One of the easiest ways to install Windows 8 is from a USB flash drive. Here’s the easiest way to create a bootable USB flash drive for Windows 8.
Update: Windows 8.1 has reached end of life. Here is what Microsoft says about it:
Windows 8.1 reached the end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and will reach end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the general availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 had until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 to remain supported.
One of the easiest ways to install Windows 8 is from a USB flash drive. It’s easier to carry a small thumb drive than mess around with a DVD. Here’s the easiest way to create a bootable USB flash drive for Windows 8.
Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool
Here is my favorite tool to create a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows. Don’t let its name fool you. This utility is free from Microsoft, and it lets you use any version of Windows – including Server operating systems and Linux distributions.
You can download it from the CodePlex site (which is also reaching the end of life) and installation is straightforward. Insert a flash drive that’s 4GB or larger into your computer, then launch the tool. Click Browse and select the Windows 8 ISO file. Here I have the Windows 8 Pro RTM ISO that’s located on my Windows Home Server.
Next, click USB Device.
Then select the USB flash drive you want to use.
Click Begin Copying and wait while the flash drive is formatted and the Windows 8 ISO is copied over to create your bootable USB flash drive.
When it’s done, you’ll see it’s been created successfully, and the progress bar is at 100%. That’s it. You can go ahead and close out of the utility.
If you open Computer you’ll see the following icon for the flash drive.
For best results, right-click the drive and select Eject.
Safely removing the drive will ensure it’s not corrupted and Windows 8 installs without a problem.
Now you can use your newly created Windows 8 flash drive to install it on your computer. This flash drive is a handy way to install the OS on a laptop or netbook that doesn’t have a DVD drive. In fact, I like to install Windows from a flash drive anyway because it’s faster and easier. No burning DVDs involved.