Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

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Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:08 am

I have found a site that shows me how to put Windows 7 onto a USB flash drive so that I can install it on my new system faster than using a DVD. The question I have is this: which USB flash drive should I use? I am torn between using an 8GB USB 2.0 drive or going straight to an 8GB USB 3.0 drive. I will be using an Asus P8Z77-V motherboard, which should allow me to boot to a USB flash drive. If there are any particular USB flash drives you recommend, please list them here. Thank you in advance.
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:29 am

You can use whichever you please. It won't take long from USB anyway. USB 3.0 will be faster but since your only installing it once on a machine it won't matter which one you use.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:44 am

1) You don't need to do it in DOS command line. You can just use the Microsoft USB/DVD Tool which is much simpler.

2) Both USB2.0/3.0 are noticeably faster than using an optical disc, but the difference between USB2.0 and USB3.0 isn't much IMO. (Disclaimer: I never sit in front of the computer with a stop watch while installing Windows) You will need an Ivy Bridge processor to use USB3.0 speeds on install since Sandy doesn't have native USB3.0 support. I assume you've got an IVB CPU since you're using a Z77 mobo.

3) If you happened to get an upgrade disc and you're installing it on a clean/new hard drive, follow these instructions.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:52 am

I will use an Intel Core i5-3570K along with the ASUS P8Z77-V motherboard. Thank you for the Microsoft link.
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:52 am

While there is certainly nothing wrong with using the USB installation method, I'm a little confused on why you would be sweating the type of USB drive over differences of a few minutes. Usually the only reason to try and get the fastest installation time possible, even if it involves buying a ridiculously expensive USB drive, is if you are a system builder who is processing multiple machines, or a tester who restores clean copies after every benchmark run.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:20 pm

ludi wrote:While there is certainly nothing wrong with using the USB installation method, I'm a little confused on why you would be sweating the type of USB drive over differences of a few minutes. Usually the only reason to try and get the fastest installation time possible, even if it involves buying a ridiculously expensive USB drive, is if you are a system builder who is processing multiple machines, or a tester who restores clean copies after every benchmark run.


I have decided to go USB 2.0 since the small difference in speed is simply not worth the cost.
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:23 am

riviera74 wrote:I have found a site that shows me how to put Windows 7 onto a USB flash drive so that I can install it on my new system faster than using a DVD. The question I have is this: which USB flash drive should I use? I am torn between using an 8GB USB 2.0 drive or going straight to an 8GB USB 3.0 drive. I will be using an Asus P8Z77-V motherboard, which should allow me to boot to a USB flash drive. If there are any particular USB flash drives you recommend, please list them here. Thank you in advance.


USB 2.0... this is from experience with trying both. USB 3.0 support is not native out of the box, i had issues booting from the device and getting the install to complete. Your board is newer and may not have that issue, but until confirmed I'd stick to USB 2.0 unless you have time to experiment.
The install is fast still with USB 2.0
Brand of drive was not important, just stick to one with decent transfer rates.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:18 am

DPete27 wrote:3) If you happened to get an upgrade disc and you're installing it on a clean/new hard drive, follow these instructions.


Much easier is to download a fresh copy of Win7 SP1 from Digital River. I don't have the link handy here but I have it at home. They let you download a copy that lets you do reinstalls from an "upgrade" disk.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:34 am

Arvald wrote:
DPete27 wrote:3) If you happened to get an upgrade disc and you're installing it on a clean/new hard drive, follow these instructions.


Much easier is to download a fresh copy of Win7 SP1 from Digital River. I don't have the link handy here but I have it at home. They let you download a copy that lets you do reinstalls from an "upgrade" disk.



I think you mean here.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:21 pm

I worded that incorrectly. IIRC, your product key is what determines if it's an "upgrade copy." I have the SP1 disc images that you're talking about, but I still have to do this workaround because my product key is from an upgrade disc. Definetly go with an SP1 disc image though, it saves you the time having to Windows Update SP1.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:48 pm

Been doing this with the Windows USB tool for about 2 years now. As long as you put it on a fast drive, the installation breezes by really quickly. Don't recommend trying to install via a USB 3.0 PORT (3.0 drives are fine). Windows 7 install even with SP1 updated sometimes does not like the USB 3.0 ports on certain motherboards. Save yourself the headache and do it on USB 2.0 ports. Such a shame too, imagine installing it from 3.0 off a drive capable of those speeds :o
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:52 pm

Welch wrote:Such a shame too, imagine installing it from 3.0 off a drive capable of those speeds

Been there, done that at 100MB/s from my flash drive. How do you confirm what transfer speeds you're getting during the installation process though? (maybe I wasn't getting USB3.0 speeds after all :o )
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:55 pm

Installing from a Windows 8 WinPE session (you don't have to own Windows 8 to make one of these) should solve the USB 3.0 port incompatibility options.

  • Intel USB 3.0 ports tend to work with okay with the Windows 7 USB 2.0 drivers.
  • You could just add the USB 3.0 drivers into boot.wim of the Win7 installer, but that could be alot of different drivers to support the various different vendors. Win8 ends up easier.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:03 pm

DPete27 wrote:1) You don't need to do it in DOS command line. You can just use the Microsoft USB/DVD Tool which is much simpler.

2) Both USB2.0/3.0 are noticeably faster than using an optical disc, but the difference between USB2.0 and USB3.0 isn't much IMO. (Disclaimer: I never sit in front of the computer with a stop watch while installing Windows) You will need an Ivy Bridge processor to use USB3.0 speeds on install since Sandy doesn't have native USB3.0 support. I assume you've got an IVB CPU since you're using a Z77 mobo.

3) If you happened to get an upgrade disc and you're installing it on a clean/new hard drive, follow these instructions.


You are confused. Ivy Bridge supports PCIE 3.0 on compatible mobos, Sandy Bridge provides only PCIE 2.0. USB 2.0 vs. 3.0 support does not care about CPU at all.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:05 pm

Arvald wrote:
riviera74 wrote:I have found a site that shows me how to put Windows 7 onto a USB flash drive so that I can install it on my new system faster than using a DVD. The question I have is this: which USB flash drive should I use? I am torn between using an 8GB USB 2.0 drive or going straight to an 8GB USB 3.0 drive. I will be using an Asus P8Z77-V motherboard, which should allow me to boot to a USB flash drive. If there are any particular USB flash drives you recommend, please list them here. Thank you in advance.


USB 2.0... this is from experience with trying both. USB 3.0 support is not native out of the box, i had issues booting from the device and getting the install to complete. Your board is newer and may not have that issue, but until confirmed I'd stick to USB 2.0 unless you have time to experiment.
The install is fast still with USB 2.0
Brand of drive was not important, just stick to one with decent transfer rates.


I've had these experiences, too, and it has to do with who makes the USB controller. If it's integrated into the chipset, you're generally OK, if your USB 3.0 comes from a separate controller on the board, it's not going to end well.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:23 pm

DPete27 wrote:I worded that incorrectly. IIRC, your product key is what determines if it's an "upgrade copy." I have the SP1 disc images that you're talking about, but I still have to do this workaround because my product key is from an upgrade disc. Definetly go with an SP1 disc image though, it saves you the time having to Windows Update SP1.

That is why I said use those other images. I only have upgrade keys I used to update from Vista and WinXP. I have had no issues with them. I did a PC about 2 months ago for a friend with an upgrade key.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:34 pm

Forge wrote:
DPete27 wrote:1) You don't need to do it in DOS command line. You can just use the Microsoft USB/DVD Tool which is much simpler.

2) Both USB2.0/3.0 are noticeably faster than using an optical disc, but the difference between USB2.0 and USB3.0 isn't much IMO. (Disclaimer: I never sit in front of the computer with a stop watch while installing Windows) You will need an Ivy Bridge processor to use USB3.0 speeds on install since Sandy doesn't have native USB3.0 support. I assume you've got an IVB CPU since you're using a Z77 mobo.

3) If you happened to get an upgrade disc and you're installing it on a clean/new hard drive, follow these instructions.


You are confused. Ivy Bridge supports PCIE 3.0 on compatible mobos, Sandy Bridge provides only PCIE 2.0. USB 2.0 vs. 3.0 support does not care about CPU at all.


The issue is the third party controllers- H/P/Z68 didn't come with USB 3.0, and most BIOSs won't let you boot from the third party controllers the board makers used. Ran into this problem myself. The H7x in my laptop had no problem installing 7SP1 from a USB3 stick in a USB3 port to a 128GB M4 on SATA3- but it still wasn't much faster than using the same drive to install onto an Intel 320 with a USB2 port.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:16 am

Arvald wrote:I only have upgrade keys I used to update from Vista and WinXP. I have had no issues with them. I did a PC about 2 months ago for a friend with an upgrade key.

Keyword "update from Vista and XP." That's what an upgrade disc is meant for. However, if you use that upgrade key on a brand new hard drive, you'd get the problems I was talking about and that link is how to get around it.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:29 am

DPete27 wrote:
Arvald wrote:I only have upgrade keys I used to update from Vista and WinXP. I have had no issues with them. I did a PC about 2 months ago for a friend with an upgrade key.

Keyword "update from Vista and XP." That's what an upgrade disc is meant for. However, if you use that upgrade key on a brand new hard drive, you'd get the problems I was talking about and that link is how to get around it.

I think you missed my point. the drives were blank when I started.
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:11 pm

If I were to download W7 SP1 from Digital River (all inclusive), where would I get a legitimate product key? Presumably from Microsoft, but where?
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:49 pm

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Re: Install Windows 7 with a USB Flash drive

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:57 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:Link

Agreed.

The Digital River images are aimed at those who already have keys. I bought one to restore my daughter's laptop without having to use the cruft-infested recovery partition and take all that time to blow out the Lenovo shovelware. For the price it was cheap (in unspent grief & aggro) and the image will work with any valid key.

Of course, the first thing I did once it was restored was to use Win7 backup and store an image on an external drive. The DR disk will allow me to restore her laptop from that image. Haven't had to use that yet, but with a teenager it's just a matter of time.
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