I decided to install Windows 8 on my home machine this weekend. I've already downloaded the Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation iso, however we just got done moving and somewhere in the chaos I've misplaced all my USB drives along with my DVD drive. On top of that, my home PC is the primary source of entertainment (including TV) in the house, and downtime request are adamantly denied by the Management.

I considered installing to a VHD, but wasn't sure if I could boot to VHD with Windows 7 Pro.

How can I install Windows 8 from Windows 7 without using a DVD-R or USB and with minimal pain?

  • 4
    Yes, thank you @Ramhound, I am aware that they still sell USB drives. This was more for fun/laziness as I didn't want to leave the house just to pick up yet another piece of removable storage.
    – rtf
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 17:45
  • 2
    Before you waste time with WAIK: superuser.com/questions/490476/…
    – rtf
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 15:54

5 Answers 5


Before following this method, first see if the much easier method of mounting the ISO and running the installer directly from your existing Windows installation will work!

Mount the Windows 8 iso image

You will need to mount the Windows 8 iso so you can access the install.wim file. My iso mounting software of choice happens to be Virtual CloneDrive, but anything will do. You could even use 7zip to simply extract the contents of the iso instead.

Install Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK)

You will first need to download and install Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK). It's 1.7 GB, so get started now. You will use this (specifically the imagex tool) to install Windows 8 via command line.

Create a partition for Windows 8

Windows 8 will need to go somewhere, and installing it to the drive Windows 7 is currently installed on isn't going to work. I happened to have a 136 GB partition that (I think...) was empty, and chose to format it for my Windows 8 install. You can open this Computer Management MMC by simply typing Computer Management in to your Windows 7 start menu (you might need to right click and run this as Administrator). From there, select Disk Management, right click some free space, and format as NTFS. If you do not have any unallocated space or a spare hard drive, gParted might be able to help you out. Makin' some space Use NTFS

Run imagex /apply

Open an elevated command prompt (you can do this by typing cmd in to the start menu, right clicking cmd.exe, and selecting "Run As Administrator"). Command line tools installed by WAIK are not put in your path by default. I had to cd C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\amd64\ before running the command. Alternatively you can open Windows PE Tools Command Prompt (make sure you right click and run as Administrator.) Now run the following command:

imagex /apply [mounted drive]:\sources\install.wim 1 [target drive]:\

For me the command looked like this: imagex /apply g:\sources\install.wim 1 f:\, but your mileage may vary. If you opted to extract the contents of the iso file instead of mounting a virtual drive, your command might look something like this: imagex /apply C:\Users\Jim Bob\Downloads\Win8Iso\Sources\Install.wim 1 F:\

If you're wondering what the 1 is in the command, it's to specify the number that references the specific volume within the .wim file. (ImageX Command-Line Options) I can't think of a time off the top of my head when you would change this number for a Windows 8 install preview install.

Yay it's working!

imagex will now magically install Windows 8 to the target drive while you continue watching Netflix or what have you with the Management.

Get Ready to Boot

Once imagex is done, run the following command:

bcdboot [target drive]:\Windows

For me the command was bcdboot f:\windows. This will add the options to boot in to your new Windows 8 installation. Put it in the boot

Reboot and Enjoy!

There will be some setup involved on your first boot, but I still contest that imagex makes for a relatively pain free (and lazy) installation of Windows 8. Now you get to see the new fancy dual boot menu, have fun!

  • 2
    This is cool! Could I convince you to write a blog post about using WAIK to do cool things?
    – nhinkle
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 3:21
  • 2
    The new name of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) is Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows® 8.
    – user189805
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 9:35
  • You could even use WAIK and WDS to do network boot installs, which is pretty cool.
    – MDT Guy
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 22:48
  • -1 this will not work for upgrades
    – kinokijuf
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 9:53
  • 2
    @kinokijuf "How can I install Windows 8" Would've thought that was obvious...
    – rtf
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 14:03

Mount and run the installer!

You probably don't really need the other answer

If you mount the iso as a virtual drive, all you have to do is run the installer! I had mistakenly thought that using WAIK was necessary, but Sathya pointed out that the installation can be run after simply mounting the iso. The rest of the installation files will be copied to the hard drive, and the installation will be completed normally and involve a reboot or two.

  • The downvote is stupid... can you edit your original answer with this detail. I almost didn't look at this answer and would have downloaded WAIK for nothing. Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 22:45
  • why is the other one at the top? I just see this now and realised i just wasted 2 hours for nothing!
    – bicycle
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 15:45
  • @bicycle Self-answer doesn't pin to the top. Added a warning in the comments. Sorry.
    – rtf
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 16:00
  • The other advantage of this method is that you can do an upgrade if you want to.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 17:58
  • The main problem with this is that it requires a working Windows installation on the hardware in question. If you have a blank drive then the other answer is useful. That answer also lets you make a hardware agnostic install, letting you move the hdd to another computer. This answer locks the installation to the hardware.
    – jiggunjer
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 10:17

You can try installing it in a Virtual enviornment using Oracle's free VirtualBox or some other virtualization software since its the evaulation version you are installing. It would install everything in a file and cause minimal pain.

  • This is a very good option, and I considered this as well. I had tried it with the release preview of Windows 8, but something about my hardware configuration and lack of stable guest additions being available (at the time) made for extremely choppy video performance. The Management has no tolerance for dropped frames. Apparently Thomas the Tank Engine must be seen in each and every frame of its glory...
    – rtf
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 16:04

Here, let me tell you the best way:

  1. Go and download Daemon Tools
  2. Make a free partition of at least 40 GB
  3. Mount the Windows 8 ISO
  4. Open my computer and auto-run the mounted image, or browse and select the setup file
  5. Complete the installation normally

Sweet, easy, and less time consuming.

Windows will copy the necessary setup files before rebooting. After a reboot the installer will finish normally.

  • I seriously doubt you can boot to a Demon Tools virtual drive.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 12:19
  • He's actually right. Sathya pointed that out to me after I wrote my answer: superuser.com/a/491212/146694. Although 10GB is way too small for Win8. I do hope the downvotes are because of this and the answer's format, and not because of the Daemon Tools part.
    – rtf
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 15:12
  • 2
    -1 Daemon Tools contains spyware.
    – kinokijuf
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 0:21
  • @kinokijuf Didn't know! Been using Virtual Clone Drive for some time now instead of Daemon Tools.
    – rtf
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 16:01

Extract the iso to a directory on the hard drive and start setup.exe from there.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .