Saturday, March 16, 2013

Format what now

This is something that keeps coming up so I thought I would do a few self notes on it.
There are a few assumptions here, at least on your part.
1. You have purchased/downloaded a ISO from Microsoft of Windows 7/8
  • I dont care what version that is on you.
  • I will not help you "acquire" any version so do not ask 
2. You are a computer that can support boot from USB 
  • This should really be a no-brainer you are trying to make a USB boot stick
  • You need to find your motherboard/computer manufacture to find out how
  • I will not help you with this step, I do not know your hardware 
3. Your computer is capable of running Windows 7 

Creating a Windows 7 USB Installation drive

1. Start by inserting your happy little USB drive into your computer, I recommend an 8GB drive, you should be able to do it with a 4GB
* BACK UP ALL YOUR DATA!!! if you have anything on that USB stick that you want to keep make a copy now

2. Right click on the drive and select Format. Choose NTFS and Quick Format, it will take a few moments but it will take a lot longer without the Quick Format selected
Well that didnt work as advertised. So I had to insert the USB drive, and then open a command prompt as administrator, then run the diskpart tool.
Once diskpart opens you want to find your USB drive, mine was disk 2 and i used "list disk" to find it
Once you find it type
create partition primary 
and then you can format it by right clicking on it in explorer to NTFS.

3. Extract the ISO that you purchased to a folder. I used 7-zip for this. Right click choose 7-Zip > Extract to  ... and choose a folder.

4. Copy the files that you just extracted to your USB drive. My copy is about 3.1GB and it took about 10 minutes to copy, your mileage will vary.

5. Next step is to make sure you have set the USB drive as Active and Assigned

Open an command prompt as administrator (start>cmd> right click run as administrator)
run diskpart and type list disk 
you will see several disks listed, find your USB drive, mine is Disk 2 

6. Run the bootsect.exe command to make the USB drive bootable.
Open an command prompt as administrator (start>cmd> right click run as administrator)
Go to the location that you extracted your Windows 7 ISO from the command prompt, in my case it was my Downloads folder.
cd \Users\smcgroarty\Downloads\Windows7Install\boot\ 
run  the command BOOTSEC.EXE and it will install the Windows Boot Manager onto the USB drive so that it can be booted from.

F:\Users\smcgroarty\Downloads\Windows7Install\boot>bootsect.exe /nt60 E:
Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.

E: (\\?\Volume{af2d4079-8e6a-11e2-a08c-001d7d09aba5})

    Successfully updated NTFS filesystem bootcode.

Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.

7. You should now be able to boot off the USB drive and install Windows 7

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