If you need a bootable partition for your hard disk and your thumb drive, want to install Vista, Win7, Win8 (or XP) from a USB drive or your cd or ISO file, occasionally need a virus scanner for a non-bootable machine, or think it would be handy to have a bootable USB disk for emergency repairs this is probably the guide you want. This one works and it’s fairly easy
1 – Formatting your USB Drive in Windows Explorer
Click your start button then my computer then drive you want format.
Your Screen might look a little different; this is my personal laptop Explorer screen. Notice I have the Kingston Drive named “KINGSTON” and it’s listed as F:
Once you have the USB Drive highlighted hover over the drive letter with your mouse pointer and right click format on the pop up window and you’ll get a format dialog box.
2 DISKPART.EXE Making the Partition Active
Getting to the Command Prompt
Before you can boot to the USB disk we need to make the partition Active. You formatted the USB drive but in order to boot to it we need it to be active, once that’s done we can put boot files on it.
Click the start button then all programs then Windows system and you’ll get this screen.
Right Click the Command Prompt Icon and open as administrator or just click into the DOS command line territory.
This is my Command Prompt Dialog Box, yours will have a different name instead of “ali abdulla” never mind Once you have the Command Prompt up we’re ready to run Diskpart.exe
Diskpart.exe can be run from the command prompt without navigating to another folder (in DOS they’re called Directories). Just enter “Diskpart” and hit enter and you get the next screen.
This is the screen you enter Diskpart commands in.
Just Type “List Volume” and hit enter.
This shows you the drives Diskpart sees, you should see your Hard Disk and USB Drive listed and a volume number to the left of that. Mine is Volume 4.
Type “Select Volume 4″ (insert your volume number if it isn’t 4) and hit enter.
That makes your Hard Disk partition or your USB drive the default drive Diskpart will operate on.
Type “Active” and hit enter and you get the confirmation screen.
Your USB Disk should now be formatted to NTFS and marked as active. We’re ready to move onto Bootsect.exe so move on to the next page (Bootsect.exe Moving boot files to your USB Drive).
3 Bootsect.exe Moving Boot Files to the USB Drive
Now that the USB drive has been formatted NTFS and the Partition marked active we’re ready to make it bootable. To do that we need to use Bootsect.exe which is normally used to repair faulty bootsector on NTFS disks? It’ll work for our purposes. If you’re trying to create your Bootable NTFS USB drive by following along, insert the Win7, Win8 and XP Install Disk into the optical drive now.
Once you have the Win7, Win8 and XP Install disk in the optical drive, type the drive letter, mine is “E” so I type “E:” then hit enter.
Then Type “CD\Boot” and hit enter.
Once you get the E:boot> prompt type “Bootsect /nt60 E:” and hit enter. Please note that if your USB drive has a different letter use your letter. Also please note that after “Bootsect” there’s a space, and after “/nt60″ there’s a space.
That’s all you have to do to create a Bootable NTFS Disk but what can you do with it.
Well for one thing you can copy all the files from your Win7, Win8 and XP install disk and install Win7, Win8 and XP from USB disk which is a lot faster than from Optical drive. Then copy any files you end up installing frequently (review files) to the same disk, then when the copy is done remove the USB drive and boot to the HD. Once booted to the HD you can plug the USB drive in and install anything you have copied to it.
This works for desktops, laptops with no optical drive and every other machine we’ve tried that has a boot to “External hard disk and Thumb drive’s option in BIOS.