP or previous Windows Editions.


author
jabayata (author)2015-03-14

I tried to install win8 dual boot on Drive D with an existing win7 on Drive C. The installation wet well and the files were cleaned. However, how can I connect back to my Windows7 on Drive C? should I reconfigure the disk again and make it active on CMD?

author
JuanP8 (author)jabayata2015-03-23

jabayata: If you haven't found the answer to your question: Use EasyBCD installed on Windows 8 to edit it's bootloader with the Widows 7 and 8 dual boot information. Next install the program on Windows 7 and repeat to edit the correction into the Windows 7 bootloader to make Windows 7 (on C:) the default OS.

author
Pyro667 (author)2015-03-01

Just did almost what you did without removing the harddrive.

1: booted the laptop (old acer aspire 3000) off of hiren's boot cd 15.2

2: Loaded Mini xp off boot cd

3: formated c:

4: copied -Boot -Sources -Bootmgr off of a usb stick to c:

5: ran command prompt

6: did

diskpart

list disk

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

7:rebooted

installed win 8

I am very happy this tutorial was here and i hope the info I provided may help someone in the same situation i was in ( old laptop; no DVD drive, Wouldn't boot off USB...no other laptop to put the drive in to complete the steps)

Thanks

author
AlahD (author)2015-02-05

Best way of cleaning you C:\ drive is given in the link without any software and with simple steps just see this tutorial...

http://www.tutorialhall.com/2015/02/how-to-delete-clean-unnecessary-files-from-hard-drive.html