How to Install Windows 8 from a USB Key

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moko

thanks for the info

also,i tried afew programs to install win8 on a usb and they failed....until I used this one,it works good

http://www.wintobootic.com/

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MAXIMUM-PC.com

Hi, nice tutorial, but most of the time there might be an error while performing these step that

********"SELECTED FILE IS NOT A VALID ISO FILE"**********

Before preparing to do above steps, see this video to fix it...

http://youtu.be/6kBcyS36EEs

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Laptop Adapters...

Windows 8 is really complex for me, and after I read your article, I know more about Windows 8. I will use it more better!
Thank you for your sharing!!!1

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ghantoby

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pastorbob

Well I have learned a lesson in the past month. Don't try new software, (especially OS upgrades), when I am extremely busy and pressed for time due to deadlines. I did that with Windows 8 and the preview release. I wound up giving up in frustration and removing it from the system upon which it was installed. But after a couple of exchanges in the comments sections with the proponents of Windows 8, the fact that I was much less busy, and the positive reviews from most of the press, I decided to go ahead and invest $40 in an upgrade version and take the plunge.

I created both a DVD and a USB key from the download, opting to install from the flash drive. I did an upgrade install and within an hour was navigating my way around Windows 8.

I was pleasantly surprised. Most of my major apps had been carried over from Win 7 and worked well, though there were a couple I had to reinstall. I also had to update my AMD display driver for my discrete card. The one installed by Windows 8 would not let me accommodate the overscan in my LCD TV display I use as my main monitor. Thus the 1920x1080 mode from HDMI was off screen all around the edges and I was missing icons and half of the taskbar. The new driver fixed it without any action on my part. One other glitch had to do with temp internet files. For some reason Windows 8 pointed to a nonexistent directory so whenever I opened any Office 2007 app I would get the error "unable to create a work file. Check the temp variable". I also could not download anything from IE 10 by clicking on download buttons. I went into regedit and updated the Cache variable to the correct folder and all is well.

So I am now a Windows 8 user and contrary to my previous posts find it to be a nice improvement. (I know davelray, you can say I told you so now). I have a three monitor setup that works as well as it ever did in Windows 7 with lots of enhancements. In my case the time to get everything back to 100% satisfactory working order was much less by doing the upgrade versus a clean install. But I would recommend doing a clean install if you don't have a ton of apps to reinstall. Also do the USB flash drive install. It was much faster than any previous install I have ever done of any version of Windows. And finally, be sure you aren't pressed for time.

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R_U_Q_R_U

Windows 8 64 install bit HANGS after first reboot.

Does anyone know a solution to this issue? There is a long thread here:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w8itproinstall/thread/f3846fb7-0db9-446d-bc8c-33d34ff47122

but there does not seem to be a solution. The common issue is the 64 bit installer hangs after the first reboot and the little circles keep spinning and spinning without any progress.

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davelray

First thing I would do is disconnect any unnecessary devices, such as printers, extra monitors, external drives etc. Computer, one monitor, one keyboard, one mouse.

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R_U_Q_R_U

Dave,

Been there, tried that. If you look at the thread I refer to in my original post you will see many people with custom builds have the same issue trying to install 64 bit Windows 8.

Or google "Computer hangs after first reboot while installing Windows 8" and you will see this is not an isolated issue.

They have all tried every voodoo suggestion and failed. There seems to be some bug in the 64 bit installer.

Hopefully MS will fix it.

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davelray

Next step, hop into BIOS and set everything back to defaults and check your boot order.

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pastorbob

Hey R_U_Q_R_U,

Not sure why you are hanging, but I don't believe it is a bug in the installer since I installed Windows 8 64 bit from a USB key. I was up and using the OS in less than a half hour.

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R_U_Q_R_U

PastorBob,

Right, I understand that some people, including me on a Dell laptop running Windows 7 64 bit had a painless install. In fact, I just copied the install DVD to my laptop's hard drive and ran it from there with NO problem.

But as you can see from the thread on MS Tech Net, there are MANY people with custom built desktops running X79 and other recent top end hardware that have the SAME issue. They have tried all variations of the suggestions listed here without success.

I am sorry to disagree, but there is a problem with the 64 bit installation scripts. It works for many but not for all.

This problem did not exist when doing a Windows 7 install. There is a problem...just because your machine and my laptop upgraded fine does not mean there is no problem...

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davelray

Let's shrink the pool down a bit. Take 100 different systems. Install 64 bit version of Windows on them, and we find that out of 100, 97 install just fine, the last three hang. That tells me it's not the software, it's the hardware that has an issue. At this point, I've installed Windows 8 Pro 64 bit on two brand name computers, three brand name laptops, and six custom rigs, four of which I built myself over the past two years. This is just among my friends and family mind you. The only problem I had with a hang, was with an Acer laptop running a 64 bit AMD cpu (specifically Acer Aspire 5253.) On that unit, I went and updated the BIOS to the latest version, and re tried the installation. Succeeded fine. That equals an issue outside of Microsoft's software. Now don't take this to mean I am saying there is no problem. All I'm saying is that if there is a problem, it may not be Microsoft's issue in the first place. Also, if the problem was as vast as you make it out to be, there'd be FAR more coverage of the issue than a dozen people chattering back and forth on the tech net forum. What these people need to do, is call Microsoft's installation support line and work directly with Microsoft, or in the case of 15 dollar upgrades through their manufacturer, contact their computer's manufacturer for support.

Edit:

Also, in looking up this issue so that I have information for myself in case I have this exact problem come up, I actually came across your support ticket to the Microsoft Community. Aren't search engines grand? What's funny is, instead of doing what was asked of you, you merely replied that many custom built system users are having the issue and Microsoft needs to fix it. Well, how do you expect ANYONE to fix your problem, when you give them little to no information, and when they ask specifics, you reply and I quote "It appears many of us with custom built machines are having this issue. The sad thing is MS wants us to jump through hoops and spend hours attempting to install their OS and in the end it always fails." I can guarantee you will not get any quick resolution to your problem if that is your attitude.

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pastorbob

Point taken. And I have an older Sandy Bridge (2500K) based custom build so that makes a big difference between installs. It'll be interesting to see what the final solution is.

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Mayhemm

Since Win8 has native USB3 support, would I see a speedier install if I used a USB3 key for the install image?

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davelray

In my experience, the bootable flash drive you create lacks USB3 support, so booting off a usb 3 flash drive can get a bit glitchy. I've played with it on a Lenovo and two HP models and they both gagged booting off the USB3 ports but worked perfectly booting off USB2 which is what leads me to beleive that while the OS itself supports USB3, the install does not.

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Mayhemm

Thanks. Good to know. My old 8GB OCZ Diesel will suffice then.

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HKUSPC40

Ok thank you for the article it was very informative but it still doesn't answer what I need to know. In plain English... Can I do a clean install with the $39.99 copy of Windows 8? Yes or no? To my knowledge you can't do that with a Windows 7 upgrade hence my request for clarity. There is this gray area about which copy to buy that is pissing me off. An upgrade is supposed to be an upgrade not a clean install... You get what I'm saying?

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anc51699

You should be able to. My understanding is that all retail and SBE versions and the $15 and $40 Windows 8 upgrades will ask you during setup what you would like to do: Carry over apps and files, Carry over files, or Clean Install.

It will not be like Vista and 7, where they prevent you from doing a clean install if you buy the upgrade version.

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davelray

Depends on what you mean by "clean install." If you mean use the option to wipe the system's drive that you are upgrading then install, yes you can do that. If you mean install onto a system that has a blanked out hard drive already, technically no, but if you use the double install method you can get around that.

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HKUSPC40

Sigh, I don't see why this is so convoluted... A clean install as far as what I know has always been the ability to install from a blanked out drive. The reason to buy any previous full versions of Windows was to be able to install an operating system on a custom built system. I want to be able to just jam a disk or flash drive into the computer, boot to it, and install the damn operating system. Why is this so convoluted with Windows 8?

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davelray

It's not convoluted. The upgrade edition is meant to upgrade a system running a previous version of Windows. If you just built a system, then you are supposed to install using a full retail version, or using an OEM/System Builder copy. Why is that so hard to understand?

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veryoldgamer

Yes you can do a clean install. You qualify for it through the Upgrade Assistant tool. Click on "Download Pro" at windows dot microsoft dot com/en-US/windows/buy. The Upgrade Assistant will be downloaded. Run it. Qualify for the $39.99 Windows Pro, pay for it, the download will commence after a few options and then do what you want with it.

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astrocramp

How about doing this from *.img? The images from the Microsoft are img's not iso.

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muzicman82

I have a Dell M6500 and tried this first. It kept giving me an error that it couldn't find or create a partition on any of the three hard drives in it. Finally, I burned a DVD and that worked perfectly.. Weird.. something about the BIOS I guess.

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davelray

Most likely you booted up using one of the USB 3.0 ports. While Windows 8 has built in support for USB 3 after fully installed, installing off a USB flash drive can have issues depending on the which controller the laptop uses.

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veryoldgamer

I wouldn't really give the public a How-to on booting from usb. The MaxPC reader knows how to manipulate the Bios to change boot order. Suggesting that the average user can safely access and change the bios is begging for trouble. I'd steer the public into using the Win7 USB/DVD Download Tool to create a bootable DVD. Many, if not most, PCs are factory set to look for a CD/DVD first in the boot order.

If you can write an "Access your Bios and adjust your boot order" tutorial that anyone's Granny can follow without making the pc into a doorstop, I would love to see it. Usually Granny doesn't know who made her PC, what OS she is running never mind 32 bit or 64 bit, nor what the hell a bios is or when it comes up. Weave that into your tutorial.

Thanks for the manual install walk-through. Interesting.

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davelray

I would venture to say most people that read Maximum PC would have little to no issue using USB boot. Grannies included.

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veryoldgamer

"I would venture to say most people that read Maximum PC would have little to no issue using USB boot."

As I said in the second sentence of my post.

I was trying to gently suggest to David Murphy that there was no value in the first part of his How-to. Surely the MaxPC target market knows how to install an OS from USB. The second part had value.

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TheMurph

No offense, but I think I -- and the editors -- are a bit more in touch with the Maximum PC "target market."

Anyway, creating a USB key isn't that hard.  But if you haven't done it before, or need a refresher, there it is.  There's an easy way and a hard way: Newbies can probably use the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool to great results, whereas more hardcore users (or those having trouble with said tool) can benefit from the more advanced instruction that follows.

Just because an article doesn't have value to you doesn't mean that it doesn't have value.  Just saying.

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davelray

I was just stepping up for the Grans that read MaxPC ;)

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gatorXXX

Winblows 8 sucks.

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srmak

I upgraded from Win 7 to Win 8 Pro via the download process. But I had it just go ahead and install Win 8 directly, without downloading/making an ISO. Now I'm wishing that I had made an ISO so that I could put it on a flash drive for safekeeping and for reinstalling Win 8 at a later date if the need arises.

So my question is, during the download and direct install process, did an ISO or something equivalent get placed on my hard drive that I can now use to create a Win 8 installation on a USB drive? I ran a file seaarch on my C: drive for all files named *.iso and it didn't find any.

Or do I have to go to the Microsoft website and buy another Win 8 upgrade, but this time choosing to make an ISO?

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AntonioGarrison

You could probably download the upgrade ISO from a torrent. Thus allowing you to have a copy of it for future use. Just be sure it is a legit ISO rather than an edited / cracked copy.

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srmak

Any idea where I could get a legitimate Win 8 Pro Upgrade from a torrent?

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Engelsstaub

Maybe try downloading/running the upgrade assistant again and see if it will give you the option of downloading the ISO.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/upgrade-to-windows-8

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srmak

Yeah, I tried that, but it requires you to submit your credit card info before it gives you the option of choosing to install immediately or download the ISO. I don't want to pay again if I don't have to.

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davelray

You should have received a confirmation email from Microsoft that has your purchase information and key in it. In that email is an order number. Go to https://www.mswos.com/ (there is a link in your email to this same site, and input the order # and the other information it asks for and it will give you your Windows Order Summary. At the bottom left of this summary is a link to download Windows 8.

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srmak

Dave,

Thanks much for this info! I'll try this later tonight when I get home. I think you just won a few "atta-boys" for the solution to my question.

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davelray

LOL no problem. I figured out how because I initially had created a USB install drive but then after loading up 8 I wanted to make a DVD as well.

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srmak

Dave,

Well, I followed your directions and they were spot on. I accessed my order status and clicked the link to download Win 8, but instead of downloading the ISO it instead downloaded the 5.2 MB Windows8-Setup.exe. So I ran that and it told me that Win8 could not be purchased online from the country/region I'm in and gave me no option for continuing. Huh? I'm in the U.S., same as when I bought the thing originally. Don't know what's up with that. But hey, what do you know - there was a link on my order status page to purchase a backup DVD for only $15. Hey, what a deal (major sarcasm). So I was a sucker and gave Micro$oft more money. Am I dumb, or what? (that's a rhetorical question - yeah, Micro$oft suckered me on this deal - I admit it).

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davelray

Oh yeah, forgot to include that you need to go to where you downloaded it, right click on it, then change the compatibility to something other than Windows 8. I just used Windows 7. That will get you past that region/country error.

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Engelsstaub

Shit, dude...I guess if I was in your situation I would fire off an email to MS's tech support. This is surely something that they would help you with. I mean, they know you paid for it so I would think they could at least link you to an ISO. I'd be more helpful but I didn't even buy mine yet so my knowledge is limited.

I'd try the tech support route before getting some ISO of unknown origin...bu that's me.

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CantankerousDave

I'm seriously regretting my decision back in 2008 to get the 32bit version of Vista (in addition to buying Vista in the first place). I bought the Win8 Pro upgrade via download because the price was right, but it says that the only way I can install the 64bit version is to order a physical disc and have it shipped to me... for an extra $30. No thanks.

The upgrade tool doesn't seem to actually download a separate .iso that's available for later tinkering - just installs the OS then and there, or makes a bootable USB or DVD. But since these boot media were made inside a 32bit OS, they're the 32bit versions. Will I just have to wait until I can borrow someone's install disk and use my own key? Are the validation keys good for both versions like they were with Windows 7?

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davelray

If you don't mind a bit of extra work until Microsoft puts in a fix, download and install the Windows 8 Enterprise evaluation 64 bit iso, install that, then use the link in your purchase email to redownload the windows-8setup.exe. Run that, and since you are now running a 64 bit OS it should download the 64 bit version. Worth a try at least. They really ought to put a check box or a drop down so you can choose which version you want to download.

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CantankerousDave

Dang, it didn't occur to me to try running the downloader/installer from the Release Candidate. Assuming I can find the .iso.

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davelray

Just make sure when you redownload the upgrade assistant, you set it's compatibility to Windows 7 before launching it, otherwise your likely to get a region/country error.

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Incognito

Not true. The Windows 8 Upgrade / Download tool lets you install the OS right then and there or it lets you create a bootable USB drive or create an ISO. I created an ISO and a USB boot drive.

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davelray

That wasn't his issue. His issue is, the Windows Upgrade Assistant checks the version of Windows you are using as well as if it is 32bit or 64bit. If you are using 32bit version of Windows, it will only download the 32bit Win8 Pro upgrade.

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Hg Dragon

I've used Novicorp's WinToFlash utility for the times when the Windows 7 tool doesn't like the .iso I'm trying to use for whatever reason.

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John Pombrio

Have done 4 USB key installs from various distros of Win8. They all are easy and QUICK!

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