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Install Win7 from USB

Is it possible to install Windows 7 through a USB drive (considering that it's a fresh HD?)

My motherboard is a ASUS Maximus II Formula

If so what are the steps to do so?

(is it possible to do it without a Windows machine? i.e set up the USB stick on my Macbook Pro?)

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marked as duplicate by quack quixote Jun 18 '10 at 21:35

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, and it is very easy.

Some modern machines do not even need you to prepare the USB drive first - simply make sure that all files are shown (hidden and system) then copy the root of the Windows 7 DVD to the root of the USB flash drive and then boot from it.

If your motherboard does not support the above, you may need to prepare it first (basically, format and set partition to active). Microsoft have a tool Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool that will do the hard work for you.

To actually boot from the USB drive, simply put it in then either change the boot order to USB before any other valid drive, or press Esc or whatever your boot menu button is, then just choose USB.

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set up the USB stick on my Macbook Pro?

Unfortunately, the most popular tools to prepare USB sticks from CDs/DVDs (WinToFlash and Unetbootin) are not available for Mac OS X, but all is not lost:

First, download and install Virtualbox (free) and and then setup a VBox with Windows (not so free, but obviously you do have a Windows 7 DVD, you might as well use it in VBox, not activated, there is a grace period :). Then get WinToFlash (free again) for your VBox.

Important: enable USB pass-through in the settings for your virtualbox.

Insert your stick into your Mac and unmount it in OSX, go to the VBox menu and mount the USB stick in Windows. Then mount the Windows 7 DVD in the VBox and let WinToFlash work its magic.

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