How to Install Windows 8 From a USB Drive

The most used way of installing an operative system today is from USB drives instead of optical media. The most important reason for this is, among others, the speed of installation and how easy it is to maintain your source files up to date. You can save yourself plenty of time by installing from USB.

This article will cover the process of preparing your USB so you can install Windows 7/8 or Vista with it.

Preparing the Drive

Open a command prompt window. If you are running Windows 8 open the Run dialog by pressing Windows+R, typing CMD in it and pressing the Enter key. On Windows 7 you can type CMD directly in the Start Menu search and press the Enter key.

We are going to use Diskpart, a command-line utility that ships with all versions of Windows. You can use it to create or delete partitions, format disks, assign drive letters and more.

  • Type diskpart. This will start the utility.
  • Type list disk to see all the drives currently available in your computer.
  • Type select disk X to select your USB drive.
  • Type clean to delete all its partitions.
  • Type create partition primary to create a new partition.
  • Type select partition 1 to select that partition.
  • Type active to make it bootable.
  • Type format fs=ntfs quick label=”Win8″ to format the USB drive using the NTFS file system.
  • Type assign to mount the new partition so you can see it in Windows Explorer.
  • Type exit to close the Diskpart utility.


[box type=warning]Make sure you select the correct drive number before using the clean command.[/box]

Copying the Files

Copy the Windows installation files from a DVD disc or ISO image. Select all files and folders and put them on the root of your USB drive.

You can now use this drive to install Windows from it.

Diskpart Commands List

Here are all the commands we used to prepare the drive. Use it as a quick reference.

DISKPART> diskpart
DISKPART> list disk
DISKPART> select disk X
DISKPART> create partition primary
DISKPART> select partition 1
DISKPART> active
DISKPART> format fs=ntfs quick label="Win8"
DISKPART> assign