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How to Turn Your USB Flash Drive into a Bootable Media

Posted on: 11/04/10

Small portable computing devices such as Netbooks and MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) offer great mobility, but they lack optical drives (CD/DVD). An optical drive is important when you need to install software from a CD or DVD. An external optical drive would work, but you may not want to lug it around with you. So what’s the solution? Use a USB flash drive as a bootable installation media:

What You Need:

  1. A USB flash drive with good storage capacity; preferably 4GB or more.
  2. Access to a computer running Windows Vista or Windows 7.
  3. A CD or DVD containing software you want to download.

Getting Started:

Connect the USB flash drive to a computer running Windows Vista or 7 and follow the steps below:


  1. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Right click on Command Prompt > Run as Administrator



  2. Type ‘diskpart' and press Enter to start the built in Windows disk partitioning utility 



  3. Type 'list disk' and press Enter. Identify your USB Flash drive and make a note of the disk number.  Here in this example, My USB flash drive is Disk 1.



  4. Type 'select disk 1' and press Enter. 



  5. Type ‘clean’ and press Enter. The clean command will remove partitions or volume formatting from the selected disk (disk 1) by zeroing sectors.



  6. Now to create a partition, type 'create partition primary’ and press Enter.



  7. Type 'select partition 1', and press the Enter key.



  8. Type ‘active’, and hit the Enter Key.



  9. To format the partition using FAT32 file system, type ‘format fs=fat32’ and press the Enter key.



  10. Type 'assign' and press the Enter key to assign a drive letter to your USB flash drive. Type exit to exit the diskpart utility.



Your USB flash drive is now ready to be used as an installation media. All you need to do is copy the entire contents of the Operating System DVD to your newly prepared USB flash drive. Plug the USB flash drive to the computer and reboot to begin the installation.


Note: Make sure to set the first boot device to USB flash drive from the BIOS.



If you have any trouble preparing your USB flash drive or installing an operating system, call at 1-800-PC-Support (1-800-727-8776).


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