If you don’t want the hassle of burning DVDs an carrying them around, it’s nice to have a bootable USB flash drive. Here’s how to create a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows 8.
Insert a USB thumb drive into your computer. The flash drive needs to be 4GB or larger. I’m using an 8GB drive.
Now, download and install the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. It’s a free utility from the Microsoft Store. Yes, it’s named Windows 7, but it works perfectly with Windows 8 too.
Launch the utility and browse to the location of the Windows 8 ISO. Click Next.
Next, click USB Device.
Then select the USB flash drive from the dropdown and click Begin Copying.
The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool will start by formatting the drive.
Then it copies the Windows 8 disc image and creates a bootable USB drive.
Success. You now have a Windows 8 bootable USB drive.
Close out of the utility and eject the flash drive. I recommend ejecting it properly from the UI, versus just pulling it out. Open Computer, right-click the flash drive and click Eject.
Ejecting it properly will ensure the drive doesn’t get corrupted.
Now, on the computer you want to install Windows 8 on, insert the bootable Windows 8 flash drive you just created.
Power on the PC and press the key to bring up Boot Options. Usually it’s ESC, F2 or F12 – but each system is different. When you turn the system on, the boot options are listed on the screen.
Alternately, you can go into the system’s BIOS and move the USB drive to the top of the boot sequence list.
The installation works just like using a DVD.
Windows 8 Developer Preview is available for anyone to download. Of course you can use this tool to create a bootable flash drive for Windows 7 too.