How to Create a Bootable USB Drive Without Using Any Software

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Intro: How to Create a Bootable USB Drive Without Using Any Software

To create a bootable USB drive manually, we will use the Command Prompt as a Windows default program. Here are step by step to create a bootable USB drive as the Windows installation media. To create a bootable USB drive as a Windows installation media, we require at least 4 GB for minimum capacity. Larger capacity is better. At this moment, I use the USB flash drive with 2 GB of capacity as just an example. It's due to some reasons that my 4 GB flash drive encountered an unusual problem that i have to fix later. :D

Step 1: Using DISKPART Command

  1. Insert your USB flash drive to your running computer. As the first step, we need to run Command Prompt as administrator. To do this, we need to find cmd by typing 'cmd' in the search box on Windows Start Menu. After search result for 'cmd' appears, right click on it and select "Run as administrator".
  2. Type 'diskpart' on Command Prompt (without quotes) and hit Enter. Wait for a while until the DISKPART program run.
  3. Type 'list disk' to view active disks on your computer and hit Enter. There would be seen that the active disks shown as Disk 0 for hard drive and Disk 1 for your USB flashdrive with its total capacity.
  4. Type 'select disk 1' to determine that disk 1 would be processed in the next step then hit Enter.
  5. Type 'clean' and hit Enter to remove all of data in the drive.
  6. Type 'create partition primary' and hit Enter. Creating a primary partition and further recognized by Windows as 'partition 1'.
  7. Type 'select partition 1' an hit Enter. Choosing the 'partition 1' for setting up it as an active partition.
  8. Type 'active' and hit Enter. Activating current partition.
  9. Type 'format fs=ntfs quick' and hit Enter. Formatting current partition as NTFS file system quickly.
  10. Type 'exit' and hit Enter. Leaving DISKPART program but don't close the Command Prompt instead. We would still need it for next process.

Step 2: Creating Boot Sector

Let us assume that the flash / USB drive is the D: drive and the DVD installer located on drive F :. The first step, we will navigate Command Prompt to set installation DVD as its active directory.

  1. By default, Command Prompt's active directory for Administrator permission is on C:\Windows\System32>. We will navigate Command Prompt to set on DVD (F:) as its active directory. Just type 'f:' then hit Enter, and the active directory changed to F:.
  2. Type 'cd boot' and hit Enter. Active directory changed to F:\boot>.
  3. Type 'bootsect /nt60 d:' and hit Enter. Creating boot sector on D: drive (USB flash drive).
  4. Type 'exit' and hit Enter to close the Command Prompt. Until this step we have made a bootable USB drive sucessfully, and the flash drive is ready to be used as a boot media.

Step 3: Copying Installation Files

To install Windows from a bootable USB drive, we just need to copy the whole installation files contained on the DVD installer to flash drive. To do this, open the Command Prompt as in previous steps. Once it opens, type 'xcopy f: \ *. * d: \ / E / H / F' and then press Enter. Wait until all the files in the DVD installer copied to the flash drive. Now bootable USB drive is ready to be used for installing Windows from flash drive and you're done !

View original source in English version and Indonesian Version.

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142 Discussions

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Creasor24

1 year ago

All my PC says is that "bootsect" is not a command, what do i do?

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Joenewbie

2 years ago

Windows 7 when I am in the CMD window and I type diskpart it tells me this service can not be started.

1 reply
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mikeaf7se

2 years ago

All went well until I got to loading the boot sector. My DVD is "D" & USB is "E". This is what I got

D:\boot>bootsect /nt60 e:

Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.

Could not map drive e: to an associated volume device object.

D:\boot>

My USB no longer appears under "My Computer" but still appears as "Disk 1" when I "list disk" under DISKPART.

Have I lost my USB totally ? :-(

2 replies
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vishalridermikeaf7se

Reply 1 year ago

go to control panel administration tool and click computer management.after it go to disk management at left side window Change drive letter & formate it ....

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RishieKmikeaf7se

Reply 1 year ago

No, you did not lose your pen drive for ever! It is there. You will have to go to Disk Management app (which is there in the Windows and you will see your drive there. But, it will not have any drive letter (such as e:, f:, etc.) assigned to it. You can simply assign a letter to your drive and it will appear back on the Windows Explorer.

Rishie - http://www.RishieNama.Dhakkanz.com

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SabrinaH35

1 year ago

i need some help can anyone help me this is the issue i have is that very last step where i copy the files i need it explaned a little better the file is on the usb when i try to open the file it said to burn to disk.....do i do that and where do i do that do i just put in the disk and burn to the disk lol i am smart at these thing i really am but i just cant get it to boot off the usb when i restar the option is there to boot off but nothing happens when i try to i would llike some help asap!!!!!!!

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StevenJ97

1 year ago

says not compatible with version of windows I am running

I have 32 bit version installed. this must be for 64 bit windows 7. now what?

thanks

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QX99

1 year ago

Step 1-3 should probably be clarified for people who have more than one internal drive.

1 reply
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MohdS108QX99

Reply 1 year ago

You have to check which drive you want to select
Ie: i have three internel drive and i pluged a pendrive that is 4gb space and i ran the command list disk on command prompt they show like this
Disk 0 350gb
Disk 1 250gb
Disk 2 550gb
Disk 3 3gb
If you wanna select pendrive which has 4gb space you have to write
Select disk 3 and hit enter

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Deni Kishore

1 year ago

when i was typing cmd to make my pendrive bootable,in the 3rd step(list0).I gave list0 where my drives allocated its almost 900 gb.It got erased but it could be seen in disk management which it shows me it contains all the data.Could I recover the data.

1 reply
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MohdS108

1 year ago

You made a mistake in writing command
bootsect /nt60 f: is wrong
The right command is copy bootsect /nt60 f:

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malik naved

1 year ago

i dont hv dvd for copying window.

but i already have copy window data in my d drive,

please tell how can i copy this window data in my boot able pen drive ??

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MattT96

2 years ago

Why would an article/tutorial for Windows suggest formatting the drive as NTFS if it should be FAT32? I get that from reading some of the comments, and I've been having one hell of a time trying to make an .iso file to a bootable USB flash drive. Part of the problem seems to be the .iso generated in EaseUs ends up using .pbd instead in certain conversion programs like PowerISO.

If the drive should be converted to FAT32 for Windows, is there not a file size limit with FAT32 like people are saying? What happens when your ISO file is say, 80GB? 100GB? My flash drive is 256GB. I can't understand why it's so difficult to make an .iso image file bootable on a USB flash drive.

I've tried all the programs for Windows 7, Windows 7 USB, RUFUS, Etc.Either the file can't be burned or there's not enough room on the disc or a number of any other errors. Frustrated.

1 reply
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ngambinoMattT96

Reply 1 year ago

@MattT96

There area a couple reasons for this. but ill answer your questions first. Yes there are file limitations with FAT. IMHO id prefer all drives be exfat but there are its own limitations with that. in this particular instance there are rarely individual files "with-in" the .iso file over 4gb so you dont run into these size limitations.

so you notice i said "with-in" the .iso. This is because you cannot make the .iso itself bootable. what you do is make a bootable drive, and then unpack the .iso to the drive.

So if you downloaded an ISO and need to make a drive, you can use most image burning software and burn the iso to a disk. if you want to use a Thumb-drive what you would have to do is follow the instructions in this instructable, and then mount the ISO to your computer using a program like ISO-Mount or Virtual drive. once mounted copy the contents of the iso over to the bootable thumb-drive you just made.

hope that clears it up man.

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NavyBuff

1 year ago

D:\>xcopy *.* /E /H /F f: Where D: is your CD and F: is your USB

1 reply
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ArfaiFNavyBuff

Reply 1 year ago

nice correction bro :)

C:\Windows\system32>d: //d: source of file

D:\>xcopy *.* /E /H /F f: //f: your USB partition

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ThuwarakashP

1 year ago

i dont get the part about DVD installer located pls help

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TpatB

2 years ago

Thank you for the instruction. I made it!!!