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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Create Bootable Install Media

While Windows 8 introduces an innovative new web-based installer I'll be looking at soon, this version of the OS also supports installing the OS from DVD media or a USB memory device, much like Windows 7. In this article, I'll examine how to do so.


First, you'll need the appropriate disc image file, which Microsoft provides in ISO format. Note that while both support both clean installs and in-place upgrades (from Windows 7 only) there are different versions of the ISO for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. So be sure to download the right one.


Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (64-bit x64, 3.3 GB)

Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (32-bit x86, 2.5 GB)


(You can find out more information about these downloads from Microsoft's Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO images page. This page also includes download links for other languages; the above links are for US/English only.)


Create DVD install media

If you're running Windows 7 and wish to create a Setup DVD disc, simply double-click the downloaded ISO file. This will run the Windows Disc Image Burner as seen here:




If you're running Windows 8 already, right-click on the ISO file and choose "Burn disc image."


If you're running an older Windows version, you will need to use a third party utility to burn this image file to disc.


Create USB memory device install media

Installing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is faster and more convenient with a USB memory key or similar storage device. The steps to do so are identical to those I previously discussed in Install Windows 7 with a USB Memory Key. But the basic procedure is as follows:


First, download the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool at the Microsoft Store. (Here is the direct download link.) Don't be confused by the name, this tools works fine with Windows 8.


Then, install and run the tool.




Following the steps in the wizard-like application, select the ISO file, choose USB device as the device type, select the USB device you want to use, and then begin copying.


When the tool is complete, you'll have created a bootable USB device you can use to install Windows 8. Note that most PCs will require you to halt the normal boot in order to boot/install via USB, and that the process for doing so varies from PC to PC. On the BUILD Samsung Series 7 Tablet PC, for example, you must tap the middle of the Volume Up/Down rocker when the Samsung logo appears in order to boot from USB.


I'll be document the various ways in which you can actually install Windows 8 in other articles. The first of these, Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Clean Install Windows 8, is now available.

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