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I downloaded Windows 8 as an ISO image, and I'd like to install it on a computer that doesn't have an optical drive.

Is it possible to install Windows 8 from a USB drive? How would I do this?

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The Windows 8 installer is very similar internally to the Windows 7 installer. All of the other methods mentioned in the previous Super User post on How to Install Windows 7 from a USB Drive should work perfectly with the Windows 8 installer.

I would recommend using the Windows 7 USB Download Tool, as it's a very easy process — you just select the ISO, choose the flash drive, and it automatically formats it, copies everything over, and configures the flash drive to be bootable. I used it to successfully copy the Windows 8 installer onto a flash drive, and the installation went flawlessly on multiple machines.

(Note that when using the Windows 7 USB Download Tool, your flash drive will be automatically reformatted, so make sure to back up any files you have saved on your flash drive before starting this process.)

  • Really? that's nice! Have you tried it though? – Benjamin Sep 17 '11 at 6:40
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    @Ben yep, I used that tool to put the ISO installer on a 16GB USB flash drive, and proceeded to successfully install the developer preview on 3 computers. – nhinkle Sep 17 '11 at 6:41
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    just to note - if you're trying to make a 64 bit installer in a 32 bit base sustem, you will need to download and run bootsect manually. Other than that, its totally no fuss – Journeyman Geek Sep 17 '11 at 6:47
  • @nhinkle: Yes, it works fine. I'm installing now. thanks. – Benjamin Sep 17 '11 at 7:20
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Windows To Go is a feature in Windows 8 Enterprise that allows Windows 8 Enterprise to boot and run from mass storage devices such as USB flash drives.

Softpedia has a USB installer setup if you need one

Here are a few links you should check out

http://pureinfotech.com/2011/09/28/how-to-create-a-windows-to-go-usb-drive-in-windows-8-step-by-step/

http://geeknizer.com/how-to-run-windows-8-from-live-usb/

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1597261

I believe its fairly detailed explanation on these links.

  • This answer makes no sense. The author wasn't asking abotu Windows To Go which was even a named feature until much later in Windows 8 developement cycle. Remove the part about Windows To Go and I will remove the downvote. – Ramhound Nov 28 '12 at 20:37
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If you are too fed up with USB boot, follow these instructions

  1. Take two USB drives: one with Windows 8 OS (copy Windows 8 files directly to pendrive without folder so its easy to access), and another with a RECOVERY drive created from your friend's Windows 8 PC by "create recovery drive" (search in start menu under settings). Now insert the RECOVERY pen drive in the PC.

  2. Now enable your PC bios to boot USB drive at first with RECOVERY DRIVE.

  3. Now your pen drive will boot by Windows 8 recovery after booted click "TROUBLESHOOT" and click "advanced options" and click on "command prompt". Now attach your Windows 8 OS pen drive to the PC.

  4. Now, in the command prompt type notepad and hit enter.

  5. Now, click on file->open-> to see the Windows 8 pen drive's drive letter. After seeing close Notepad.

  6. For example, if the pendrive letter is F, type f: in cmd and hit enter. Now you will see that the drive changed to F in cmd by like this f:\>.

  7. Now, Type setup.exe, now remove the recovery pendrive and not the Windows 8 OS drive from the PC! That's all, now you can to see the Windows 8 setup booted and you can also make changes to the partition (don't forget to remove the recovery pendrive)! ENJOY!

If you do all steps properly, I assure that it will boot.

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