Windows 7 USB installation

Due to the enormous amount of software installs and uninstalls I decided it’s about time to reinstall my desktop machine. Having no spare DVD around my installation media of choice was a USB key.

Installing windows 7 from USB key is quite fast actually. Here is how to prepare Windows 7 bootable USB.

The requirements
NOTE: My installation was Windows 7 Professional SP1 x64. After completion of this process the space occupied on the USB key was 3,11 GB.

You will need a flash drive around 4 GB, an ISO image or DVD of Windows 7 and a machine running Windows XP or later. Also an archive tool able to extract ISO files. I use 7-Zip.

Preparing the installation media

1. Formatting the USB drive
Plug in the USB memory stick, right click on the drive in ‘Computer’ and select ‘Format…’. I recommend doing complete format by removing the check box next to ‘Quick Format’ option.

format

Depending on the drive size and speed the format will take some time.

2. Making the USB drive bootable
For this step we will use a command line utility called Diskpart. It’s bundled with every Windows version from 2000 onward.

To start Diskpart, click on the Start button and type diskpart. The diskpart utility will appear. Give it some time to load and enumerate your drives.

NOTE: For complete list of commands that the utility supports type: help at the DISKPART> command prompt.

diskpart1

To list your drives type list disks. From the list of your drives find the USB stick by comparing the size of the drive with the size of your USB stick. In my case the flash drive was ‘Disk 3’

Untitled3

At the ‘DISKPART>’ command prompt select your USB drive by entering the following command where # is the drive number of your flash drive:

DISKPART> select disk #

Now type in the following sequence of commands:

DISKPART> clean
DISKPART> create partition primary
DISKPART> active

Close the utility by typing:

DISKPART> exit

Your flash drive is now bootable. It’s time to copy the windows installation files on it.

3. Coping the Windows 7 installation

Extract the Windows 7 iso image to a location of your choice. If you are using 7-zip right click on the .iso image select 7-zip and from the sub menu select ‘Extract files…

NOTE: If you are turning Windows 7 DVD in to a bootable Flash drive installation just copy the contents of the DVD on the flash drive.

Untitled7

Copy the contents of the extracted .ISO file on your USB drive as you normally would.

Untitled8 
Now you have a bootable Windows 7 installation. Restart your computer and set it to boot from the USB. Install Windows 7 as you normally would.

This method is applicable also for Windows 2000, XP and Vista.

Command Prompt Here

Have you ever wanted to open a Command Prompt in the folder you are currently browsing in Windows Explorer. It’s time saving feauture that’s not present currently in Windows. If you do a Google search, you will find various methods for doing this. The method that I will show you will not require instalation of some software sush as Cmd Here powertoy.

So here is how is done:
1. Open Control Panel ( or in Windows Explorer select the Tools menu and then Folder Options ) and navigate to Folder Options

2. In the “Folder Options” property page select File Types and in the “Registered file types:” list select {NONE} | Folder

Folder Options property page
3.Click the “Advanced” button. The “Edit File Type” dialog will apear


4.Click on the “New” button, the “New Action” dialog will apear


5. In the “Action:” field type “Command Prpmpt” or name of your choice, and in the “Application used to preform the action:” type cmd.exe.

6. Click “OK” to close the “New Action” dialog, click “OK” to close “Edit File Type” dialog and “OK” to close the “Folder Options” dialog.

Now when you right click on a folder in Windows Explorer you shoud see an context menu entry labeled “Command Prompt”, click on it to open a “cmd.exe” window in the selected folder.

Restoring deleted files when you have emptied the Recycle Bin

I like to experiment, and last night I was playing with a Powertoy from MS called SyncToy (very useful utility if you ask me, another review feauturing SyncToy is on it’s way). So now on the topic.

While experimenting with SyncToy, I accidently deleted some documents form my workstation computer and my laptop. The files were putted in the Recycle Bin, on both PC’s but, without any hesitation I emptied the Recycle Bin folders. Some moments later I realized what I have done and start thinking of a way to recover my documents. After searching Help And Support center for a while, and when nothing useful showed up, I started Firefox and asked Google about “Recovering Deleted Files from Recycle Bin”, the first result that showed up was this page, containg a link to very useful utility called Restoration, I downloaded the utility, checked the archive with my AV just in case and then unpack it.

Restoration does not require installation and it’s MFC application. Supports FAT32 and NTFS file systems and it’s written by Brian Kato.

Restoration utility
Restoration utility. Click on the image to view the actual size

To restore a file with the Restoration utility:

  1. From the right pane select the drive from which the file were deleted.
  2. If you want to view all the files deleted from this hard drive click on “Search Deleted Files”, or if you are searching for something specific, type the name of the file in the box above the mentioned button and then click it.
  3. Select the file from the list and click “Restore by Copying”. Save dialog will pop up asking you where you want to save the file. Choose location and click the Save button.
  4. Enjoy your restored file :)
Restoration utility
Restoration utility in process of restoring a file. Click on the image to view the actual size.

Restoration utility can be downloaded from here. The license of the application is freeware and according to my AV the archive is safe.