How To Install Windows From USB Drive (Using PowerISO)

USB devices or pen drives come in handy if we want to install Windows from a DVD to a net-book or a computer which has no optical drives. USB drives or flash drives which are easily available can be converted into bootable devices and loaded with an image file of the operating system using applications like Power ISO.

Create Image File of Operating System

  • First, we run the Power ISO application and also insert the Windows CD/DVD. If you already have the installation file image skip to the next heading to create a bootable drive.
  • Then from the main window we click on Copy, and select Make CD/DVD/BD File.
    Make dvd image
  • The ISO maker dialogue box will open from where we have to select the source drive which holds the Windows CD/DVD.
  • Then we select the output file name and we can also select the destination folder. From the list under destination, we select the output file format to ISO.
  • Then we click on OK. This will convert the entire contents of the CD/DVD and convert them to an image (ISO) file and save it in the selected output folder.

Another way to create an image file from the Windows CD/DVD is by using shell context menu.

  • First we open ‘My Computer’ and select the disc drive that contains the Windows CD/DVD which we want to convert to an image file.
  • We right click on the drive selected to open the shell context menu and select the Make Image File option.
    Shell Context image
  • The ISO Maker dialogue box will be displayed where we can select the output file name and output folder and set output file format to ISO.
    ISO maker window image
  • Finally we click OK. This will convert the CD/DVD into an image file.

Create Bootable USB Drive

  • Once we have the image file ready, we insert the pen drive which we want to use for booting.
  • Then we start the Power ISO application.
  • When the application is open, we click on the Tools menu and select “Create Bootable USB Drive” option. A dialogue box will pop up from where we have to confirm the UAC if using Windows Vista or Windows 7/8 Operating System.
  • From the window that opens up, we click on the “…” button and select the converted image by browsing to the location where it is saved.
    Create Bootable Device image
  • Then from the destination USB drive list, we select the proper flash drive where we want to load the image.
  • Once done we choose the proper writing method – The recommended one is USB-HDD.
    Loading image on USB image
  • Finally, we click on the start button to start the transfer of the image file to the pen drive.

The flash drive should now be ready for booting.

Configuring the BIOS

  • With the USB device still plugged in, we reboot the computer.
  • While booting during startup, get into the BIOS setup using the designated Hotkey which is usually shown on the screen.
  • Move to the section which has the boot devices listed.
  • Here, the USB device should be listed. We have to alter the boot priority and select this device as the first booting preference.
    BIOS device priority image
  • Save the changes and exit from BIOS setup.

Windows will now start up and will first read the USB device plugged in for booting.

Booting and Setup

Assuming that the aforementioned methods have been carefully and properly followed, Windows should now boot from the USB device. For some machines, a message is generally prompted to press any key to boot from the external device. In such cases, if any key is not pressed, the system automatically moves on to the booting device which is next in the priority list, generally hard disk drive. Then the system will start up automatically as default without booting from USB device. If no such message is displayed, then the computer will read from the USB device and start the installation process. Users will have to follow the on-screen instructions to set up Windows operating system successfully.

Another process to convert USB drive into a bootable device so that it can be used to install Windows is explained here – Using Command Prompt.

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