Loading Windows from a Thumb Drive
Much faster than using an optical drive!

October 2, 2011

I have recieved emails asking me how I did this on my Mini-itx computer for CNC. Loading from USB was necessary because this small platform case didn't allow for an optical drive.

I was trying to run Windows from a thumb drive, but had no luck with that. I know you can do it with Linux. The idea was to eliminate the conventional hard drive and use the thumb drive like a SSD (Solid State Drive). The motivation is cost. Thumb drives are coming down in price and capacities are going way up, but SSDs are still pretty pricey per gigabyte.

Anyway I Googled "load windows from a usb drive" and got this search:

I used this:

It involves formatting the thumb drive to be bootable and then copying the install disk to it.

Then your target computer must be able to boot from USB. Open setup and set the priority to boot from USB.

When it boots from the thumb drive, it's just like booting from an optical drive, except the install goes much faster.

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