How to Make Your USB Stick Drive Bootable

Have you ever needed to make a bootable USB stick drive? We will actually be doing this as part of our live events in order to be able to upgrade a Windows XP machine to Windows 7. We will make the USB drive bootable and add resources from the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit such as Operation System, applications, drivers etc. The result will be a thumb/stick USB drive that we can not only wipe the Window XP, but will install Windows 7 and a suite of necessary applications and drivers AND, most importantly, still have all the user's data!!!!  

Register for an event at a city near you!!!!

In the meantime, here are the simple steps to take a blank USD thumb drive and prepare it:

  1. Open an elevated Command prompt.

  2. Type diskpart and enter.

    DiskPart.exe is a text-mode command interpreter that enables you to manage objects (disks, partitions, or volumes) by using scripts or direct input from a command prompt.

    Before you can use DiskPart.exe commands on a disk, partition, or volume, you must first list and then select the object to give it focus. When an object has focus, any DiskPart.exe commands that you type act on that object.

  3. Type List disk to find the disk number of the USB drive.

    Displays a list of disks and information about them, such as their size, amount of available free space, whether the disk is a basic or dynamic disk, and whether the disk uses the master boot record (MBR) or GUID partition table (GPT) partition style. The disk marked with an asterisk (*) has focus.

  4. Type Sel dis # (where # is the USB drive number)

    Selects the specified disk and shifts the focus to it. You only need to type the first three letters of the command so for select disk simply typing sel dis will work.

  5. Type CLEAN

    Specifies each and every byte\sector on the disk is set to zero. This will completely delete all data contained on the disk. On master boot record (MBR) disks, only the MBR partitioning information and hidden sector information are overwritten. On GUID partition table (GPT) disks, the GPT partitioning information, including the Protective MBR, is overwritten. If the ALL parameter is not used, the first 1MB and the last 1MB of the disk are zeroed. This erases any disk formatting that had been previously applied to the disk. The disk's state after cleaning the disk is 'UNINITIALIZED'.

  6. Type Cre par pri to create primary partition

    Create Partition Primary or cre par pri, creates a Primary Partition (there's a surprise J). Other options available are EFI, EXTENDED, LOGICAL, MSR.

  7. Type ACTIVE to mark partition as active

    ACTIVE writes a value to the disk which is read by the basic input/output system (BIOS) at boot. This value specifies that the partition is a valid system partition. A partition must be selected for this operation to succeed.

  8. Type FORMAT fs=ntfs quick

    Does a quick format on the drive, in this case with the NTFS file system.

  9. Type Assign

    Assigns a drive letter or mounted folder pathname to the volume with focus.