Your Solutions – Install Vista in a Flash

James ? (Mississauga, Ontario)

Install Vista from USB Flash Drive

A few weeks ago my brother was in town and we were at a Toronto Raptors game and someone came up and introduced themselves, says they saw one of our sessions and enjoyed it.  I always like meeting people and things like that are fun.  Today I was at the grocery store buying some things and something similar happened.  I am standing in the checkout line and a young guy comes up and asks if I am Rodney from Microsoft.  I said yes and he mentions he recognizes the shoes 🙂  We get to talking and he tells me about how he is deploying Vista in his test lab from a USB drive.

Now a few weeks ago at TechReady, our internal technical training event, we saw a demo by a couple of Technical Sales Professionals from Microsoft Peru.  In their demo they did an install of Vista from a USB Flash drive.  I was amazed at how fast it installed and had planned on playing with it at home but you know how that goes sometimes.  Speaking with James, he told me how easy it was and I took some notes in OneNote Mobile on my Moto Q.

It goes like this, buy the fastest 4GB USB flash drive you can get your mitts on, work a little magic on it, copy the contents of the Vista DVD and ta-da, your done!  So what is "a little magic"? Open up a command prompt and run the DiskPart command and then

a) list disk (this lists the disk numbers)

b) select disk x (make sure you choose the right disk!)

c) clean

d) create partition primary

e) select partition 1

f) active

g) format fs=fat32

h) assign

i) exit

All that is left is to copy the contents from the install DVD to the flash drive and then boot from USB and 5-10 minutes later (depending on hardware) you have a completed installation!  James even mentioned how he is now using the Automated Installation Kit to customize the install and is planning to add some common applications as well. 

I paid for my groceries and left and it hit me when I got out to my car, we didn't swap contact info!  James, if you read this get in contact with me!  I want to give you full credit for telling me your story!

Comments (4)

  1. wallacefe says:

    But a confirmation, the copy of the content of the DVD of the WindowsVista must after be made the use of the correct DiskPart?

    Thanks a lot,


  2. Rodney Buike says:

    Correct Wallace!  Prepare the flash drive then copy the contents!

    Rodney Buike

    IT Pro Advisor

  3. Kevin says:

    I don’t understand why we never learn how to do the “fun stuff” directly from Microsoft, rather, from dedicated uber-geeks that are obviously talented enough to work for Microsoft.  

    I tried following someone’s posting on how to install XP from flash drive, and it never worked for me.  It involved injecting files from a Windows Server 2003 service pack into the XP files, and using a third-party app called Bart’s PE.  It’s nice to see Microsoft made it possible this time with just a few commands.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am sure you have all heard of the Asus Eee PC series of netbooks.  They seem to be the hot gadget

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