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Windows 7: install it ON (NOT FROM) a USB stick

I spent hours trying to install Windows 7 on a USB stick to boot it on a HDD-Less machine (a net top / min pc).

VirtualBox, Clonezilla, ... Just can't do it. Bootloader/MBR won't set itself on he flash memory in order to boot up.

Any suggestions to avoid buying a HDD device and using cheap usb stick instead?

Thanks!
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about windows install usb stick
  1. I Just uses the windows install cd and Microsoft ISo to USB software and a four gig USB stick formatted to fat32. System boot fine when the USB stick set as first boot device. If your not using real ms disk try using digital rivers Iso to make your boot disks.
  2. Best answer
    If Windows was easy to install on, and run from, a USB drive, millions of people would have already done it and the process would be well documented.

    Not exactly what you're looking for, but:
    1. Install it in a VirtualBox VM and use Portable VirtualBox.
    http://forum.thewindowsclub.com/windows-tips-tutorials-articles/28192-how-install-carry-windows-7-your-usb-flash-drive.html

    or

    Another solution with VMWare:
    http://ftanada.wordpress.com/2009/02/15/install-windows-7-on-a-usb-stickflash-drive/

    or this might work (lots of steps)
    http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows-7-to-usb-external-hard-drive-must-read/

    And of course a Linux distro on a usb drive will work.
  3. smorizio said:
    I Just uses the windows install cd and Microsoft ISo to USB software and a four gig USB stick formatted to fat32. System boot fine when the USB stick set as first boot device. If your not using real ms disk try using digital rivers Iso to make your boot disks.


    I think he's asking how to install Win on a USB, not install from a USB.
  4. USAFRet said:
    smorizio said:
    I Just uses the windows install cd and Microsoft ISo to USB software and a four gig USB stick formatted to fat32. System boot fine when the USB stick set as first boot device. If your not using real ms disk try using digital rivers Iso to make your boot disks.


    I think he's asking how to install Win on a USB, not install from a USB.


    That is what I read also but Windows 7 is not really meant to be installed to and run from USB. There are ways to do it but not from default and not without hacks.
  5. Thanks.
    I tried the VM method. In the end it won't boot.
    That would be easily done if the BIOSes would [really] emulate them USB sticks as HDD. Then the OS would see it as a regular HDD.

    Despite some BIOS have this options they actually doesn't work at all.
  6. If your BIOS shows USB Legacy Support, that should help. It enables the USB device to be available at boottime and may lead to it showing up the Boot Options. Restart the system after the first settings change and it might appear in Boot Options after you make that change and restart again.
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