Windows 8 on a USB Drive, Defragging Tips, Launch Apps Fast

01.11.2011
If you've poked around PCWorld in recent weeks, you've learned and . Today, let's talk about one of my favorite approaches for installing Windows 8, well, anywhere: by way of a flash drive.

See, when you download something like the (which anybody can check out, not just developers), you're left with an ISO file that must be burned to a DVD before you can actually install it. Or must it?

The lets you copy that ISO file to a flash drive, then use that drive to install Windows. And don't let the name fool you: although the 1MB utility says it's for Windows 7, it works like a charm with Windows 8. (Also notwithstanding its name, there's no real downloading involved.)

For this task you'll need a flash drive with at least 8GB of available storage. The utility will necessarily erase everything on the drive as part of the setup process, so make sure you've offloaded any important data. You'll also need to have if you haven't already. I recommend the x64 version without the developer tools, though you may want to choose the x86 version if you're planning to install it on an older PC with limited RAM (i.e. 3GB or less).

Once you run the utility, it's a simple four-step process to select the ISO file, wipe the USB drive, make it bootable, and load Windows 8. So simple, in fact, that I'm not going to reiterate the steps here. But allow 10-20 minutes for the job to finish.

When you're done, you can "safely eject" the drive, then pop it into whatever PC is going to be your Windows 8 guinea pig. (If you have trouble booting from the drive, consult your manual; you may need to tweak the BIOS settings.)