Create A Bootable Windows 7 USB Drive From Linux (Tested On Ubuntu 10.10)

I recently had to create a Windows 7 bootable USB flash drive for my friend because he doesn't have a DVD-ROM, and I had to do it from Ubuntu as I don't have Windows (neither at desktop or at laptop).

What I ended up on using is the good old (just a figure of speech) UNetbootin which is available for both Windows and Linux. It's in the Ubuntu repositories so to install it, search for it in the Ubuntu Software Center. For Windows and other Linux distributions, get it from HERE.

At first I didn't think it'll work since you can't choose Windows from the UNetbooting options, but it actually works and I've successfully installed Windows 7 on my friend's computer using UNetbootin. Here's what I did:

Firstly, make sure you have a Windows 7 .ISO file (you can create it from the DVD) and a 4GB USB flash drive (or larger).

1. Install Gparted and format the USB drive to NTFS. In Ubuntu, use the following command to install Gparted:

sudo apt-get install gparted

Gparted screenshot

To format the USB drive as NTFS, open Gparted via the System > Administration > GParted Partition Editor. Then select your USB drive from the top right drop-down. If you only have one hard disk, your USB drive should be "sdb". Now right click your USB drive in GParted and select "Unmount" and you'll then be able to select Partition > Format > ntfs. The drive will be formatted to NTFS in a few seconds.

I'm not sure if UNetbootin will mark the drive as bootable as my USB drive already had the "boot" flag enabled from Gparted, so you may want to enable it too: right click the USB drive and select "Manage flags", then check the "boot" flag.

Then you'll have to mount the USB drive back. You can do it from the command line or Disk Utility (System > Administration > Disk Utility) but to keep things simple, you can just unplug the USB flash drive and plug it back in to the computer.

2. Open UNetbootin, select "Diskimage" and then browse for your Windows 7 ISO file.

Unetbootin screenshot

Now at the bottom, check the "Show all Drives" box and then select your USB drive. For me, that's "/dev/sdb1" but it might be different for you (you should know this from Gparted which you've used to format the USB drive under step 1. Important: if your USB drive is "dev/sdb", then you'll have to select "/dev/sdb1" in UNetbootin!). Do not select / check anything else!

Now simply click the "OK" button and wait for the files to be copied to the USB drive.

Posted via email from BitHacker's Posterous

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