Here is a short guide to show you how to clone your Windows 7 DVD onto a USB thumb drive, for use in Windows installations. Using a USB thumb drive to install an operating system has become much more accessible and easy in the last year or so.
Where this comes in most handy is on Netbooks with no optical drive, but there are other benefits in using this method even on your desktop. When you install Windows with a USB thumb drive it’s also a lot quicker than using a DVD, so the install for Windows 7 can take anywhere between 10-12 minutes, which is great.
What you will need is:
1. Windows 7 DVD
2. USB thumb drive (4Gb capacity)
3. Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB tool (free)
4. ImgBurn (free)
5. At least 5 Gb of free space on your hard drive
6. 1 x DVD drive
Firstly what you want to do is make an image (copy) of your Windows 7 DVD on your hard drive. This is simple but may take a few minutes. Make sure your Windows 7 DVD is in your drive, then install ImgBurn and open it up. You will be presented with a few options. What you want to do here is click on “Create image file from disc” as highlighted below.
This next screen shows you where ImgBurn will be saving your copy of Windows 7 to. You really don’t need to change any options here. It will usually save the .iso file to the root directory of your hard drive that has the most free space. All you need to do here is click on the disc icon with the blue arrow as highlighted below.
After a few minutes this will be complete, so just close down ImgBurn. Your new Windows 7 image backup should be in your root directory (usually on the C: drive). Mine is called “GRMCHPXFRER_EN_EVD.ISO” but yours may be different.
Now you want to put your thumb drive into an available USB port. After you’ve done that, install and open up Microsoft’s USB tool. You then want to tell the program where your copy of Windows 7 is.
ImgBurn saved it to the root directory of your drive, so press the browse button, find it and select it. As you can see, the Windows 7 USB Tool saved mind to the D: drive. Simply find yours, click on it and press open.
Now click on the next button.You will be warned about your thumb drive being formatted and all data being erased. I should stress this right now, you don’t want to have anything on this USB drive that is of any significance (photos, music etc) as it will all be erased. This thumb drive will only be used for the purpose of installing Windows 7.
This next screen is pretty self-explanatory, all you need to do is press the “USB device” button as highlighted below.
Make sure to select the appropriate letter that coincides with your thumb drive. You can easily find this out if you are unsure. Just open up My Computer and have a look at the drives. You can check the capacity and obviously your USB drive will be approximately 4Gb in size.
After clicking on “Begin copying”, the program will start copying the OS files onto your thumb drive. This will take a few minutes or more, depending on the power of the system you’re using. But generally speaking it shouldn’t take more than 3-5 minutes unless you’re using a extremely old PC.
After Windows is finished the procedure of copying the OS installation files to your thumb drive, the program will let you know and the green progress bar will have reached 100%. Close the program down, and unplug your USB thumb drive and you’re done.
What you have in your hand now is an exact clone of the contents from your Windows 7 DVD. You can now use this to install Windows 7 on any PC, Notebook or Netbook as long as they have a spare USB port. As I pointed out before, installing Windows from a thumb drive is a cinch and it takes significantly less time than using a DVD. And as a lot of people are moving away from optical drives I think this procedure will be used more and more.
One thing I want to stress is when installing Windows 7 with your USB drive, make sure you unplug it after the first restart. If you don’t, the installation procedure will just loop back to the beginning. This has happened to me once or twice so make sure and stick around while you’re doing the install and after the first restart simply take out the USB drive as all the installation files are already copied to your hard drive at this point and the USB drive is no longer needed.
5 Tips For A Healthier Gaming PC
AlienBEware: Why You SHOULD build Your Own Gaming PC
Do people still buy PC optical drives?