Install Windows 7 via USB

Even though I am a Linux user, I often need to install Windows on some computer.

My university provides me access to Microsoft software through the MSDN. There I can download a .iso file of Windows, which is meant to be burned to a CD.

The problem is that burning CDs is a tedious and time-consuming process, and ultraportable computers, like my notebook, do not have a CD drive. The solution is to use a USB drive or an external hard drive to install new Operating Systems.


The following step-by-step guide was prepared for Linux and is quite simple:

  1. Install the dependencies to work with NTFS

    julio@julio-acer ~> sudo pacman -S ntfsprogs ntfs-3g
  2. Check the name of the device associated with your USB drive/external hard drive (/dev/sdb here)

    julio@julio-acer ~> sudo fdisk -l
  3. Delete all partitions, format the first one as NTFS, and mark it as bootable

    julio@julio-acer ~> sudo cfdisk /dev/sdb
  4. Create an NTFS file system:

    julio@julio-acer ~> sudo mkfs.ntfs -f /dev/sdb1
  5. Mount the .iso image and the USB drive:

    julio@julio-acer ~> sudo mount -o loop win7.iso /media/iso
    julio@julio-acer ~> sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usb
  6. Copy all files from the .iso to the USB drive:

    julio@julio-acer ~> sudo cp -r /media/iso/* /media/usb/
  7. Write the Windows 7 MBR to the USB drive:

    julio@julio-acer ~> sudo ms-sys -7 /dev/sdb
  8. In the BIOS, configure your computer to boot from the USB drive.

Julio Batista Silva
Julio Batista Silva
Data Engineer

I’m a computer engineer passionate about science, technology, photography, and languages. Currently working as a Data Engineer in Germany.

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