Driving something with a boot the size of my thumb.
August 10, 2010 5:10 AM   Subscribe

Creating a bootable copy of Windows 7 64 bit on a USB drive.

So I finally got around to building the computer from this post. Everything went together nicely and I can get myself to the bios and boot screens.

Now is when the problems start. I need to create a bootable version of windows 7 on a USB thumb drive in order to install the operating system on the computer. I have an ISO of windows 7 64 bit. I have tried to mount it using this and this method. However, both fail because the system I am using to mount the image is a x32 windows XP system that does not recognize the "bootsect" command that they both use.

I have also tried mounting the image with Unetbootin. Although Unetbootin seems to do something (it appears that everything that should go onto the USB drive does), I can't tell what it has done because I still don't have a bootable USB drive, and the only system I have working right now is 32 bit, so it can't do anything with the 64 bit image.

I am at the edge of my computer knowledge. Does anyone know how to make a bootable copy of windows 7 on a USB drive?

I have also changed the boot sequence to boot from the USB drive, but when booted, the computer still prompts me to insert some sort of media. Is there something in the BIOS settings that I am missing?
posted by 517 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Appears you just don't have the bootsect executable, which you can download from this page:
posted by TomMelee at 5:16 AM on August 10, 2010

Oops too fast. Here's a detailed guide and more instructions.

You don't have an old dvd drive or anything, anywhere? Can you go to walmart, buy one, use it for the 30 mins to install and take it back?
posted by TomMelee at 5:19 AM on August 10, 2010

Response by poster: You don't have an old dvd drive or anything, anywhere? Can you go to walmart, buy one, use it for the 30 mins to install and take it back?"

That may be my next solution, if I can't get this to work.
posted by 517 at 5:34 AM on August 10, 2010

I was installing Linux from a flash drive a couple of days ago, and had to change one of the BIOS options so that removable USB drives were explicitly treated as hard disks, rather than auto-detected. Worth a try, at least (as is setting up a Linux flash drive and seeing if the machine will boot from that - if it does, then the Windows 7 failure is down to the disk image rather than the hardware).
posted by nja at 5:41 AM on August 10, 2010

Also when booting from USB a lot of BIOSes are quite limited - you should try unplugging all hubs and anything else that looks like a disk drive.
posted by samj at 5:52 AM on August 10, 2010

This says it should work if you have .Net and Microsoft Image Mastering API v2 installed on at least XP SP2.
posted by dozo at 7:02 AM on August 10, 2010

You should just be able to use the USB tool from MS to do this. (alt exe link) I just did it the past weekend, and it could not have been easier. ArsTechnica has a guide.

The guides that you linked to predate the existence of this, so that is probably part of the issue.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:15 AM on August 10, 2010

Response by poster: So I've tried using the USB tool, and it works right up until the end when it tells me that there is a bootsect error. I've tried updating the .net framework, but I can't use the updated fix until I uninstall my previous version of .net, but Add/Remove won't let me uninstall it, at all.

I'm trying some of the things in TomMelee's link with bootsect, but my hopes are low, and it will take me about an hour and a half to find out if they work because the bootsect fault happens at the end of the process.

Fuck ms. I'm sorry I actually paid for windows 7 now, but thanks for the help everyone.
posted by 517 at 3:14 PM on August 10, 2010

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