How to install Microsoft Windows without DVD or USB installation media

Alternative Windows installation method

Microsoft Windows system is typically installed on computers with DVD installation media or with USB flash drive. Furthermore, producers of computers, such as HP, Dell, ASUS and others, create recovery partitions with Windows installation on new machines.

However, another alternative method of Windows installation exist, i.e. installation directly from hard drive using ISO image, even if you do not own physical installation media (DVD, USB etc.). This method works for every version of Windows since Vista.

Three steps how to install Windows without DVD or USB

Prepare Windows installation partition

At first you will need to prepare a small partition with Windows installation.

Open Start menu → All Applications  → Windows Administrative Tools  → Computer Management app.

Computer Management for Windows
Windows Computer Management tool

Click on Disk Management option in the left menu →  Right click on C: partition and select Shrink Volume... option.

Computer Management for Windows shrink option
Windows Disk Management shrink volume

Set the "Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB" option to: 6000 and click on Shrink button.

Computer Management for Windows Shrink settings
Windows Disk Management shrink options

This will create a new, unallocated partition → Right click on it  → Select New Simple Volume... option.

Computer Management for Windows New simple volume
Windows Disk Management create volume

Use New Simple Volume Wizard and create new volume Volume. Set volume size, assign letter, set the file system to NTFS and Volume label → Click Finish.

Computer Management for Windows volume wizard
Windows Disk Management volume wizard

This step can be omitted, if you have second hard drive or partition in your computer, where you can extract data from Windows installation image.

Download Windows installation ISO image

Now you will need an installation ISO image of Windows. You can download it, for example from Microsoft website, or use any download apps, such as Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool, Microsoft Creation Tool, etc.

After you have downloaded your ISO image, open it (File Explorer in Windows 8, 10 or third party tool) and copy all installation data from it to new partition.

Copy data from Windows ISO to hard drive
Copy Windows installation data to new hard disk partition

Customise Windows boot menu

The last thing you will need is app called EasyBCD, which gives users the means to customise Windows boot options. It is a free download for non-commercial use.

Open EasyBCD → Click on Add New Entry button  → Select WinPE tab  → Type WIM Image (Ramdisk)  →  Set the name of Boot menu option  → Path set to boot.wim file, which is stored on your small installation partition in sources directory (sources\boot.wim)  → Click on Add Entry button.

EasyBCD settings
EasyBCD add new option to Windows boot menu

Click on Edit Boot Menu option and check if the new entry is available in Boot menu option (in our case Windows Installation) → Click on save Settings button.

EasyBCD boot menu settings
EasyBCD control boot menu settings

Close EasyBCD program and restart computer, select Windows Installation option in boot menu and start to install Microsoft Windows.

Boot Menu Windows 10 Windows 10 installation
Windows 10 boot menu and Windows 10 installation

Related software and links:

Microsoft Windows icon

Microsoft Windows    Microsoft Windows platform
A series of operating systems produced by Microsoft

Microsoft Windows 10 icon

Microsoft Windows 10    Microsoft Windows platform
Operating system for deskop, laptop and tablet computers

Microsoft Windows 7 icon

Microsoft Windows 7    Microsoft Windows platform
One of the newer members of Windows OS family

Microsoft Windows 8 icon

Microsoft Windows 8    Microsoft Windows platform
First operating system from Windows family designed with touchscreens in mind

Microsoft Windows Vista icon

Microsoft Windows Vista    Microsoft Windows platform
One of the members of Windows operating system family


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Related file extensions

iso - CD/DVD/HD DVD/Blu-ray disc ISO binary image

wim - Windows Imaging Format archive

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