If there are different software to copy the contents of your Windows installation CD on a USB key, we present here a simple method using the command diskpart and xcopy.

The trick has two stages. First, we must make the key bootable. We will be creating a partition on which a computer can boot. Then we will copy the contents of the Windows installation CD. If you do not need to install Windows by booting on the key but you just want to perform an installation from an existing version of Windows, you can skip to step 2.

1 / Making USB bootable

    * Start a command prompt: start then type cmd in the search field and validate.
    * Type diskpart then validate.
    * In the window of diskpart, type list volume to see how volume is your USB drive.
    * Type select volume X (with X the volume number of the USB key, be careful not to make mistakes or lose your data!)
    * Type clean
    * Type create partition primary
    * Tap Active
    * Type format fs = fat32 quick
    * Type assign

Rendre un disque USB bootable
Make a bootable USB drive - Click to enlarge image

2 / Copy the installation CD of Windows on the key

    * Insert the Windows installation CD in the CD drive of your computer and your key (4GB minimum) in a USB port.
    * If you have not already, start a command prompt: start then type cmd in the search field and validate.
    * Type xcopy d: \ f: \ / e / f (where D is the unit's CD player and GB USB key, change the units if needed) and validate. Note that it is possible to directly type this command in the search field (skipping the step above).

It'll just wait until the file copy finishes (which can be long ...).

Copie de Windows sur la clé USB
A copy of Windows on the USB key - Click image to enlarge

You can now use your USB key to install Windows on your PC without CD player.

Note that the installation via a USB is much faster than from the original CD:)

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