How to create a bootable USB flash drive containing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

How to create a bootable USB flash drive containing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Summary: Faster and more convenient than installing from a DVD.


Want to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on multiple systems but don't want to have to burn a DVD? Here's how you can create a bootable USB flash drive containing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview code.

See alsoWindows 8 Consumer Preview vs. Windows 7: Benchmarked

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Why create a bootable USB drive containing Windows 8 in the first place? Well, not only is installing from a USB flash drive more convenient, it's also a lot faster than installing the OS from a disc.

  1. First, you need a USB Flash drive (at least 4GB - any less and you can stop reading right here).
  2. You also need the Windows 8 Consumer Preview .ISO file - 64-bit download | 32-bit download
  3. You also need to download and install the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool available from Microsoft.
  4. OK, now you're ready to rock. Pop the USB flash drive into a spare USB port and fire up the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool and browse to the .ISO file you want to use, and then click Next.
  5. Click on USB device as the media type.
  6. From the next screen choose the correct USB flash drive from the drop-down box and then click Begin copying.
  7. The tool will now format the drive and then copy the Windows 8 installation files onto it. This will take some time, so be patient!
  8. Once the tool is done copying the data across, you're ready to use the USB flash drive to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview onto your hardware. When you're ready to install Windows 8, insert the USB flash drive into a free USB port, and then run Setup.exe from the root folder on the drive.

Note: You may need to change the boot order of drives in your PC's BIOS before you can install from your USB flash drive.

It's that simple! Enjoy!

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • You don't need to do it this way

    When you use the web downloader (it supports resuming downloads), and choose the option to "Install to another partition", it provides the USB thumbdrive and ISO creation tools.

    After downloading, a folder on the root of the drive called WindowsESD includes a dump of the conventional install files similar to what you would see on a Vista/7 DVD. The built-in USB and ISO tools just work off those files.

    A word of warning though: I tried this, then tried "Install later", and thought that I could just relaunch the program again and choose my installation options. When I relaunched the program, it had wiped that folder and started the download all over again from the start.
    • But why wouldn't you?

      The method Adrian describes is dirt simple to do (I've done it several times with Windows 7) and it gives you a permanent installer drive. Why not do it this way?
      • So is my method

        but my method supports download resume. Microsoft's hosting servers for the raw ISO's aren't supporting resume.

        Also, my method gives you the individual DVD files should you need to customize the file layout before creating your media. If you download the ISO, you need to have a separate ISO mounter or extraction program to get at the files.
    • Nice!

      I think this applies:
  • How about a "real" bootable USB, not just one to install W8 from but one

    that can be used to run W8 from without installing it. It'd be nice to walk up to any W7 box, plugin the USB, reboot to W8, have run everything off the USB with my settings sync'd from the cloud, work all day, shut down, remove the usb, and reboot to W7 and have it be identical to as it was before the USB was inserted. Come in tomorrow, stick the USB back in, reboot, pick up right where I left off, and use W8 all day again. Do a how to column on making that kind of bootable W8 usb :)
    Johnny Vegas
    • Check out Win8's "Windows to Go" feature.

      Run the OS from a USB, treating the usb stick as the hard drive. The physical computer can have an empty HD with no OS or different OS. Nice thing is if the USB is removed while in Win8, the Kernal parks and freezes for 60 seconds. Pop in before 60, restore session (even a video). After 60 sec, powers off. Target benefit is for corporate images as you described, sort of what Med-V was once visioned.
    • Pretty simple to do in Linux

      But like everything else with Windows, they make it more complicated than it needs to be
  • I thought this was going to explain how to install Win 8 onto a Flash drive

    Not just from a flash drive. It would be really handy for a beta product. I'd like to try it but I'm not going to go to the trouble of partitioning my boot drive and so on.
  • How to install latest Windows 8 version onto a Virtural drive

    Can anyone please tell me, step-by-step, how to install the latest Win8 version onto a Virtural drive? I don't want to install in onto a hard drive or onto a partition. Thanks in advance-

    Don Giovanni
    • How to install latest Windows 8 version onto a Virtural drive

      There you go, I wrote a blog post about that. You install it on a .VHD and then it will bool from it, in a native way. :)

  • How to create a bootable USB flash drive containing the Windows 8 Consumer

    For more information on installing windows 8 CP with bootable usb drive you can go through the below link and here you will get the all details:
  • error

    bro tell me that in which format must usb format .. ntfs or fat32?????
  • How to make a windows 8 CP bootable CD/DVD

    How do I make a bootable Windows 8 CP CD/DVD? All search queries I made regarding this topic turned out negative. Thanks.
  • Windows 8 bootable USB drive

    To make a Windows 8 Bootable USB drive to boot and test Win 8 on any system - aka Win8 To Go) Checkout Also has an article on how to install Win 8 onto your existing PC without needing to re-partition or affect your currently installed Windows OS (uses a VHD).
  • The newest price information for USB Flash Drive

    Nice to know you all!
    The price of flash memory updated very fast. For personal use, there is latest general quotation information from http://www.usbflashdrive
  • How to Guide with screenshots

    I've been searching for a way to do this for a while. Found this link extremely useful. Has a step by step guide and screenshots with arrows: