Home > Windows 7 > Install Windows 7 on a USB Stick/Flash drive

Install Windows 7 on a USB Stick/Flash drive

Installing W7 on a virtual machine I’m sure is not as fun as having it installed on a physical machine. The problem is, I no longer have enough space to squeeze W7 into my laptop’s hard drive. So I thought of having it installed via an external USB hard drive (Maxtor 40GB) but doing so unfortunately is not possible; the W7 installation wizard tells me that it does not support such a hardware configuration. Frustrated, I searched the Internet to see if it was possible; there were instead lots of “How To’s” on installing W7 from a USB stick especially on Netbooks where presence of an optical drive is absent. Well, I eventually end up installing W7 on a 16GB Transcend USB flash drive instead. Now, I’ll be sharing how I did it. I will divided this tutorial into three phases; Phase I is about how to prepare your USB flash drive while Phase II tackles staging the virtual machine and installing W7 then Phase III walks you through tweaking the W7-VM to become W7-on-stick. Here’s a list on what you need to achieve our goal:

  1. A PC with a working USB 2.0 port/s.
  2. A 16GB USB stick/flash drive or larger (the actual install size is a little over 8GB).
  3. VMware Workstation 6.5.x
  4. A pre-installed Windows Vista as guest OS in VMware Workstation.
  5. A copy of the Windows 7 installation (DVD or ISO).
  6. An administrative user account.
  7. Tons of PATIENCE.

PHASE I – Preparing the USB Stick/Flash Drive

  1. Plug in the USB stick into your PC’s USB port.
  2. Fire up your VMware Workstation. If you don’t have it yet, download at least an evaluation version from VMware. You need to register before you can actually download the software. You’d probably ask why VMware Workstation and not Microsoft Virtual PC? Well, I tried this trick on VPC 2007 but it didn’t work but I guess with Hyper-V, it might. Sorry, I currently don’t have a 64 bit PC to install Hyper-V.
  3. Turn on your Vista guest OS.
    The Removable Devices message box would popup.
  4. Just click OK to close it and login to vista when the login screen is presented.
  5. VMware can load your USB stick within the guest OS. To do this, click the VM menu then hover your mouse pointer to Removable Devices and hover your mouse pointer to your USB stick from the list of devices then finally select Connect (disconnect from host) from the sub-sub menu. Click here to view image.
  6. Click OK when a message box will popup.
  7. You will know when the USB stick is loaded because Vista will present you the Autoplay dialog box. Just click Close.
  8. Click the Start menu then type comp in the Start Search field then click Computer Management when it gets listed.
  9. Click Continue when prompted by the UAC.
  10. In the Computer Management snap-in, click Disk Management.
    Notice that your USB stick is identified as Disk 1 with its corresponding drive letter assignment or higher if you have more than one currently plugged in. Take note of this. Click here to view image.
  11. Close Computer Management.
  12. Click Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> then right-click your mouse on Command Prrompt and select Runas Administrator from the context menu then deal with the UAC dialog box when it pops up.
    The Command Prompt should launch thereafter.
  13. It’s geek time folks so in the Command Prompt, type diskpart and hit the Enter then type list disk and hit Enter again.
    Notice that the USB stick will be listed as Disk 1 or higher.
  14. Now do the following commands exactly as sequenced:
    select disk 1 <<< selects the USB stick
    create partition primary
    select partition 1 <<< you can do list partition to check the partition number if you wish
    active <<< marks the new primary partition active
    format fs=ntfs override <<< tested your patience will be but patient you must…he he he
    After you exited diskpart, don’t close the Command Prompt. Just have it on the background.
    Remember that you have to hit Enter everytime you finished typing a command.
  15. Load the W7 install DVD into your PC’s optical drive or map the W7 ISO you downloaded from Microsoft to VMware Workstation.
    VM menu -> Removable Devices -> CD/DVD (IDE) -> Settings -> Use ISO image file -> Browse then locate the W7 ISO and click Open then OK.
    VM menu -> Removable Devices -> CD/DVD (IDE) -> Connect
  16. Close the Autoplay dialog when it pops up.
  17. Back in the Command Prompt, change drive to your CD/DVD drive then change directory to BOOT.
    type D: then hit Enter.
    – In drive D:, type cd boot then press Enter.
  18. Type bootsect /nt60 X: /force then hit Enter. This is going to make the USB stick compatible with BOOTMGR bootcode. X: is the drive letter assignment of the USB stick.

Now that the USB stick is ready, let’s dive into the next phase…

PHASE II – Setting up the W7 Virtual Machine and Installing W7

  1. If you have 2GB or more RAM on your PC, you don’t have to do this procedure; shutdown the Vista VM to give way to W7.
  2. Click the File menu -> New -> Virtual Machine.
  3. Tick Custom (advanced) then click Next when the New Virtual Machine Wizard pops up.
  4. Workstation 6.5 is pre-selected for Hardware Compatibility so just click Next.
    I haven’t tried this on an earlier version, sorry. It might work but you will have to try it yourself and perhaps share your experience.
  5. Tick the last option, I will install the operating system later then click Next.
  6. Choose Vista as guest OS from the list under Microsoft then click Next.
  7. Type Windows 7 in the Virtual machine name field then click Browse.
  8. In the Browse for Folder dialog, create a new folder on drive C: named Windows_7 and click OK then click Next.
  9. If you have a dual core CPU, choose Two for Number of processors then click Next. Choose One if using a single core CPU.
  10. The RAM is pre-set to 512MB so click Next. Otherwise, assign a larger RAM if you have the hardware for it.
  11. Tick Do not use Network connection then click Next.
  12. LSI logic is pre-selected for SCSI Adapter so click Next.
  13. Select the last option Use a physical disk (for advanced users) then click Next.
  14. In the Device list, choose PhysicalDrive1 then click Next. PhysicalDrive0 is used by the host OS. If you use this, you’ll mess up the host OS.
  15. Click Browse and locate your Windows 7 folder then click Save and click Next.
  16. Uncheck Power on this virtual machine after creation and click Finish.
  17. We’re not done yet. Under the Commands window, click Edit virtual machine settings.
  18. Select Hard Disk (SCSI) then click the Advanced button located in the lower right corner of the Virtual Machine Settings window.
    You will see something like this…

  19. Tick Independent. Persistent is pre-selected so click OK.
    It should look like this…
  20. Select CD/DVD (IDE) then choose how the optical drive is connected, Use physical drive or Use ISO image file (in my case, I used an ISO image).
  21. Remove both the Floppy drive, USB Controller, and Sound Card then click OK.
  22. Before you continue, make sure that the USB drive where you wanted to install W7 is attached to VMware Workstation. Otherwise, this trick ain’t gonna work. Click Power on this virtual machine to start installing W7. Just go through the installation routine as you would on a physical machine.
    REMEMBER to:
    Press F2 when you start the virtual machine to change the boot sequence to boot from the CD/DVDROM.
    Format the USB stick within the W7 installation.
    Be patient. The installation is not as fast as it is on real hard drive.

That’s it, you now installed W7 into your USB stick but we have to do something before we can shed tears of joy

PHASE III – Tweaking W7-VM to become W7-on-stick

After the installation, you will be logged into the Desktop for the first time. This will also take time so again be… Yep, that’s right.

    1. First, change the resolution to 800×600. Just right-click the Desktop then select Screen Resolution from the context menu.
      I don’t have a huge Desktop workspace thus the resolution change.
    2. Click Start (it’s the Windows orb) then type command in the Search programs and files text field.
    3. Right-click Command Prompt then select Run as Administrator from the context menu and click Yes when the UAC dialog pops up.
    4. In the Command Prompt, type cd \WINDOWS\inf and hit Enter. Add this tag:[*.AddService]
      StartType = 0
      LoadOrderGroup = boot bus extender

      On each of the files below:

You can use Notepad to edit these files. In Notepad, press CTRL+Endto navigate to the last portion of the file then insert or add the above-mentioned tag.

  • When you’re done, fire up the Registry Editor by typing regedit in the Search programs and files text field then hit Enter.
  • Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services.
  • On each of these services:
    – usbccgp
    – usbehci
    – usbhub
    – usbuhci
    – usbohci
    edit keys
    Start = 0
    Group = boot bus extender
    – USBSTOR (for this service, you create a new key string value named Group and do the same as the other services )
  • When you’re done, exit the Registry Editor.
  • Change your user picture unless you want to be represented as a flower.
  • Shutdown W7 then close VMware and shutdown your PC.
  • To be sure that you won’t mess up the host OS, either disable the physical disk/s in BIOS or remove your PC’s the hard drive. You don’t have to do this if you wish but I don’t take chances so I did it.
  • Turn on your PC then alter the BIOS settings to boot first on the USB drive.
  • Save the settings and exit the BIOS.

Momentarily, you will see the fruit of your labor coming to life.

Welcome to the future of USB computing…

Categories: Windows 7
  1. Unknown
    May 17, 2009 at 7:07 am

    this guide is what i\’ve spent forever looking for :Dhowever, you\’ve lost me hereOn each of these files add this tag: – usb.inf – usbport.inf – usbstor.inf [*.AddService] StartType = 0 LoadOrderGroup = boot bus extenderIn the Command Prompt, type cd ..\\\\inf and hit Enter then edit each of the above-mentioned files and add the needed tag as follows: c:\\Windows\\inf\\notepad usb.infIn Notepad, press CTRL+End to navigate to the last portion of the file then add the tag. and i can\’t boot from it outside the VM, and it\’s probably because i did this wrong.

  2. jeremy
    May 20, 2009 at 2:51 am

    From what I could gather on Phase III – Any part of those .inf files that had AddService in them, the StartType needed to be changed from 3 to 0 and LoadOrderGroup has to = boot bus extender. You can find those by searching for "AddService]" (minus quotes) in notepad. After following all these instructions, I still get a blue screen when trying to boot to the flash drive outside of VMWare. It\’s definitely happening when Windows resets/initializes the USB bus… you know, the part where the lights on the keyboard and mouse flash halfway into booting.

  3. ShafFS
    May 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I get the blue screen too…At one time I was not getting the blue screen, rather was getting asked to repair Windows 7 and then reboots, loads the drivers and then freezes on the black screen where you can only see the mouse cursor. It would not go any further although I left it for more than an hour at that stage. There is definitely another step or modification required in order to run it off a USB.

  4. Alex
    June 14, 2009 at 8:11 am

    First of all your guide which is followed is excellent……….Secondly, I was successfully able to install server 2003 on a seperate usb hdd by following your method. I haven\’t followed "PHASE III – Tweaking W7-VM to become W7-on-stick" yet because I don\’t want my system to boot from usb hard drive. What I did was I closed everything and safely removed the usb hard drive.after which i reconnected it and started vmware again and this time when I tried to start server 2003, it threw an error message:Operationon file "\\\\.\\PhysicalDrive1" failed.If the file resides on a remote file system, please make sure yournetwork connection and the server where this disk resides arefunctioning properly. If the file resides on removable media, reattachthe media.Choose Retry to attempt the operation again.Choose Abort to terminate this session.Choose Continue to forward the error to the guest operating system."this time when i connected the usb hard drive again my windows mounted the usb hdd and it showed the partitions i create during the installation of server 2003 inside vmware.how would i be able to run windows each time in vmware after connecting the usb hdd ?????thanks in advance.

  5. Sérgio
    July 7, 2009 at 12:15 am

    For Those who have the same problem as Alex, probably you have Vista as your operating system, if so please install VMware Workstation over XP not Vista. The procedures of solving that problem under Vista is too complicated, require external software and could damage your hard drive if you have litle experience.For those who have the blue screen on the start, do you have using the same computer where you installed the W7? If not please run the USB drive in the same pc to see if you were getting the same errors.Hope this could help you guys.

  6. A
    July 30, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    What do you mean? Are you telling us to:Change "4. A pre-installed Windows Vista as guest OS in VMware Workstation." to XP instead of Vista?or Change "6. Choose Vista as guest OS from the list under Microsoft then click Next." in Part II to XP instead of Vista?or Reinstall("downgrade" for some XD) our original Vista system to XP? I\’m a Vista user and like Alex, I get the same error…I mean at Part II. "Click Power on this virtual machine to start installing W7. Just go through the installation routine as you would on a physical machine."-etcetc, when I press esc and then choose to boot from CD/DVD driveI get the error:Operationon file "\\\\.\\PhysicalDrive1" failed.If the file resides on a remote file system, please make sure yournetwork connection and the server where this disk resides arefunctioning properly. If the file resides on removable media, reattachthe media.Choose Retry to attempt the operation again.Choose Abort to terminate this session.Choose Continue to forward the error to the guest operating system."Plus it should be said that I get an error where it says "\\\\.\\PhysicalDrive1 not found" when I have to choose "PhysicalDrive1" in Part II under 14. if I don\’t shut down Vista as told in PartII 1. (I got over 2gb mem).I hope it\’s easy fix-able so I can get started on the usb installation XD Hope it\’s not a too big a bother and I hope you can help.

  7. Unknown
    August 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    The phase III title confuses me. Is the final installation a virtual machine or a true Windows 7 installation?

  8. Tom
    November 1, 2009 at 4:14 am

    In PHASE II step 18. – There\’s no Hard Disk (SCSI), only IDE, thus no "Advanced" option (so I move on to step 20.)In PHASE II step 22. – I\’m getting "BOOTMGR is missing" when installation commences. ;(Else I followed everything to the letter. Redid the procedure twice with same outcome. Any ideas?Note: Using Vista x64 as guest OS in VMware as it\’s the only version of Vista I\’ve got. ( Main OS is Windows 7 x64 )

  9. Faelmar
    November 5, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Tom, For some reason this trick does not work on a Windows 7 host machine. I\’ve played around with using either a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 host OS (haven\’t tried it in Vista). The process went along flawlessly. I remember encountering an error when I attempted to install W7 directly on a USB drive in its beta stage. The error says W7 does not support being installed on an external storage media. You can however use PHASE I to prepare your USB drive (at least 4GB) then copy all the contents of your W7 DVD into the USB drive; you now have a W7 USB-based installer.No name (Aug 4)After doing PHASE III, I removed my laptop\’s hard disk. I plugged in my USB-installed W7 and turned on the laptop. After a few minutes, I now have W7 up and running.

    • August 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Yes, it does. I set up my flash drive on my Dell Studio Slim running Win7 Pro x64 and got it working on my ThinkPad R60 all with a Windows 7 host machine.

  10. Tom
    November 12, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Hi Faelmar,Making the USB bootable & placing the W7 image on it is no big deal. I have a USB stick merely for installation purposes.This trick you are kind enough to share however… how to get a bootable, fully functional W7 on a portable device is just what I\’m after. Since there is (to my knowledge) no "sata/satapower to USB" converter to be found anywhere, it\’s not easy to trick the installer.So far this method right here seems to be the only working one that is published (other methods require a virtual machine installed either on USB or on target system & only allows the USB to boot from within the host OS).Thanks for confirming that this doesn\’t work on a W7 machine though, that\’s what I suspected but wasn\’t sure.Will try this with XP then Vista. I\’ll let you know how it turns out.

  11. Tom
    November 15, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Ok, now I\’ve managed to install it!Unplugging my secondary HDD & using XP 32-bit as host & Vista as guest in VM did the trick. (the HDD is taged as SCSI now but there is still no advanced option in PHASE II step 18)Nevertheless… it\’s fully installed now.Next problem: When I boot from the USB & when the windows animated logo appears, a blue screen flashes by and the system reboots. It\’s exactly when C:\\Windows\\System32\\drivers\\AGP440.sys has finished loading. Tried all failsafe boot options without any results.:(

  12. Faelmar
    November 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Tom,I have added a snapshot of PHASE II step 18 and 19. Check it out.By the way, you were using VMware Workstation doing this trick right? I tried doing this in MS Virtual PC 2007 SP1 but to no avail.Anyway, hope this helps… c",)

  13. Tom
    November 17, 2009 at 4:53 am

    Yes Faelmar,VMware Workstation 7.0.0 build-203739 (Full)Looks just like your screenshots, only the "Advanced" button is not there when you highlight "Hard Disk (SCSI)".

  14. Faelmar
    November 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Tom,I\’m not sure if the version matters \’cause I still have version 6.5.3. I\’ll see if I could get the trick to work using version 7.0.0.

  15. Daniele
    December 11, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Hello. Great guide. I have the same problem as Tom though, I get a blue screen on load if I try to boot outside of vmware and deleting agp440 references doesn\’t help. I\’ve done everything as suggested in the guide.

  16. Daniele
    December 11, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Hey Tom, how did you know agp440 was the culprit? Boot logging doesn\’t seem to work in my case, I get no ntbtlog.txt file.

  17. Adriana
    December 12, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I cannot choose PhysicalDrive1 because its not in the list. I only see PhysicalDrive0 in the list when I create the new virtual machine. Do you know why? or how could I resolve this?Thank You

  18. Adriana
    December 12, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Nevermind I just had to restart vmware

  19. Adriana
    December 12, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Hi Tom,I got a succesful install on the USB drive but like you had the problem it doesn\’t load up it just loads up until it says starting windows and then it reboots. Then I did erase that agp440 from the registry and tryed it again and this time it said starting windows and then it loaded that windows logo for a little bit and it still rebooted (didn\’t work). I also erased the agp440 from the windows sys32 drivers folder and it still doesn\’t load windows.How did you see that the file agp440.sys was the error? How can I see what is my error, like to see the error log or something?Thank You

  20. Tom
    December 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Daniele & Adriana,I "knew" it was that driver only because the OS rebooted every time C:\\Windows\\System32\\drivers\\AGP440.sys finished loading, same place each and every time. Since most computers differ hardware wise it could be some other driver in your case. Try to take notice of which driver is the last to load before the reboot, then go back and boot the USB in WMware and delete that specific key from the registry. Sorry that\’s all I can help you with, it worked well in my case.To see loading order of the drivers boot the USB drive in failsafe mode (usually F8).Good luck.

  21. Youssef
    January 22, 2010 at 3:52 am

    @Sergio Narciso:I get a blue screen at startup when I try it on the laptop with Windows Vista already installed. However it boots fine when I try it on the computer where I installed it.

  22. Youssef
    January 22, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Oops, ignore my last post. I thought the other comments page was the newer one. I read this page now and I will try the AGP440.sys solution posted by Tom. I will get back to you 🙂

  23. Youssef
    January 22, 2010 at 4:17 am

    @TomI now know for sure it\’s the AGP440.sys file that\’s causing the BSOD as it\’s the last driver that is being loaded. Can you tell me what you did to remove it? ( I just noticed you didn\’t specifically say how to remove it from the registry)

  24. Unknown
    February 23, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Hey after installing I got the apg440.sys error, although I did manage to get it back on in VMWare to change it I realized that the disk is formatted to RAW???Umm not sure if it should be or not, please reply, thanks

  25. Unknown
    February 23, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Ran Chkdsk/r, proved windows 7 unbootable

  26. Unknown
    February 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Nevermind, Fix found, Please everybody:CLICK START -> SHUTDOWN in WINDOWS 7!!!Then you may power down VMWare, and only after that, remove your usb device and then shut down your pc.After that reinsert it if it isn\’t partitioned, if it is make sure you use a program or a separate copy of windows 7 to make the partition it is installed on Active!

  27. Bams2164
    May 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Has anyone been able to get this to work with Windows 7? I\’m getting the same BSOD 0x00..7B error and hangs on the agp440.sys driver when booting to command prompt only. Deleting agp440.sys from the registry as suggested didn\’t work.

  28. Anonymous
    February 2, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Thanks for much for the guide. This method works perfectly with Windows Server 2008 R2.

    One thing to note though. When moving between computers, Windows will detect tons of new devices and install the drivers for them. After installation you need to reboot and start up the OS from VMWare. Then shut it down and boot it from the external. Then chkdsk will run on boot and everything will be fine for all subsequent boots. If that is not done, then the OS will reboot after the loading bar shows up for a second or two.

  29. February 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Can’t you use an existing windows 7 installation, put it into a wim file, then use windows aik to make pe, then replace boot.wim with the wim file?

    • March 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      Could be possible George. Maybe you can try it and share your experience too… 🙂

  30. February 16, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I was able to complete steps 1 through 17 in phase one on Win 7 x64 using windows powershell. I haven’t looked for an equivalent command to step 18 yet. Hope this helps people plod along this path.

  31. Kamal
    February 17, 2011 at 1:59 am

    i coudn’t find the ADVANCE option on hard disk (SCSI)…..please help

    • March 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      I used VMware Workstation 6.5 at the time I wrote this blog. I haven’t tried doing this procedure with any other version. I went through the entire procedure over and over again before I posted this blog. Which version of VMware Workstation did you use to try the procedure?

  32. mary mims
    April 1, 2011 at 4:15 am

    I like to know how to take my work off a sandisk flash drive and put my work on a window vista computer.

  33. stuart
    April 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    firstly, i couldnt get this vm stuff to work so i used power iso, assuming it will still work. now i cant get passed the bootsect stuff in sect 1. im doing this to solve my ‘bootmgr is missing’ error on w7 on my other netbook and can’t fix it with a cd for obvious reasons. am i doing the right stuff? is there an easy solution through another OS? thanks

    • April 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm

      Stuart, Hi.

      Creating a Win 7 USB installer is easier. Just have your Win 7 DVD handy. You also need at least a 4GB USB pen drive.

      Preparing the USB pen drive

      1. Load your Win 7 install disc in the DVD drive and plug in your USB drive as well. By the way, it is important that you know the drive letter assignment of your DVD drive. In my case, it’s G:.

      2. Launch the Command Prompt as Administrator.

      3. In the Command Prompt, type diskpart and hit Enter (you hit Enter each time you execute a command in the Command Prompt so from this point onwards, you will hit Enter after you type a command).

      4. Type list disk. This will display all the disks in your system. It’ll look something like this:

      Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
      ——– ————- ——- ——- — —
      Disk 0 Online 232 GB 0 B
      Disk 1 Online 29 GB 0 B
      Disk 2 No Media 0 B 0 B

      5. In my case, the USB drive is Disk 1. Type the following commands one after each command has been completed. Follow this sequence:

      select disk 1 (substitute 1 with the actual disk number of your USB drive)
      create partition primary
      select partition 1
      format fs=ntfs override

      6. You should now be back at the Command Prompt. Change drive to your Win 7 DVD by typing g: (substitute g: with your actual DVD drive letter assignment).

      7. In your DVD drive, type cd boot.

      8. Type this bootsect.exe /nt60 g: /force. You will see something like this:
      Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.

      G: (\\?\Volume{3d397049-befc-11de-a59e-0014a48d3a76})

      Successfully updated NTFS filesystem bootcode.

      Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.

      Completing the USB installer

      1. After the USB drive has been prepared, simply launch Windows Explorer and copy all the contents of the Win 7 DVD to the USB drive.

      2. Plug the newly created USB drive to the netbook you need to fix and start the netbook. Make sure the netbook boot from the USB drive. The Win 7 installation should begin shortly.

      I think you can work your way fixing your netbook.

      Hope this helps.


      • Dizzario
        January 13, 2013 at 2:15 am

        Creating a bootable USB Windows 7 INSTALLER (I believe I used this for 8 Pro also) is easy as using Microsoft/DigitialRiver’s “Windows7-USB-DVD-tool.exe”.


        If link doesn’t work, just Google “”Windows7-USB-DVD-tool.exe”.

        This tool has been around since 2009, I’m suprised more people don’t know about it. It even works for me with slipstream and altered copies using RT Se7en Lite .

  34. Arefin
    May 29, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Dear All:

    I am using windows xp as host OS and vista as guest OS. When I am creating virtual machine for windows 7 as described in phase II, I dont get physical device 1, if I shutdown windows vista (guest OS). If I run the vista and follow the phase II, I can see the physical device 1. When I select the physical device 1, I get an error: “Failed to load partitions for device \\.\PhysicalDrive1:The system can not find the file specified”. Can anyone please tell, what wrong I did?


  35. Arefin
    May 30, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Dear All:

    Finally I could install Windows 7 Professional in mu USB pen drive. The system is very slow. Is there any way to make it a little faster?


  36. ossi1970
    June 17, 2011 at 5:45 am

    damn, I was looking for a simple way to install windows 7 on usb-stick, but after reading this extensiv tutorial I think I’d better give up on the idea 😦

    • June 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      Well, it could have been easier if Windows 7 supported being installed on an external USB storage media; hence this grueling workaround. wwycobmt suggests using a tool from this website http://www.prime-expert.com/flashboot is simpler. You might want to try it instead…

  37. wwycobmt
    June 28, 2011 at 4:47 am

    There’s useful tool for this task – FlashBoot.
    It automates everything.

    • June 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks for sharing. I may try it some time.

  38. Qlink
    July 4, 2011 at 3:21 am

    also got the AGP440.sys BSOD problem. followed the guide step by step and everything worked fine. i can boot up the w7 sys in vmware without any problems, but if i try to boot without vmware on real notebook i get the bsod exactly after loading the AGP440.sys.

    still no solution to this problem ?

    interesting thing is i tried to boot with the usb hdd on my girlfriends notebook and it worked without bsod ! then i rebooted and tried it again and now bsod appeared also here.

    so first boot worked on another notebook but then no further booting from usb hdd was possible …

    any help would be greatly appreciated.

  39. GL
    July 28, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Hi guys, I had the problem, that vmware told me, my USB-Stick is “inconsistent”…
    If you were experiencing the same problem try to halt installation at “Boot-Prompt” and CONNECT the USB to VM Ware!!!! The error is forwarded to the system with “continue” and OK!!!

  40. Koike
    August 5, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Hello, I have been trying to install this for some time now. I have Vista 32-bit as my host(main) operating system, and I am using Vista as my Guest OS.
    I continuously get this error during start of the WIndows 7 VM:

    Operation on file “\\.\PhysicalDrive4” failed.
    If the file resides on a remote file system, please make sure your network connection and the server where this disk resides are functioning properly. If the file resides on removable media, reattach the media.

    PhysicalDrive 4 is my USB stick.

    I would like to know how to fix this problem.
    Do I have to use XP as a host OS?

    Thank You Very Much

    • August 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      Steve’s suggested link better serves this purpose. Check it out. Thanks.

      January 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm



  41. August 8, 2011 at 6:45 am
  42. October 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    This is tricky as anything. Guides abound, but the comments below always tell tales of days wasted only to have a blue screen as a result.

    Someone has done this, and provided it (I chatted with him and he assured me that it requires knowledge and skills beyond what can be covered in a guide).

    It works like a charm on any hardware.
    You will be bearing the legal risk if you visit: http://7usb.tk

    • October 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      It was a couple of years back when I tried this trick. Today, however, this no longer becomes a daunting task. Using ImageX and the rest of the WAIK tools make this much easier.

      Thanks for dropping by… 🙂

  43. October 5, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    thanks ftanada, I’ll take your word for it, but there don’t seem to be any new guides coming up near the top of google searches – just the old ones, with endless vistas (sic) of blue screens. This was one of the most active ones where i read, then decided i wasn’t going to have any more success than the people posting here. When I found 7USB.tk and tried it on several machines i felt some of the guides (with a certain few members always stating confidently in authoritarian tones: “it can’t be done”) needed updating.

    What sets iMortaluz’s 7USB.tk apart is that it really works on any system. Maybe he used the method you describe? – he wasn’t letting on easily.

    I shall investigate, but for the meantime the main files directly on the stick are BCD, plop.iso, AutoNeoGrub, and the main 8Gb system image in vhd format, all which give clues as to it’s method.

    When you’re in the system it appears as if there are two USB devices mounted – the actual USB and the booted, mounted vhd which looks like a normal Windows install (though I’m led to believe it’s modified).

    Another clue is the fact that I’m able to copy plop.iso to my iMac desktop, then attach plop and the .vhd file to an existing VMWare Windows installation, and boot the stick as a virtual machine (if plop is not off the stick then it “loses” it sometime during boot).

    I read about a VirtualBox method somewhere, but apparently this 7USB required a lot more to make it universal (otherwise blue screen on hardware change).

    I’m currently researching making it Mac-bootable – making some headway with a dead-easy GRUB2 USB loader.. more here http://chromeos.hexxeh.net/wiki/doku.php?id=run_on_mac

  44. I don't want to tell
    October 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    It works great for me. One thing to remember is if new drivers are added, the USB services revert to Start=3 and Group=Base. I double check those values before I shutdown or reboot and so far, no issues. The only issue I have using a USB hard drive on a different machine is the licensing.

  45. October 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    ftanada: Can you please expand with some details on your ImageX solution?

    • October 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Using Windows 8 in this example, in the Command Prompt, issue this command:
      imagex /info x:\sources\install.wim <<< this is useful to check the windows images available in your install DVD. Substitute x with the actual drive letter of your USB drive and take note of how the images are listed. For instance, Windows 8 is listed as number 1. You then issue imagex /apply x:\sources\install.wim 1 x:. X again is the actual USB drive letter and 1 is the Windows image listed in the previous command.
      After the image has been successfully applied to the USB drive, issue
      bcdboot x:\windows /s x:

      You now can safely eject the USB drive and try it on another PC. This procedure works flawlessly on Windows 8 but still have problems with Windows 7. 😦

  46. October 18, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    hmm, interesting stuff..

    Imortaluz (creator of 7usb.tk) has managed to make it properly universal.
    It updates it’s drivers on new devices. Licensing has been removed completely.

    But failing getting a method from him, I’d be interested to check out the method here someday when I have time again.

  47. January 20, 2012 at 6:32 am


    jes here me too this takes a long time i have the same vrsion from Imortaluz (creator of 7usb.tk).
    its work fine and now i bulding it too i know how.

    for others there is a faster guide on google.

    thnax meby when i have ime i wil try this methode but for now im use a diferend way to do this lol

  48. skysand
    January 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm


    your stick is usb 2.0 right! how does it work?? very slow .. doesn’t it! now that usb 3.0 appeared i think it works better! but i don’t have usb 3.0 on my laptop … please email me at skysandmix@yahoo.com so we can talk about it!thanks

    January 25, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    /://PHYSICALDISK 1. failed, the file resides on a networrk issue… Under windows 7

    Hi Guys, I figured out, since windows 7 doesn’t allow RAW Disk access for all users, disable the USB drive from being accessed by windows….
    Here’s How…

    1. Start Menu
    2. CMD
    3. Run As Adminstrator

    Once the Command Prompt

    1. Diskpart
    2. list volume
    3. lookup the USB letter, You’ll see something like ” C, D, E, ….etc”
    4. If for example “E” is Your USB drive letter, type ” Select volume x ” where x is the number of volume that corresponds to that Volume letter on the very far left of the table shown.

    5. type: remove letter x
    6. Now your windows No longer reads the USB disk as a drive.
    7. It’s now accessible through VMware Worksation, 6.5.x

    Enjoy and have fun.

    You guys will run into a couple of issues that I found a fix for.

    1. After plugging the USB into a new computer, after everything has supposedly went over well, and after the driver installation has finished. Don’t Restart





  50. Fernando Paludo - Brasil
    February 27, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Hi. I have a netbook that has a problem in flash memory, but the cost to fix it it´s prohibitive, so, i´m trying to do it work by a pendrive. I stuck at point 18 of phase II (Select Hard Disk (SCSI) then click the Advanced button located in the lower right corner of the Virtual Machine Settings window). The case it´s my VMWare Workstation (version 7.1.3 build-324285) does not present me the ,Advanced> button at the hard disk configuration page as show at the image on this tutorial. I´ve searched at forums and faqs disponible at vmware´s website without sucess. all i found describes the same way this tutorial, but my vmware does not show me that! How can I proceed the configuration listed at item 19? Please, help me. I don´t wanto to loose my netbook. Thanks! (sorry about my bad english! 🙂

  51. gho
    February 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Is it possible to run an actual windows 7 operating system on a usb drive? I do not want to “install” it. I want the operating system to boot up on my flash drive and be a portable operating system.

  52. June 10, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Awesome. Some questions. How about Virtualbox? Are you tried with it? And if I have to encrypt the system, do you have any idea?

  53. Martijn
    June 19, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Before shutting down and removeing your usb drive you should make a lil shutdownscript.
    1.Open regedit and export the alterd keys to a folder on your C:.
    2.Open notepad and type
    regedit.exe /s C:\folder\usbstor.reg
    regedit.exe /s C:\folder\usbhub.reg

    save the file as shutdown.bat in the folder where u stored the exported reg files

    the /s string makes it silent so you won’t have to click on yes.

    3.Open gpedit.msc
    in windows settings ->scripts
    add schutdownscript C:\folder\shutdown.bat (no parameters)

    every time u shutdown windows wil automaticly restore the registry setting so you can always boot without out BSOD.

  54. Stefan
    August 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Unfortunately the instructions didn’t worked for me. But with the following instruction it worked perfectly fine. Maybe it helps someone else:


  55. October 16, 2012 at 3:54 am

    What’s up, just wanted to mention, I liked this post. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

  56. YEA
    October 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm


    • November 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

      This post is now outdated. Read comments by Simba; my reply to Neodinium is worth a try especially if you want to install Windows 8 instead which natively support the install procedure. But if you’re really into this, try the workaround suggested by Peter Winchester in previous comments.


  57. bancuri superbe
    December 17, 2012 at 8:06 am

    whoah this weblog is fantastic i like reading your articles.

    Keep up the great work! You realize, a lot of persons are
    looking around for this info, you could help them greatly.

  58. April 3, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    How do you mean “Fire up your VMware Workstation” ? Make a new virtual machine?

    • August 10, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Sorry, it’s another way of saying “start VMware Workstation” 🙂

  59. Mariam Manzo
    June 3, 2013 at 8:14 am

    You ought to be a part of the most useful websites on the net. I will highly recommend this site!

  60. fear
    July 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    when you chose to “format fs=ntfs override” you can just write “format QUICK fs=ntfs override” And it will really faster <.<"

    • August 10, 2013 at 11:57 am

      Thanks, I actually use the “QUICK” option if am in a hurry but just to make sure the format isn’t just a quick erase, I use format without it 🙂

  61. j h
    July 17, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I tried this, got to phase II step 22. I wasn’t seeing how to attach usb to VMware. googled it, tried to do it, but not available (grayed out). I clicked the VM then the vm menu then found the usb option and grayed out. I even added the usb controller back as I don’t see how you could install to a usb drive without the controller? still have same issue, rebooted host too no effect. I did notice though that there does seem to be some issues with win 7 host systems.
    so I may try and do on a virtual in vbox, or another system I have around. i’m also not doing “win7” i’m trying to do with server 2008 R2 SP1 which is basically windows 7 like 95% of same source, both run install with PE too.
    I googled to find out about the thing being grayed out. issue is out there many tried reloading VMware, but made no difference. most have no clue why this is happening. i’m using eval version just for this procedure, and evals I think get no support.
    any ideas. even made sure ejected from host OS

    • January 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Try Windows 8 Enterprise Windows-To-Go; it’s much easier. This post is outdated. Thanks for dropping by.

  62. Herb
    December 31, 2013 at 11:33 am

    using workstation 10 to do this,
    this is the error, i get , evene when i go to vm > power > power on to bios

    i am not sure, what else to do , i read the posts, above,
    just curios if any one has had issues with this..
    but … i am going to try the rmprebusb. that looks good.

    The physical disk is already in use

    Cannot open the disk ‘J:\windows_usb\Windows Vista x64 Edition.vmdk’ or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.

    Module DiskEarly power on failed.

    Failed to start the virtual machine.

    • January 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm


      Windows 8 Enterprise has native support for flash drive installation called Windows To Go. You might want to try it. This post is already outdated. Thank you for dropping by. 🙂

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