Install Windows 8 Directly From Hard Drive – NO DVD or USB Needed!

Introduction: Install Windows 8 Directly From Hard Drive – NO DVD or USB Needed!

About: Not even a fan of Aerosmith, it's just a username.

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 :)

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76 Discussions

i did all things like you
but it wont to set up and i dont know how to back for win 7

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OliwerZ1

Question 4 months ago

Cant boot because its missing/broken file BCD Anyone know how to fix ?

is it possible to install window from a password protected hard drive.

Wow, such a useful tip. HDD died on an older motherboard which still had a good i7 cpu. So went with an SSD only to find zero support for bootable usb and dvd drivers not recognized. Thought I was going to have to replace the motherboard as well until I ran across this tutorial. Easily installed Windows 10 (which I found for OEM $10). So easy, I may use this method over installing through usb in the future. Thanks a bunch.

Worked a treat to Install Windows 10 Pro directly on my new SSD without having to transfer files to sluggish USB drives!

Thank you! One question: Is it possible to do it with a GPT partition?

My hard drive crashed and I replaced it. Of course not saving anything but the loss wasn't too great. After 2 weeks of trying to get the new hard drive to be read by my laptop I came across this solution and I was up and running within an hour. Thanks very much and it was very helpful.

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HariJ5

1 year ago

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

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KenG59

1 year ago

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.

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.

2 replies

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.

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

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 ?

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!

2 replies

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

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