Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Install Windows 8 From USB Drive

For many enthusiasts there's nothing quite like getting your hands on a shiny new release of Microsoft's Windows operating system. And that's precisely why the web is buzzing with all things Microsoft, as the software giant has made available a Developer Preview of its next flagship OS, Windows 8.

The preview is strictly a pre-beta version of Windows 8 for developers to get to grips with, and Microsoft is keen to stress that it "may not be stable, operate correctly or work the way the final version of the software will". But still, this is Windows, and those short provisos aren't going to prevent everyone who's curious from trying it out.

If that sounds like you, and you're wanting to install the preview without donating a blank DVD, here's a brief guide on how to install Windows 8 from a USB pen drive.

There are a couple of ways of doing this, but we reckon the method we're about to outline is the easiest of them all. In order to make it happen, here's what you need: a USB pen drive (4GB or greater in size), the Windows 8 Developer Preview disk image file (64-bit download here, 32-bit download here), Microsoft's Windows 7 USB tool (download here) and of course a working PC.

Once you have all those, follow these steps:

1. Install and run Microsoft's Windows 7 USB tool. In the subsequent window (pictured below), browse to the 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 8 disk image file you've already downloaded. Hit next.

2. With your USB stick plugged in (remember, it'll need to be at least 4GB in size for a 64-bit install), choose USB device as your media type.

3. Select the correct removable device from the drop-down menu, then click begin copying.

4. Sit back, relax, and make a cuppa while the USB tool formats your pen drive, makes it bootable, and copies over all of the Windows 8 files.

5. Once the process is complete, the USB drive can be used to boot a PC and run the Windows 8 setup process.

That's all there is to it. You'll save yourself a blank DVD, the Windows 8 setup process should be quicker from flash-based media, and it's of course a must on netbooks or laptops lacking an optical drive.

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