How to Create a Windows 8.1 USB Installer

The use of DVD drives has been declining, as most programs can be downloaded via the Internet and don’t require an installation disc. I recently built a new PC and didn’t even include a DVD drive in my build – all of my programs and games can be installed via the Internet. But I ran into this tricky problem: how do I install Windows without a DVD drive?

The solution was simpler than I thought. I install the operating system using a Windows 8 installer USB drive. In today’s post I will explain the painless process I took to create the Windows 8.1 USB installer and how I installed it on my machine. All you need is a computer running Windows and a 4GB flash drive.

First, you need a formatted USB drive with at least 4GB of available space.

1. Connect the USB drive to the computer.

2. Right-click its drive letter and select “Format” from the options.

3. In the Format window, make sure that “FAT 32″ is the selected file system. Everything else can be left as it is.

Windows8USB-Formatting

4. Click start. Once the format is complete, you can proceed to create the Windows 8 installer.

Next, you will need to download the Windows 8.1 installer and load it onto the formatted flash drive.

1. Go to Microsoft’s Windows 8 Upgrade Page.

2. Scroll down and click the “Install Windows 8.1″ button. This will begin downloading “WindowsSetupBox.exe”.

Windows8USB-Webpage

3. Run “WindowsSetupBox.exe” when the download finishes. If it asks for a License number, input your original key (if you try this on Windows 8, it may skip the step prompting for a License key). It will begin downloading Windows 8 and get the files ready. This process may take a few minutes to finish.

4. The installer will ask you how you would like to install Windows 8.1. Select “Install by creating media.”

Windows8USB-Install1

5. When it asks you to choose which media to use, select “USB flash drive.”

Windows8USB-Install2

6. Select the formatted removable drive from the list. Accept any prompts to erase the contents of the USB drive.

Finally, it is time to install Windows 8.1 on your new machine.

1. Plug the USB drive into the computer you want to install Windows 8.1 on.

2. You need to tell the computer on first start to boot from USB and not from hard drive or another location. This is done in the BIOS (You usually enter the Bios with F1, F1, Delete, Esc or another key that is highlighted on the screen when it first boots up).

3. Look for any entry that says “Boot” or “Boot Order” and make sure that USB has the highest priority on the system (remember, you can easily repeat the steps if the computer is not booting from USB).

4. The computer should pick up the installation files on the USB drive automatically and installation should commence.

Now that disc drives are disappearing from computers altogether, using a spare USB drive to install Windows is a nifty trick. Not only is it convenient, but it puts to use those smaller-sized flash drives you have lying around.