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in Software by Regular (3k points)
I have been running linux on my computer from a flash for a while now ever since my hard drive got fried, i want to shift to windows now, so is it possible to install windows 7 to a flash drive?
by new here (180 points)
Yes its possible but it depends what you want to use it for

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3 Answers

0 votes
by Expert (14.8k points)
Question why the heck would you want to run Windows from a flash? That would take a long time to boot and it will be slow. Yes it's possible depending on the flash and how you format it. Use a Linux live disk to format the USB in ntfs formart using the command mkfs.ntfs /drive/path
where drive path is the device path of the drive.
by new here (140 points)
hhmm..i wonder how this command would help to format and load win7  " mkfs.ntfs /drive/path"  ????  .Is it not mkfs.ntfs /dev/XX were XX can be the drive name eg hda1 hdb2 etc ?..Even so this corrected command "sudo mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdb1" will take you a long time to finish since you will do a full format .(note in linux usually "sdxx" will refer to removable media and "hdxx" refers to fixed media)
so the best is to do a quick one as follows  "sudo mkfs.ntfs -f /dev/sdb1"
But still this wont help to load win 7..Then what?
by Expert (14.8k points)
perhaps I should have mentioned /drive/path/ is not an actual path. Different systems use different naming schemes for example your assumption about non removable media being named /dev/hdXX would be wrong when dealing with the Debian family where the naming scheme /dev/sdxx/ is used hence why I wanted to avoid it. The truth though is this guy should just buy a hard drive! I know these Chinese shops which sell 80 GB laptop hard drives for $15 in town which is probably way less than he spend on his fancy flash disk! Putting Windows on a USB stick is uncoventional at best and can be closer to being unwise (st***d).
by new here (140 points)
Your point is actually true about the new linux drive naming scheme. hdxx is older and sdxx is newer..Thx for the addition..also the guy could just buy a cheap fixed hdd..But let him learn something in the meantime.He could use the bootable flash for other things later when he gets a cheap hdd..Running windows on flash may be unconventional but can not be related to being st***d.(im assuming the asterisks will complete the word stupid).and that not really cool to go that far..
0 votes
by new here (140 points)
Hie.yes it is possible to install windows 7 on a usb flash.follow the following link http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows-7-to-usb-external-hard-drive-must-read/    
The boot time is surprisingly fast ,i have tried it myself..The major drawback is that the file WAIK is quite big about 1.6gb so downloading it was a pain on slow net connection.
Another option is to make a windows live boot environment.but for that u have to search on google..Windows live is a better option if u can find the time to make it.Also a live boot environment is easily portable on many different machines.(quite handy for mobile computer diagnostics since it can boot anywhere  ''''mostly'''.)good luck..
0 votes
by Regular (2.1k points)
The system sees the USB drive as just another drive in the system. However, your system MUST be able to boot from USB devices. If you cannot boot from a USB device, then no, you cannot run Windows from a flash drive.
http://www.intowindows.com/install-windows-7-on-usb/
What you need:
– Windows 7 DVD install disc or ISO image
– USB Drive (4GB+ and as fast as you can get)
– Running Windows Operating system
– Working set of hands and eyes
– A few minutes of your life
Before going any further, make sure you have removed any important files on your drive to a safe location, or backup them in advance, you can use the free backup software (http://www.todo-backup.com/products/home/free-backup-software.htm).
what we are about to do next is to erase the entire contents of the drive.
Insert your DVD of Windows 7 into the computer, but don’t start the normal install process.
Open your ‘My Computer’ and make a note of the drive numbers of both the USB drive and the DVD drive with Windows 7 files on it.

As you can see from the image above, the DVD drive is drive has letter D assigned and the USB drive is E.
Open the command prompt with admin rights. Type cmd in Start menu search box and hit Shift+Ctrl+Enter.
To keep things really easy, if you see text in upper case, it means this is what you type into the command prompt (you don’t need to type in upper case).
Next type
DISKPART
this loads the diskpart application we need to proceed
Then type
LIST DISK
the image above shows our 32 GB USB drive is listed as DISK 2
so you have to type
SELECT DISK 2 (your USB Drive may have a different number, don’t follow exactly this text it depends on your usb drive)
You will get a successful response “Disk 2 is now the selected disk”
Clean Cmd USB Drive
Next we want to clean the USB drive
Type:
CLEAN
you will get a successful response ‘DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk”.

After the drive is cleaned follow the list in the image above (detailed below in list order) – you can also note the successful text responses from the OS as you enter each command.
SELECT DISK 2 (or what number your USB drive has)
CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
SELECT PARTITION 1
ACTIVE
FORMAT FS=NTFS
Formatting can take a little time depending on the size of the drive, our 32GB unit took about 10 minutes to format - you will see a percentage readout until it is finished.
Bootable USB Final Cmd Prompt
Next type:
ASSIGN
EXIT (DISK PART will exit)
Type D: CD BOOT (substitute the “D” if necessary with the letter of your Windows 7 DVD drive)
then key
CD BOOT
then
BOOTSECT.EXE /NT60 E: (substitute the “E” if necessary with the letter of your now ready USB drive) – we are telling the system to create a boot sector file on the USB drive.
Now you can exit the command prompt and copy all the files on the Windows 7 DVD to the USB drive.
Once this step is finished you’ll be ready to boot from this drive, all you need to do is configure your motherboard bios setup to boot first from USB rather than hard drive or optical drive. If you don’t know how to do this, refer to your specific motherboard manual or search the internet.
Now, Windows 7 installation should take between 40% and 60% of the time it does from the DVD disc.
by Regular (3k points)
Thank you very much for that detailed explanation, will surely try it out..had given up
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