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

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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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79 Discussions

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StoneScully

Question 3 months ago


"Connect the hard drive to another working computer."

How to accomplish without an alternate device?

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ADG1

5 months ago

I see many people on here having trouble. What this person has posted, not only have I done it the way it was posted, removing the drive etc, however you can literally create your own USB bootable drive the same way, or even better, you can copy the files to a VHD or use your ISO from your C: drive. Yes, the last one is more difficult but let me give you all some direction and options that work.

•Using a tool to create a USB bootable Drive.
•Using the prompt to create a USB BOOTABLE DRIVE.
•Booting from a VHD on C drive with the setup files on it.
•Booting from an ISO on C drive with the files on it.
•Creating a 5 gig Partition( d:) and copying the ISO files to it and booting from it.
•Copying the ISO files to C: or D: and booting from it.
•Booting from a USB drive using a VHD or ISO.

What is needed to do the above stuff is done for many reasons. You want a quick way to Install windows, you don't have flash drive or your flash drive is too slow, or you have one flash drive and can't give up the space on it to do your deed.

Now I am going to provide you with some good helpful tools that go above using the DOS prompt, DISKPART, BCDEDIT, bcdboot, BOOTSECT, etc. Of course these are handy to know, however, some tools help too.
Creating a bootable drive, USB, VHD is kind of simple using DOS, but getting into the command line BCD bull, well, even I don't like it if I don't have to.
So in come programs Like RUFUS, EasyBCD and Easy2boot. All these are GUI, so no promp knowledge is needed.
You can use EasyBCD to boot to a VHD on C, Set up a Native BOOT, BOOT From an ISO etc. A free and totally cool program that even fixes up your BCD, instead of using the command line to create a new bcd store.
You can Use RUFAS to make a bootable USB Flash Drive and windows to go drive, and not have to buy a special drive for that.
and my third favorite, is using Easy2boot. IT is totally cool.
Easy2boot, requires things, flash drive, easy2boot setup program and the ISO of your choice.
Use easy2boot to create your UEFI/BIOS multiboot USB, then (copy) your ISO to the windows folder that is on the USB which was made by Easy2Boot. The bigger the drive, the more ISOes you can copy onto it. Then boot it, and it creates a menu that will find the ISO and show you as a choice. The DEMO of it is on YOUTUBE.
RUfas is cool, as it will prep your drive to boot either EFI or BIOS and it does extract and copy the setup files. More time consuming.

EasyBCD is cool too. No matter which partition or HDD you put it on, it will boot an ISO, VHD, or WimRE and I forgot, it will boot LINUX too to put it on your computer.
I even used to set up a USB drive after I copied the files to it and make it bootable.
I have used other USB tools and BCD tools, but these are the easiest and most useful.
Have a nice day. Any questions or need some direction, leave me a reply. I know people read directions on the web and seem to have a hard time still getting it to work or someone leaves out a vital part that needs it to be working only by mistake.

Note: Linux supports Multi partitions on USB flash drives. As of Windows 10 release 1703, it supports and sees more than one partition. This way, can create two partitions, a recovery boot partition and second larger partition to dump windows setup on it. or a wim, pending your choice of installing windows. Remember ONE large file copies faster to a USB then extracting. So if you copied on your HDD the files from a mounted ISO to VHD you can just copy the VHD to the second partition. After booting to the first Partition, you need a little know using DISKPART, and mount the VHD on the second partition. Then you can run setup from the VHD without troubling with using an ISO or not, just use Easy2boot, and copy the ISO to the Windows 7, windows 8 or Windows 10 folder and boot and install.
Have fun.



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StormC7

7 months ago on Step 4

I will try this with Linux Raspbian instead of Windows, why would you delete the installer though, it sounds so good

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YousefE18

Question 11 months ago

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 1 year ago

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

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RAHULS536

1 year ago

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

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ToddS149

1 year ago

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.

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southwalesboy

1 year ago

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

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TimofeyO

1 year ago

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

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harri4007

1 year ago

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

2 years 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

2 years 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
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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.

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GarT3ΑλέξανδροςΔ3

Reply 2 years ago

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

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ShikharK2

3 years ago

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 ?

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BananaYazoo

3 years ago

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!