A USB Memory stick (or USB Hard drive) can be configured as bootable drive with the contents of an OS installation DVD.  This is useful where the target system does not have a DVD/CD drive which is often the case for an embedded system.  Slimline drive are cheap either.  This is also useful in that additional content can be added such as the board drivers’ installation CD.  Indeed the OS install contents can be customised if needed and driver updates can be added.

Another consideration is power.  Some embedded boards have on-board power regulation but limited output power.  I have used one system where the slimline DVD drive would intermittently make the system crash.  In this situation, a USB installer is a better alternative.

Creating a Bootable USB Drive

You can use Diskpart command line utility or Disk Manager.
We will use Diskpart for now.

Note that Windows doesn’t permit having more than one partition on a removable drive.  There are third party utilities for this

  • Using Diskpart
    • Run Win 7
    • Insert the USB drive
    • Run a command prompt( Run as administrator )
    • diskpart
      • Run diskpart utility
    • list disk
    • select disk n
      • Where n is the drive number of the USB drive
    • CLEAN (NOT clear as previous) 
    • create partition primary
    • select part 1
    • active
      • In Win 7 you can do this step without rebooting
    • format  fs=NTFS
      • OR format fs=fat32  
      • I use fat32
    • assign
    • exit
      • Exit diskpart
    • Insert the OS install DVD
      • Alternatively mount the OS ISO
    • D:
      • Where D is the DVD drive
    • cd Boot
    • bootsect /NT60 U:
      • Where U is the USB drive letter
      • Applies the master boot code that is compatible with BOOTMGR  for Win 7
    • Then copy the contents of the DVD drive to the USB drive
      • Make sure any system/hidden files are copied
      • I use Robocopy:
        • robocopy D:   U:  /MIR /R:0
          • Where D: is the DVD drive for the OS to be installed.
          • U: is the target memory stick
        • Xcopy can be quicker

NOTE: IMPORTANT  If you are creating an x86 (32 bit) install USB then bootsect.exe must be from an x86 install Win 7 DVD
viz.  x64 bootsect.exe from an x64 Win 7 DVD

Using this methodology a 32 bit or 64 bit USB IBW can be created for WES 7