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Install & Run Windows 7 on USB Flash Drive ?

Last response: in Windows 7
August 20, 2012 5:16:13 AM


I've spent hours searching google about this and did not learn anything definitive.

Does anyone know if it is at all possible to install and run Windows 7 on a USB flash drive as a 'live' and 'portable' operating system?

I do not mean create a USB Windows 7 installer.

I do not mean create a recovery tool like BartPE.

I mean install Windows 7 on a flash drive as if it is a hard drive, install drivers, any software, use the net, save files, etc etc. like a normal Windows 7 environment that can be booted into.

Also, compared to running Windows on VirtualBox, how does running it on a USB flash drive compare in terms of performance.

Thanks in advance! :) 
a b $ Windows 7
August 20, 2012 6:06:00 AM

I wish.
August 20, 2012 6:31:46 AM

I don't think so since each OS install is tied down to a certain degree to the hardware from drivers to registerys to what nots...

But you can make a USB boot disc for your specific computer... it just won't work on other computers lol.
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August 20, 2012 7:02:02 AM

The only problem with this approach is it doesn't support booting on different computers well.
Windows 8 To Go (Enterprise version only though) is a lot better in this respect. It installs drivers on the first boot to a new machine, and then uses the setup on subsequent boots. I tried it to switch between a Radeon and an Nvidia machines, works like a charm. Also win8 doesn't need a frankenbuild, install to an external disk is supported out of the box.
December 15, 2013 2:49:13 AM

YOU CAN Load & Run Windows, and no its NOT just for 1 machine, (Never heard that one before!) If you get a 32 bit version it will run on 64 bit too- Works on ALL Machines!!

It has the basic drivers loaded on it just like the Setup CD does, You cant play games other then Minefield, etc. . (Old stuff)
It's like using the Windows SAFE MODE Basically and is mainly used to be able to boot up and fix your Windows computer-

IT ONLY RUNS THE BASICS so no games, no office, your video card of coarse wont work, because like I said. . . It works just like Windows SAFE MODE or if you want some cool portable hacking tools its good for, but then you dont need windows.

Just Search for:::::: Windows USB Edition or Portable Windows-
You can find it off of any Torrent Site for free with an easy setup, directions included-

I have a 32 gig USB Flash, I have Hirens Boot CD, and mainly PC Fixing and tweaking tools on it- Comes in Handy if you work on alot of different computers (I have lotsa Kids & Grandkids) but its not going to be anything like most imagine unless you LOVE Safemode-

Hirens BootCD is FREE to, and totally loaded with all kinds of cool fix it toys! Works way better all the way around & fixes multiple operating systems and I heard or read somewhere the NEW Version has multiple Boot configurations including the Windows USB Edition-

Try it, it's a much better tool, you can load basic files that can be read by any OS (Txt, PDF, Docs, & Other stuff if your trying to transfer some files!

Hope this answers any questions you have, I been doing this quite a while, 20+ years and am a software developer & I know this stuff very well-

Live Long and Prosper.

February 14, 2014 6:55:43 PM

Running it off of a USB is much faster. If you are not an experienced with Software and IT, have you checked out USB Software Solutions? I have their windows 8 Enterprise bootable USB and it works great! There website is These flashdrives will detect the hardware and install the drivers very well. Check it out.
February 15, 2014 10:53:29 AM

Yes, you can install win 7 on a USB drive. You need some tools to do this.

First download rmprepusb, wich prepares your USB drive partition for the installation:

Prepare your USB by setting NTFS partition option, and selecting the first bootloader option for win 7 or Vista. Then prepare the drive by clicking prepare drive.

You also need a win 7 32 bit ISO installation wich you can you load by a virtual dvd drive, like clone dvd drive. Or you can use your physical DVD with you win 7 DVD. Must be 32 bit.

Also download this files I have included for you. You have the WAIK 4 win 7 files included there.

Unrar and open the files and right click at the installer. Run as Administrator. A green screen will pop up. Follow the instructions to install to target USB. When you finish, you'll have a full functioning win 7 system running from the USB. Please keep in mind, that this USB will run in the hardware you first made the system from. If you need to use this USB in an other PC, you'll have to reset the drivers first, by running the Sysprep on you desktop of this system (is included in the files). If you don't do this, you'll have a blue screen on a different PC.
April 16, 2014 6:44:29 AM

Get the Windows 7 install ISO to have Windows 7 working fully "stable" on any Bootable USB Flash Drive or thumb drive.

This Win7 will install very easy and runs fast on USB Flash from 2.0 and up.

Creates pagefile on the USB device and USB Drive can be used on any machine as long as the system is capable of running Win7,

(no need to use "sysprep" before you boot this Drive on another machine).

(Read/Write) and saves everything to USB Flash drive at shutdown.

All the drivers and modifications are included that, make it possible for Windows 7 to run at full system speed over any bootable USB flash drive.


1. Download the (5GB) ISO file.

2. Mount the ISO as a CD Drive,
or Burn the ISO to an 8GB DVD.

3. After Running the DVD or Mounting the ISO, the Windows 7 installation page will Autorun.

4. Follow the simple instructions to install W7 to your flash drive.


June 28, 2014 11:40:45 PM

Dint know abt Windows 7. But it can be done with Windows 8.