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Create a Bootable USB Drive to Install Windows Vista

Create a Bootable Windows Vista USB Drive

Get your hands on a USB drive [1] that’s at least 3GB in size. You’ll also need a Windows Vista installation disk.

Format the USB Drive

  1. Insert the USB drive into your computer.
  2. Right-click Computer in the Start menu and then select Manage.
  3. Select Disk Management under Storage in the left column of the Computer Management window.


  4. Right-click the USB drive in the bottom center section of the Computer Management window and select Format. Warning: Make sure you select the right disk to format. Formatting a disk will erase all data on it.
  5. Change the file system to NTFS and then click OK to format the USB drive.


  6. Wait for the USB drive to be formatted. The formatting progress will be shown in the Computer Management window.

Set the USB Drive’s Volume to Active

  1. Open the command prompt with administrative privileges by going to Start, All Programs, Accessories, and the right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  2. Type diskpart in the command prompt and then press enter on your keyboard.


  3. Type list volume and the press enter.


  4. Find the USB drive in the list of volumes. In this example Volume 3 is the USB disk I’m using. Select the volume by typing select volume X (with X being the volume number of the appropriate USB drive) and then press enter.


  5. Set the volume as active by typing active and then press enter.


  6. Type exit and then press enter.

Create a Boot Sector on the USB Drive

  1. You’ll need a utility called bootsect.exe which can be found in any Windows Vista DVD in the boot folder. Copy bootsect.exe from a Windows Vista installation disk and past it in the C:\Windows\System32 directory in your computer.
  2. Once you copied bootsect.exe from a Vista installation disk to the System32 folder on your computer, type bootsect /nt60 X: (where X is the drive letter of the USB drive) and then press enter.


Copy Windows Vista Installation Files

  1. Insert a Windows Vista installation DVD.
  2. Open Computer from the Start Menu.
  3. Right-click the DVD drive the Vista install DVD is in and select Explore.
  4. Copy all of the files from the Vista installation DVD and past them in the USB drive.

Now you can install Windows Vista from a USB drive [1]!