Prepare Windows 7 installation USB stick

I’ve got brand new Intel NUC Kit. With powerful processor, lots of RAM, M.2 disk and… absolutely no way to install Windows 7 except for using properly prepared USB stick. And so, for the first time in my life, I have a no-DVD computer and for the first time in past seven years (since I started using Windows 7) I was forced to figure out good, old Windows 7 USB installation way.

Stuff needed

You will need:

  1. PC running Windows XP/Vista/7/8
  2. USB drive with at least 8GB of free storage

The faster way

Much, much faster way, but does not work on all destinations (i.e. created USB does not boot or fails to install Windows):

  1. Get DVD Windows 7 ISO image. You don’t need to do anything with this file; just have it handy.
  2. Run Rufus. Set options (usually default ones are the best).
  3. Click small DVD icon and point Rufus to location of your Windows ISO image.
  4. Format drive.

The legacy way

Much, much slower way, but should work on all destinations:

  1. Get DVD Windows 7 ISO image.
  2. Unpack its contents using Total Commander, ISO Opener, WinRAR Unplugged etc.
  3. Run cmd as admin and then:

    list disk

  4. Carefully check number corresponding to your USB drive and then (this may take up to 2-3 hours!):

    select disk 1
    create partition primary
    select partition 1
    format fs=NTFS

  5. Run cmd as admin again and then (DOUBLE check USB drive letter!):

    bootsect /nt60 e:

  6. Copy DVD Windows 7 media content to USB root folder!


If you’re installing Windows 7 on Intel NUC Kit, as I did, you must remember about two things:

  1. Delete pre-created partition and format destination drive using installation program.
  2. Remove created stick once Windows 7 installer starts!

Windows 7 cannot be installed on NUC Kit’s pre-created partition due to unsupported file system version. Formatting drives solves problem.

Intel NUC Kit turned out to be special in one another way. It is the first computer, in which I was forced to remove USB stick once Windows 7 installer started. Because, it was not able to block another (and all consecutive) boot from it and Windows wasn’t able to finish installation.

On all other systems I could have my stick there as long as I wanted, because after initial run Windows 7 installer was able to change BIOS settings / block consecutive boot from USB and always boot from pre-prepared destination drive.


The faster way is figured by me. The legacy way is based on “How to make Windows 7 bootable install USB stick” article. Only I made it a way shorter, by removing unnecessary “blah, blah”.

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