Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Install Vista from External USB Harddisk or Memory Stick

I was working on a new machine which needed Vista installing but it had no DVD drive.

You can install Vista directly from external media either a USB drive or an external USB hard disk. The install is at least twice as fast from a USB hard disk. Taking around 10-15 minutes including making a coffee.

  1. Anyway-firstly configure your target machine to boot from USB, set the boot order after your internal drive, otherwise you'll need to unplug the installation drive when the installer reboots the machine.
  2. On another Vista machine, pop your USB stick (it needs to be 4GB as the Vista DVD is 2.6GB) or USB harddisk into the USB port.
  3. Run a commend prompt and run the utility diskpart
  4. Retrieve a list of drives attached to the system using 'list disk', make a note of the number corresponding to your external media. Make sure you get the right one as picking another drive will lead to data loss.
  5. Run 'select disk <x>' where x is your drive number e.g. 'select disk 4'
  6. Run the following commands

    create partition primary 3096
    select partition 1
    format fs=fat32
  7. The assign command will give the drive the next available drive letter so it will now appear in My Computer
  8. Copy the contents of a Vista DVD onto the new drive. You can use XCOPY to do this e.g.
    xcopy :\*.* /s /e /f :\
    Where is the drive letter containing the Vista DVD and externaldriveis your newly assigned drive letter. e.g. xcopy e:\*.* /s /e /f f:\
  9. Plug the USB device into the target machine and boot it. Assuming your boot order is set correctly in the BIOS the Vista installation will run from the external media.

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