How do I install Windows 7 without a DVD drive?

I recently bought a computer without a DVD drive and I’m looking to install Windows 7 on it. Can I do that over USB?

This question came from a friend who had bought an HP Proliant Microserver just like mine. It comes with no extras, no CD/DVD drive, no operating system; so it’s up to you to get it configured and running. The question came at just the right time as I had found out how to do this only recently.

You’ll need a computer with a DVD drive to prepare your USB stick. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Put your Windows 7 disk in the drive. Let’s say this is D:
  2. Plug your USB drive in. Let’s say this is E:
  3. Format your USB drive to make sure it’s empty. Make sure it’s a FAT32 drive
  4. Open a DOS prompt and run the following

d:\boot\bootsect.exe /NT60 e:

xcopy d:\*.* /s /e /f e:\

This will create a bootable USB drive with Windows 7 on it. You’ll need to make sure that your target computer is configured to boot from USB for this to work. Once you have your USB stick, you can install it on your mum’s PC, your Chicago realtor, just about anyone you want. Just make sure you have a valid license key for it.

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