Home > Install, Setup, Setup, Upgrade, Windows Server 2012 > Create a bootable Windows 8.1 installation USB flash drive

Create a bootable Windows 8.1 installation USB flash drive


win8.1logo

Hi Windows Lovers!?

(Looking to install Windows Server? The same steps apply, but for a server specific guide, go here Create a bootable Windows Server 2012 R2 installation USB flash drive)

This time I’ll help you find a way to install Windows 8.1 quick and easy, from a simple USB flash drive. It’s a piece of cake really, but a few things you need to know about.
I’ll list them here and if you want, you can follow the step by step guide below.

Quicksteps:

1. Get a USB Flash drive formatted with FAT32, it has to be AT LEAST 4GB!
2. Download and install the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool from Microsoft Store HERE or Codeplex HERE  (It is an official Microsoft tool, totally wierdly named from the Windows 7 release but still very much valid!)
3. Download or locate a ‘Windows 8.1’ .iso file and store it locally on your harddrive.
4. Start the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool (from startbutton or ‘windows 8 style startmenu’?)
5. Complete the steps 1-4
6. Insert the USB flash drive into the powered off PC to install, Power on and boot from USB drive (F9 at HP logo on HP Machines).
7. Install Windows as you would normally.
8. Done!

This guide in its entirety works just as well if you replace the Windows 8.1 .iso file with Windows 7, Windows Server 2012 or plain Windows 8 (Windows Server 2008 R2 not verified but willmost likely also work)

Step by step:

1. USB Flash Drive

Prepare a USB flash drive for installation, is has to be at least 4 GB in size and it has to be formatted with FAT32. It does not have to be erased, the tool will do that for you if needed.

USB

Before

2. Download and install the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool from Microsoft Store or Codeplex. The Links are as follows:

http://images2.store.microsoft.com/prod/clustera/framework/w7udt/1.0/en-us/Windows7-USB-DVD-tool.exe
or
http://wudt.codeplex.com

Run the .exe file, you will have to be a local administrator on your machine for it to install properly.

1

Click Next

2

Click Install

3

Click Finish

3. Locate a Windows 8.1 .iso file. This file should be placed on a local harddrive. It does not matter where you put it, as long as it is on a local HD and it is accessable to you when running the tool, meaning that you have access to where the file is stored in the filesystem.

4. After the installation of the tool has completed, you will suddenly notice this tile:

MetroIcon

You can also just use the search function, in ‘metro mode’ simply type Windows 7 and you will see it and its uninstall app.
Start the tool
Click Ok at the User Account Control popup dialog
The first screen should now look like this:

ChooseISO

5. Hit the Browse button to locate your Windows 8.1 installation iso file.

ChooseISO2

In my test, I’m using an .iso file downloaded from TechNet Subscriber downloads (soon to be no more)
It does not have to be from TechNet, it can be MSDN or Volume Licensing or really any form of Windows 8.1 installation iso.

Click ‘Next’

Step2ChooseMedia

Click on ‘USB device’
If you see the window below, that means that the USB drive is either not plugged in properly, or it has the wrong formatting or insufficient storage or similar. Make sure that you have a USB flash drive that meets: 4GB minimum+FAT32.

Step2ChooseMediaNoUSB

Insert a USB drive that meets the requirements and press the refresh button
Now, click on the ‘Begin copying’ button.

If the USB drive was ok, the copying will begin, but if not, if it still had files still on it, you will see this dialog:

Erase1

Click Erase to continue

Erase2

Click Yes and the formatting and copying process will begin.

Step4

Step42

Let it do its thing until it reaches 100%

When it has finished formatting and copying files, you are done.

USB

After!

6. Next step, is to insert the USB drive into the PC you want to install Windows 8.1 on, Power it off completely and Power on again.
Use BIOS settings to select ‘boot from USB’ or like on a HP machine, hit F9 at tghe HP logo screen to boot directly from USB.

7. Let the Installation begin! The Windows installation is pretty much standard. A Clean install is described here.  The setup of Windows 8, which is the same, is described here

8. Done!

References:

Thanks to:

As Always, Mattias Gutke! At CAG for some strange reason….Always a friend, a great help and a second opinion!

GetItNow
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Enjoy!

Regards

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  1. December 25, 2013 at 15:08

    this is not working as of Windows 8.1 Dreamspark edition. (Windows 8 Pro.)

    • January 2, 2014 at 18:07

      Thanks for the info, what is it that does not work? I have not tested this scenario, or so it seems…
      // Thomas

  2. January 9, 2014 at 19:04

    I have a scan disk cruzer blade. and i am on win 8 toshiba laptop. I cant get the usb tool to recognize my pen drive. 😦

    • January 9, 2014 at 20:27

      Hi.
      Did you format it with FAT 32 and its at least 4GB?
      If you have and it is, and it still wont work…try a different USB drive? Or on a different PC…
      Regards
      // Thomas

  3. Usman butt
    January 19, 2014 at 08:18

    Thanks for your kind cooperation ! but could you tell me how to download that tool.

  4. Anoop
    January 20, 2014 at 09:00

    it shows disk error please restart while booting…. what is the trouble?

    • January 20, 2014 at 09:10

      Hi.
      Could be anything really, make sure that the disks are found and that they do not need any special drivers.
      Check if the disks are visible in system settings during bootup.
      Regards
      // Thomas

  5. Beny
    January 21, 2014 at 06:57

    thank you very much 🙂

  6. asad umar
    February 16, 2014 at 16:44

    I made ISO file from window disk but it says that ” The selected file is not a valid ISO file, please select a valid ISO file and try again

    • February 16, 2014 at 21:05

      Ah, not sure how the ISO must be built, the Technet or MSDN and volume licensing iso’s work.
      Regards
      // Thomas

  7. amal
    August 30, 2014 at 17:35

    hi!
    I want to install windows 8.1 or 8 on USB flash drive and boot it from there without install it into my computer its like I use it when I need it

    • August 30, 2014 at 18:21

      Hi Amal.
      Look for ‘Windows to go’, I think that is what youre looking for.

      Regards
      // Thomas

  1. October 18, 2013 at 09:22

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