With the exciting release of Windows 8 Developer Preview at the Microsoft Build Conference yesterday many developers are ready to start playing with the new Windows. But what if the PC you wish to install Windows 8 on doesn’t have a DVD-ROM drive as is the case with many slate PCs and UMPCs. We have a solution for you, a simple step-by-step tutorial for making a bootable Windows 8 USB flash drive.

DISCLAIMER – This process has only been test using a Windows 7 PC, proceed at your own risk.

Step 1 –  Format the USB Drive

This step is simple just make sure you choose NTFS in the File System drop down.

Step 2 – Set USB Drive’s main partition to Active

For this step you have to open a command prompt, do this by finding Command Prompt in your Start menu and Right-clicking it and selecting “Run as administrator

Type the following two commands:

list disk

Make a note of the disk number of your USB drive and run the following:

select disk X (Where X is the number of you USB drive)
list partition

Again make a note of the partition number then type the following:

select partition Y (Where Y is the partition number)

This will set the partition to active and you can exit diskpart by typing “exit”.

Step 3 – Creating the bootable USB flash drive

You will need to download the Windows 8 ISO of your choosing, to do so go to dev.windows.com and go to the Downloads section.

You will also need an archiving tool, I am using 7zip but you could also use WinRar.

Right-click on the Windows 8 ISO file and Extract files. Remember the folder you extracted the files to.

In you command prompt from earlier navigate to the directory you extract the Windows 8 ISO to.
Once the run the following commands:

cd boot
bootsect /nt60 X: (Where X is the drive letter of you USB drive)

Now you can use Explorer to copy all the files from your Windows 8 directory to the root of your USB flash drive.

You should be able to boot to the USB drive now and install Windows 8, you may have to alter your PC’s BIOS settings to enable booting to USB.

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