Few sensations in this world are as unpleasant as having to format the computer and, by inattention, to realize that he does not have a CD/DVD drive to do the installation of Windows from such media. This type of headache began to arise, especially with the advent of netbooks and ultrabooks, that, to not be so heavy and thinner than the average, did away with the optical drive at the expense of more USB inputs.
If this is the case, has not cry, nor candle – the way is to prepare a usb flash drive or external HD to make the times of the CD/DVD in the Windows installation process on your machine. And it is exactly at this point that a question comes: how do I do that?
There are a thousand and one ways to transform your USB storage device in a device bootable able to perform the installation of Windows on your computer. And if you are not understanding anything we are talking about, we can summarize it and say what to do with a usb stick to be bootable means that he “takes control” of the computer before it start from your hard disk, preventing Windows (or another operating system) stored there to be booted. Thus, it avoids the system to boot and we can delete and re-install it without major problems.
Past this initial moment of despair, it is time to take the first step: get the ISO image of Windows you want to install.
We will not address the illegal means of obtaining such a file and we restrict only to the formal means for such a practice – which is different for almost every version of Windows. So here we go!
The official way to get an ISO file of Windows 7 pointed to by Microsoft is to use the Software page Recovery of the company. What the site does is quite simple: it requires that you provide your key to the activation of the system and validates automatically. If everything is OK, the site releases the download of the image for you.
How to recover activation key from Windows and other Microsoft products
With Windows 8 things are a little more simple, and you can download the ISO without problems from the page Creation Installation Media for Windows 8.1 from Microsoft. This is because the site identifies when the user is running this version of the system and release the download without major complications.
Now if you are using some other version of the system that is not the 8.x, the way is to insert an activation key for the download is released. If you do not have an activation code legalized, the way is to open the wallet and pay for a copy of the system.
The most democratic Windows of all time, according to Microsoft, has not yet been released, but it is possible to download the ISO of Windows 10 Technical Preview free of charge on the website of the company.
It’s worth remembering that this is still an unfinished version of the system and, therefore, may exhibit some instability or incompatibilities with the hardware of your machine. Make sure that you even want to replace your system for this version of Windows 10 before you proceed or do the installation in a virtual machine.
Windows 10: here’s how to install the version for testing
Preparing a pendrive bootable
Now that you have already made the download of the ISO of your Windows, it is time to prepare your usb flash drive or external HD so that it can be used in the installation of the system.
There are several tools that do the service in this case and one of the best is Rufus. You can download the program from the official website. When you finish the installation of Rufus, click with the right button on the application icon and select “Run as Administrator”. After that, put the usb stick in the computer and the following screen should appear for you.
Make sure you select the USB drive to the correct option in the “Device” and that it has a capacity of at least 4 GB. If you have questions about which unit is correct, the advice is to remove them all and leave connected only the one that will be used.
If you are using an external HD, it is quite likely that it will not automatically appear in the options of the devices. To resolve this problem, click on the small arrow next to the “formatting Options” and under “advanced Options”, check the option “Show drives, USB” – this should be enough to resolve the problem.
The other fields do not need adjustments and now just select the ISO image by clicking on the icon that has a CD/DVD next to the option “Create bootable disk”. Before proceeding to work, check the options “quick format”, “Create bootable disk” and “Create names extended and icons”.
Ready, after you perform these steps the screen of your Rufus should be more or less like this:
Finally, click “Start” to kick-start the entire process of creating a USB drive bootable. Depending on the capacity of the device, it may be that it takes several minutes.
During the process, note that the Rufus displays all the files that are being installed and downloaded to your usb stick or external HD so that it can be used to boot your computer.
After the completion of this process, your usb key/external HD is ready to be used in the installation of Windows. Now just restart your computer with it spiked up in the USB port of the computer to the Windows setup screen to appear for you.
Is not able to boot from the usb stick?
If this is happening, it is very likely that you will have to make an adjustment in the BIOS of your computer so that it prioritize booting from the usb stick and not the hard disk.
To do this it is necessary, before any thing, to access the BIOS of the motherboard of your computer. If you do not know how to do this, we have made a step-by-step that shows how to do it in almost any type of computer.
Which key should I press to access the BIOS on my computer?
After that, the BIOS screen should appear with a plethora of options. Search through the advanced features section of the BIOS and look for options like “First Boot Device” “Second Boot Device” and “Third Boot Device” and change placing first on your USB device, then the CD-ROM drive (if any) and, lastly, your hard disk.
After that, save the changes in BIOS and restart the computer again. Ready! With these changes, your computer should boot from the USB device that is spiked up in the USB port. Dai forward, just proceed with the formatting and installation of Windows.