I spend quite a bit of time on how to create a USB bootable flash drive. By default Windows 7 will only let you create a recovery disc to CD/DVD drive. This takes 4 CD disks as the file size is about 3GB . With today's laptops they do not come with recovery disc so a user has to create them. One problem is that if you have Windows 7 recover disc, then when Windows 7 came out with SP1 your recovery disc is dated, which means you have to create a new recovery disc set from scratch to have the new updated Windows 7 OS. A flash drive not to much of a problem, just delete the old .iso file and write new one on it. As of now You will need a minimum flash drive of 4GB to make a recovery drive. But who knows how big Windows 7 will get with the added service packs. So I recommend you get at least an 8GB drive to cover you for future Windows 7 up grades. In this article I will try to tell you step by step the easiest way to create a bootable USB drive with links on where to find what you will need to do it. (I think the will also work for Vista)
1. Get a flash drive (I recommend 8GB)
2. Plug your flash drive into a USB port. You will need to format the drive from FAT32 to NTFS. To do this go to start menu in search and files type diskmgmt.msc you will see the diskmgmt icon, click on it. This will open Drive Management. Look for your Flash drive,click on it, then right click, click format. Pick NTFS as format to use to format your flash drive, this is a bootable format. I also renamed my flash drive (A) since there is no A drive on this laptop, default if you do not have any other USB devices connected to your computer will be named (E) drive.
3. Next you will need to download the .ISO file for your OS. It is a huge file and I recommend you use a download manager tool. Here is a free one that works very good Free Download Manager
. Once you have this installed you will need to get the Windows .ISO file. Different versions of it can be found here Windows .ISO Files
. I used Windows 7 PRO (64bit) SP1, which is what is now on my computer, so look the list over carefully to make sure you get the correct .ISO file for your computer, there is Home, Pro, Ultimate, x86 which is 32bit, and x64 which is 64bit version. Using Download Manager, start your download,you can save it to your Download file, be prepared for an over night download, depending on the speed of your ISP.The ISO file is huge.
4. Once you have the .ISO file saved on your computer, the easiest way to make your flash drive bootable is to use a free utility form Microsoft that makes easy work of creating your flash drive to become bootable. It can be found here, DVD-USB Tool
. Make sure no other USB devices are plugged into your computer. Then navigate to your download .ISO Download file (if this is where you saved the .ISO file, and click on it. Select save to USB drive. I will not take long to write the .ISo data to your flash drive.
5. Test your new bootable USB flash drive. Turn computer off. The reboot, while clicking F12, to get you into the select drive menu. Select the USB drive as your boot drive, clcik Enter. If all went well you will see a screen come up that says, "Install Windows 7" if your computer is running correctly you would not want to install, but if you see this screen it is a good indication your flash drive did boot and all is well. Just press ESC, then do a normal boot. Put your new bootable flash drive in a safe place.
I hope this helps anyone who wants to create a bootable flash drive, other than buying the drive, it is free, and with the steps I have provided, it should be a piece of cake. There are also many other helpful articles here on the Stec forum Bob and I have written.
NOTE: The above .ISO link is for windows 7. If you have another OS Google .ISO with your OS name.ALSO NOTE: This is a do it at your own risk process, if you mess something up or make your drive somehow unusable, I, nor Stec Records can not be held responsible.