Downloaded Windows 7 .iso off the net and want to install from USB key on old laptop (previously/still running XP) that has no CD/DVD drive. Here's what I've got so far:

  • Read the instructions in this post: http://kmwoley.com/blog/?p=345 , which were quite straight forward and clear.
  • Properly formatted USB key with another laptop (this one running vista), also with no DVD drive
  • wasn't sure how to make the USB bootable, since my .iso was downloaded and I have no DVD drive.

Any help would be much appreciated!!


4 Answers 4


Microsoft has released a tool to create a bootable Windows 7 installation flash drive:

Windows7-USB-DVD-tool.exe ,

And Here the instructions from MyDigitalLife.


You should follow the tutorial from Microsoft titled Use a USB Key to Install Windows 7. The basic process (as outlined in that article) is as follows:

  1. Launch DISKPART from the command prompt (or by going to Start->Run).
  2. Select your flash drive (to list all disks, type list disk, and then select disk X where x is the proper drive number).
  3. Clean the disk using the clean command. This will wipe all data on the drive.
  4. Now, run create partition primary, and then run active.
  5. Finally, you can format it with the format fs=fat32 quick command, and then assign it a drive letter with the assign command.

Now, you should be able to just copy everything from the Windows 7 ISO/disc into the root of the flash drive, and boot the system from the drive.

  • diskpart doesn't list my usb key in the list because i'm running Windows XP on this machine. I can do list volume and see it as volume 4 though.
    – myermian
    Aug 19, 2011 at 14:57
  • 1
    Running XP shouldn't cause diskpart to not list your disk. . . But if you can select the volume, that is good.
    – surfasb
    Aug 19, 2011 at 15:59
  • @surfasb: Could it be that, due to the nature of the USB Flash disk, it may not be listed? Dec 24, 2011 at 15:40
  • @Gunner: No idea. I've never seen anything like that and previously thought something like that would be impossible. You sure the disk isn't listed?
    – surfasb
    Dec 25, 2011 at 6:42
  • @surfasb: I am pretty sure it wasn't listed on my XP machine. Then I moved it to a Win 7 PC and formatted that using NTFS. It was visible in that machine and I was able to carry out the instructions above. Dec 25, 2011 at 9:08

use WinToFlash to prepare your USB stick, it doesn't get any easier.


You may not have a DVD drive to use bootsect, but there is a copy of bootsect in that Windows 7 ISO. Open it with a regular compression utility such as 7-zip and extract bootsect.exe which is under the boot directory. You can then follow the rest of the steps in your guide, just make sure your current directory in command prompt is the one with bootsect.exe in it while you execute the commands.

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