The task was to install Windows 7 from USB flash drive. I never purchased the media dock for my Lattitude D420 and therefore do not have a CD/DVD drive. It never bothered me though as the only time I really need a CD/DVD drive is when I need to install a new copy of Windows. Even then, there were a few tweaks that I can do and use my USB flash disk to install Windows. Well, those tweaks are not needed anymore…
Microsoft released a tool called “Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool” which, using an iso image, lets you prepare a USB flash drive for Windows installation. The tool is very simple to use and the whole process takes about 10 minutes. You can download the tool from this page (see the link under “Installation”). The tool requires a Windows 7 iso image.
What if you have a Windows 7 DVD and want to use a USB flash for installation?
The tool asks for an iso file to be provided so first you need to create an iso image using the Windows installation files on your DVD. Creating an iso out of the already extracted files on the DVD and then having the tool re-extract them may sound a little silly, however, the whole process is much more straight forward than the traditional method of installing Windows from USB .
1- Create an iso image of Windows 7 DVD:
- Download LC ISO Creator (freeware and does not require installation) and launch it
- From the drop down box, select the DVD drive that you have the Windows 7 DVD inserted
- Hit the create iso button, browse to desktop and give iso image a name, i.e. “Win7image”
- Wait until the tool creates the iso image
2- Use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool to prepare the USB drive
- Download and install the tool
- It will ask you to reboot to finalize the installation; reboot and launch the application
- Browse to the iso file that you saved on your desktop in the previous step, click Next
- On the “Choose media type” screen, select “USB Device”
- Select your USB drive from the drop down box and click “Begin copying”. Windows will warn you about deleting files, confirm to start the process. (Yes, all the files that you have on the USB flash disk will be lost so if you haven’t done so, backup the files before confirming this message)
That’s all! Once the copying process completes you have a USB flash disk that you can use to install Windows 7. Attach it to the machine that you want to run the installation and boot from the USB drive to install Windows 7.