Introduction: Install Windows 7 Without USB or DVD Without Upgrading!

Picture of Install Windows 7 Without USB or DVD Without Upgrading!

How to CLEAN Install Windows 7 directly from Hard drive – NO DVD or USB needed!!

For example, you have a netbook or desktop that you want to install Windows 7 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 guide will work for Windows 7 and Windows 8.  I have a Windows 8 instructable, but it's essentially the same guide with some Windows 8 pictures.  This guide will not work for Windows Vista - I have an instructable for that.

Part 1: Preparing the HD with Windows 7 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 7 disc:


Part 2: Making the HD bootable

Using Windows XP, Vista, or 7, open CMD as Admin (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 7 disc, you can copy bootsect.exe from that and replace the 64-bit one (boot\bootsect.exe).

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 “Windows is loading files” 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 7 setup files too!).

Part 4: Final steps/housecleaning

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

In Windows 7, 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'.

And lastly, delete the ‘Sources’ folder from your hard drive root (this will free up 2-3gb).

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


PatrickH186 (author)2017-12-16

Thanks so much works perfect! (author)2017-09-03

I had to fix the MBR on the disk from another Windows computer because I was running a linux distro on it earlier and it had a GRUB MBR in place:

bootsect /nt60 X: /mbr

Worked fine otherwise.


KamilL10 (author)2017-05-13

missing BOOTMGR

MehmetŞ2 (author)KamilL102017-05-31

/boot +/sources are folders but bootmgr is a file on root of Win7 CD/DVD

bootmgr win7 CDsinin ana klasöründe bir dosyadır, dosyayı da diğer belirtilen klasörlerle kopyalamalısınız ama klasör içine değil diskin ana(root) kısmına, yani window explorerla o diski tıklayıp açtığınızda klasör isimleri ve bootmgr dosyasını görmelisiniz

Shafika3 (author)2017-01-24

Microsoft DiskPart version 6.1.7601

DISK - Display a list of disks. For example, LIST DISK.

PARTITION - Display a list of partitions on the selected disk.

For example, LIST PARTITION.

VOLUME - Display a list of volumes. For example, LIST VOLUME.

VDISK - Displays a list of virtual disks.

DISKPART> pls help me getting this error

papydeath95 made it! (author)2017-01-20

I do it with Windows 10 Augost Update

IamKaranS17 (author)2017-01-05

Awesome work sir ... I have no words to thank you. Ihvbeen trying this from last 8 hours. Your mathod worked fine in first attempt. Thnx a lot ??

DiaconuM (author)2017-01-02

My laptop display is broken. I use an external monitor. I cannot use the normal install of windows because the external monitor activates when windows starts and i cant see the first steps of the normal install procedure.Will this procedure work for me ? I mean are there any menus or next buttons that i must push before the external monitor get signal ? Thank you

GeeteshP1 (author)2016-12-13



HenryC90 (author)2016-12-08

Man, you made my day!, your instructions works like a charm with my Windows Server 2008!!

Mouettewastaken (author)2016-10-16

hmmm cannot "activate" the partition. Cmd prompt tells me "the selected disk is not a fixed MBR disk. The active command can only be used on fixed MBR disks".
Anyone has any idea of what the issue is? I mean, I guess it's that the disk is not "fixed MBR" but I don't know what this means :D Thanks a lot.

I know this is 2 months late but if it helps it stands for Master Boot Record, it's the standard form for windows hard drives. to convert a drive to a fixed MBR open cmd as admin and do;
diskpart > list disk > select disk x > clean

then open disk management, initialize your disk, create a new volume, select MBR and format as NTFS

thầnt6 (author)2016-11-07

i need a way to setup windows 7 as:

AregV (author)2016-10-14

WOW! Worked with no issues. Thank you very much!

pahyuhn (author)2016-10-09

Two thumbs up for you!

jamiec111 (author)2016-09-04

You sir... are a legend... 6 hours of me trying to figure this out and an angry mrs.. and your handy 32bit solution worked 1st time...

I appload you!

Thanks ;)

MehmetŞ2 (author)2016-08-31

when bootsect.exe command I get error: couldnt map drive partitions to the associated volume device objects: Eri

MehmetŞ2 (author)MehmetŞ22016-09-01

missed a point... cmd command should be given as administrator. then it works.

Geri42 made it! (author)2016-08-25

Thank you, it helped me install win7 on my laptop.

PeteV7 (author)2016-08-23

Whoever you are sir, I applaud you, never do I write feedback but this is certainly worthy. After receiving a laptop with supervisor locked boot configuration and no chance of know password, I was completely stumped. This method has allowed me to install a nice fresh edition of OS on new hard drive with having to send laptop to Toshiba for unlock. Many many thanks A* from me!

AnastasioK (author)2016-08-16

thank you very much, i have try all kind of installation, no one could tell me how to boot a dead laptop, except you, cross my heart, from now on this is the only way i will use to intstall new softyware, THANK YOU !!

darryl.kinslow (author)2016-08-09

Thanks a lot. This works very well. I installed Windows 8.1 64 bit, the trick of using 32bit bootsect.exe worked great. I did not have to perform a cleanup as I used a separate partition for the Windows 8.1 installer. Instead of booting directly to Windows 8.1, I land on a Windows 8.1 startup screen where I can select either Windows 8.1 or the Windows 8.1 setup. That is an unexpected but very cool feature in Windows. I do not know if Windows 7 or 10 will do this, but I am going to install Windows 7 the same way.

Bruce Morton (author)2016-08-04

if you want to download windows 8.1 click download. Great works by my exeprience to recommend.

Rominus (author)2016-08-01

Steven you're awesome !

I don't post really often, but you saved my day, much thanks !

I was trying for hours to install Win7 on a new Skylake config with only USB3 ports, and I didn't managed to add the USB3 drivers to my Win7 iso. You're solution was my last option, and it worked ! Awesome !

JamesC434 (author)2016-07-03

Thank you so much simple yet effective method and worked after trying for 2 days to repair a formatted hdd on a notebook.

clumy (author)2016-06-12

Guys you can get your
win 7 activated from the pro keys
in that site is genuine and cheap, you can have a try.

AbhiK10 (author)2016-05-16

Watch Hottest: Hollywood Actress Hot Videos, Sexy Celebrities and Hot Videos

ZaifadzimanZ (author)2016-04-12

Thanks a bunch..You really saved my time. Cause for any reason I can't boot from my usb. Thanks a lot.

rohit9999 (author)2015-12-23

Thank you so much..i liked it

MarinM2 made it! (author)2015-11-24

You don't have to plug in the HDD you wish to put new windows on in another PC, you can basically do that in the same PC you already have windows on! Great work! Tnx!!

behechty (author)2015-11-19

thx for good i lobe u i like u

PeteW8 (author)2015-11-15

Thankyou! This has just solved a painstaking weekend!

My clean installation for windows would crash every time on 'Copying windows install files' at 0%. I had no spare computer and had formated all my parititions.

I plugged in a bootable usb with W10 iso and copied the files to the active primary partition of the broken laptop using 'xcopy
d: c: /s /e' from the recovery command prompt.

I then removed the bootable usb and rebooted. The installation worked fine after this!

SimonL37 (author)2015-11-14

spot on mate worked first time.... scrapped or so i thought laptop SAVED :)

Puntstar. (author)2015-10-25

Brilliant, after hours of trawling forums looking for a solution to a shot hdd on a netbook that doesn't have a dvd drive or will accept boot from usb you saved me. Easy to follow instructions even I could understand - thanks!

GiorgisM (author)2015-10-20

Thank you very much! this was just perfect!

CostinS (author)2015-10-17

hey you have skype? I want to instal windows from USB but don.t read it or a DVD , say alltimes bootMGR is missing or restar and......(i want to help me from skype , to show you alltime the screen and to say me wat is need to make ) Ty.

kittymemeow (author)2015-09-10

Can you do this using an external? If so, how? I am in need for a good reboot. (insert geek-isum)

RedH5 (author)2015-09-03

great job!

shortcut on PART 2

press winlogo + R

type diskmgmt.msc and click OK or press enter

click X drive (X=your target drive)

right click X drive and select MARK PARTITION AS ACTIVE

close disk management and proceed with PART 3

olushola ismail (author)2015-09-03

Yes thank u. Your solution help me very well. I'm saying Big Thank u. more grace to your elbow.

TheBleon967. (author)2015-08-26

I followed all instructions everything went great until installation asked me for product key. I typed in product key from the Win 7 64 bit that i used and installation says wrong code. I would like to know what I can do?


figured it out just type 0000-0000-0000-0000 in replacement of key. Thanks for excellent information.

Good job

lewis514 (author)2015-07-16

Thank you for sharing this informations !

I have done the step by step but when I do reboot my new ssd doesn't boot ....

nothing happen

What should I do ?


SakouhiK (author)2015-07-01

can any one help here, i have problem with step 4, i cant delete setup windows (/windows)

JoeB26 (author)2015-06-23

Thank you for your sharing, it is great and helpful, and i would like to share my happiness with you, recently my computer was bad and then my friend introduce a web for me, it provide wonderful windows product and my computer return well now, i wish my successfully experience can help more people.

slappy76 (author)2015-05-21

For anyone getting ACCESS IS DENIED when running the BOOTSECT command in CMD. When you type CMD you will see the CMD.EXE pop up. You have to be in an Administrator account, right click CMD.EXE and Run As Administrator. Hope that helps.

kidjedi (author)2015-05-20

Thanks so much for this! Tracking down a Win7 install .iso these days is a major endeavor since MS removed everything from Digital River and even their "download lost media" link doesn't seem to work anymore, but luckily I had a previously downloaded ISO that I could use. Worked like a charm. Installing Windows was never so fast!

CoreyCollins96 (author)2015-05-20

I get to part 3 and when i reboot my laptop, i get Windows failed to start, status: 0xc0000000f info:the boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible.

I'm installing Windows 7 onto a laptop with XP, i did all the steps from part two correctly, my BIOS is up to date, the hd is formatted to NTFS, I've tried different boot options such as SATA native and non SATA native, where did i go wrong? I see it worked for most others on here so I'm just curious why I'm a special case

Nevermond, i restarted the whole process and found what i did wrong

DerReinhardt (author)2015-05-16

Thanks! Great guide.

However, I would like to point out that if you try to format the hdd using the same computer that you used to copy the files in the first step, you might get the driver error.

When I booted from the other computer (the one that I wanted the hdd for) it worked great. No more driver errors.

Thanks again!

SwagSurf3RR (author)2015-05-05

Help please

I'm at the last part, after the leaving dispart

I'm not soo sure about the X:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 X:

The Boot folder is on my Usb

but the windows selects C:/Users/Owners

Where do I put the Boot folder?

Thank you

About This Instructable



Bio: Not even a fan of Aerosmith, it's just a username.
More by StevenTyler:Install Windows 8 directly from Hard drive – NO DVD or USB needed!Install Windows Vista directly from Hard drive – NO DVD or USB needed!Install Windows 7 without USB or DVD without upgrading!
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