ltstudiooo - Fotolia
If your goal is to boot Windows 8 from a USB flash drive, then the easiest way to accomplish that goal is to use a feature called Windows To Go.
If on the other hand, you need to boot Windows 7 from a USB flash drive, then using Windows To Go will not be an option. Instead, you will have to use the Boot to VHD feature. In doing so, you will create a virtual hard disk containing the Windows 7 operating system, and then place that virtual hard disk onto a USB flash drive in a way that allows it to be booted. This technique also works for other versions of Windows.
The procedure for doing this is straightforward. The first thing you will have to do is download a utility called PWBoot. You are also going to need a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows 8, and a copy of the Install.WIM file from the Windows 7 installation DVD.
PWBoot is a wizard-driven utility. Start PWBoot and tell the software you want to install Windows. The next screen will ask for a Windows installation image. Point PWBoot to your .WIM file and select the Enable Boot from USB check box.
The next screen requires you to pick an installation target. Choose the option to create a virtual hard disk image. You will then have to set the image size and path. Be careful to use a size that is small enough to fit on your flash drive.
On the wizard's last screen, make sure the Update Boot Code checkbox is selected and the Overwrite Existing BCD Store check box is not selected (this is very important). Click the Install button to write the virtual hard disk and the required boot files to your USB flash drive.
Microsoft readies Windows 8.1 download for USB sticks
USB device backups and restores get help from two tools
Don't use Windows To Go without Windows 8 BitLocker security
Rufus is superior to the Windows 7 USB download tool
Improve Windows 8 performance, reliability with Windows To Go
Windows To Go enables delivery of Windows 8 corporate images via USB
Memory stick makers prep drives for Windows 8 users
Dig Deeper on Microsoft Windows 7 operating system
Related Q&A from Brien Posey
Cloud security is a top concern for IT. As a result, keeping cloud backups secure should be a priority. Here are three straightforward guidelines to ... Continue Reading
Your upgrade method, workload and more affect whether the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10 are really enough. Continue Reading
Rather than handling risk management and mitigation within your organization, outsourcing these important processes to a third party comes with ... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.