Like many folks, after watching the BUILD keynote this morning, I couldn't wait to get home and install Windows 8 Developer Preview on my laptop. The instructions for installing Windows 8 are simple enough. The only fly in the ointment is that installing Windows 8 requires a DVD to create an install package.
Of course, since I haven't used an optical drive in years, I didn't have a blank DVD and I didn't want to wait until the morning to buy some. But I did have a USB flash drive and so I decided to create a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows 8.
To create a bootable USB flash drive the easy way, you can download the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool from the Microsoft Store. If you feel adventurous and are comfortable with command line tools, below are the step-by-step instructions for installing Windows 8 Developer Preview from a USB flash drive. But be warned, if you are not comfortable with command line tools, downloading the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool is a much better option and will save you the effort of reading the remainder of this blog.
At a high level, the steps are:
The first step is to mount the ISO image on your computer. Since Windows 7 doesn’t have the capability to mount an ISO image, you’ll have to use a 3rd party tool.
To check that the ISO image mounted successfully, you should be able to browse the Windows 8 files, as shown below.
In case you’re wondering how big of a USB flash drive you need, an 8GB drive is perfect since it can accommodate any of the three available ISO images. Here are the steps to format a USB flash drive.
At this point, your USB flash drive should be showing up in Windows Explorer and have a drive letter assigned to it, e.g. F:\.
We just need to make the USB flash drive bootable before copying the files. To do this, you can use the Boot Sector Registration Tool (bootsect.exe) which is located in the boot folder of the Windows 8 ISO image.
You should see the following confirmation after bootsec.exe completes:
From a command line, use XCOPY to copy the Windows 8 files to the USB flash drive . In the example below, I:\ is the drive where the ISO image is mounted. F:\ is the USB flash drive.
XCOPY I:\*.* F:\ /E /F /H
Finally, follow these instructions to install Windows 8 on your computer.
Here is a screen shot from the boot manager on my computer showing the USB flash drive as an option.
I installed Windows 8 Developer Preview on a vanilla Dell Inspiron 15R laptop which unfortunately doesn't have touch (or any other sensors for that matter).
The personalization steps in Windows 8 Developer Preview are really quick.
And here is the final screenshot of my shiny new Windows 8 installation!