Thursday, June 21, 2012

Installing windows 8 on a USB pen drive

This is the first article for my new BLOG...

With the New Windows OS launch round the corner i am trying the explore the never before features and the improved features of the new windows 8. come join me and see for yourself!!..

Here are the steps i used to install windows 8 on a San disk USB 2.0 Pen drive. i suggest that you should try these steps carefully, though the whole procedure do not involve and formatting of the main HDD and hence no data loss.

Objective: To install and boot windows 8 from a 16 GB USB Pend drive.

First of all the requirements:

  1. A windows 7 system.
  2. Windows 8 Release preview image file.(download it from Microsoft site here)
  3. Microsoft ImageX tool for windows.(download it from Microsoft site here) ImageX is a very tiny application which comes as part of WAIK (windows automated installation kit). download the latest iso file from the link here. its is a big image file but worth the download because we will use ImageX.exe for several different purposes. 
  4. Winrar (to extract files from windows iso file, you may use virtual drives as well)
  5. Pen drive (at least 16 GB USB 2.0, i recommend USB 3.0 for better performance)

Step1: Download Window 8 Release preview image file(.iso).
Step2: Install winrar on your system (if not already installed)
Step3: using winrar extract the install.wim file from Windows 8 Image(.iso) file. you will find it within the source folder.
Step4: using winrar extract the WAIK image(.iso) file and extract ImageX.exe from the same.
Step5: create a new folder in C drive or any other partition and copy both install.wim and  imagex.exe in that folder, give folder some good name.

now we have all the tools to start the process.

1. Preparation

First we will prepare the pen drive for installation, to do this open CMD (command prompt) with Administrative privileges and run the following commands.
note: this is clean all the data from pen drive, be sure to backup it first.
  • Type  Diskpart on command prompt
  • Now type List volume, this will show all the partitions and drivers attached to pc. find the drive letter corresponding to you pen drive(in my case it is was F:)
  • type select volume F
  • now type clean (this will clean pen drive completely, deleting all partitions)
  • now type create partition primary
  • now type format fs=ntfs quick
  • now type active
  •  the step above automatically assigns drive letter to pen drive, but if it doesn't then you the next command.
  • assign letter="f"
  • now type exit
our pen drive is now ready for installation


Now using the same command prompt got to the folder that we created earlier wherein we have our install.wim and imagex.exe file.

now from the command prompt type the following commands.
imagex /apply install.wim 1 f:\

now patiently wait for process to finish up. it might take around 20-25 minutes on USB 2.0 drive and around 10 minutes on USB 3.0 drive. you will be able to see the progress in the command prompt window.

3.Enabling windows on pen drive

once the above steps has completed to 100% progress. Type and run the command below.

bcdboot f:\windows /s

Hurray !! we are done... Now is time to restart PC and Boot from the windows 8 installed on the pen drive.

note: you might need to enable pen drive as the bootable device from your system BIOS.

You will now be greeted with windows 8 logo and windows will take same time to detect computer hardware and install necessary drivers.

Congratulations!! you just learned something new, give it a try and share your experience!!

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