I see posts all over the web for how to create a bootable USB stick to install Windows 7 but there is an easier way. Microsoft has made available an open source tool to do this. It is the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool.  All you need is an ISO image of Windows 7 and a USB stick that is 4GB or more. Then download and run the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool.

The tool is available from the two locations below:


Here are the steps to use this tool…

1. download, install, and run the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool.
2. Select the ISO image (This is the Windows 7 Install DVD ISO image)

3. Choose USB key (This tool can also burn a DVD)

4. Choose USB key (This USB key must be at least 4GB)

5. It will warn you that you are about to erase the data on the USB stick.

6. Watch the progress until it is finished. Close the app.

That is the process – you are finished and you have a USB key ready to boot off of and install Windows 7. Compare it to the manual process I have listed below and you can see this is much easier to use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool.



For fun I have also listed the manual way to setup your USB Key.

The 11 steps for manually preparing a USB Disk to be a bootable Win 7 Install.
1. Diskpart (Run from a CMD prompt)
2. List Disk
3. Select Disk # (Where # is the number of your USB disk)
4. Clean (removes any partitions on the USB disk, including any hidden sectors)
5. Create Partition Primary (Creates a new primary partition with default parameters)
6. Select Partition 1 (Focus on the newly created partition)
7. Active (Sets the selected partition to an active valid system partition state)
8. Format FS=NTFS (Formats the partition with the NTFS file system. This may take several minutes to complete, depending on the size of your USB key.)
9. Assign (Assigns the USB drive a drive letter)
10. Exit
11. Copy all the files from the Windows 7 DVD to the USB Stick.