Primarily, users install Microsoft Windows using optical media (CD/DVD). With the advent of net books and similar devices, installing Windows become a problem. Not unless you have an external optical drive for that matter.
But for those out there seeking for alternatives, rejoice! Windows set up can actually run on USB drives using special software called WinToFlash (from Novicorp). Of course you will need a computer system with CD/DVD drive to read the original Windows Installer CDs. If you have an .ISO format of the target Windows installer, you will not need the optical drive at all. You will also need a USB drive with ample amount of storage space, the Windows License Keys, and the WintoFlash program. After doing this, you can now forget about the discs and use the USB drive on any PC system – be it desktop, laptop, or net book.
1. First, you will need to extract the Windows Installer source files to a folder. If you are using an .ISO format, just extract it using any ISO reading software. Include any additional software packages to your liking – just put it in a sub folder. You could also save the license key here for easy access.
2. Then, open the WintoFlash program. It will prompt you with the license agreement, so select the appropriate answer. On the welcome screen, select the Windows Setup Transfer Wizard, and click next.
3. Another window will be presented, provide the Windows source path (the windows folder created earlier) and the USB Drive (the USB drive letter). Leave other settings as is.
4. Just follow the succeeding prompts. Make sure to not remove the USB drive until the program is finished copying the files. Exit the program once it is finished. You now have a working USB Windows Installer!
Notes on Usage:
You must boot from the USB drive to make this work. Just follow the prompts on the start up menu. Once on GUI mode, succeeding installs will be automated. It is very self explaining so there will be little or no effort on installing at all.
* Some older systems does not allow USB drive booting. Please check with the manufacturer.