How to boot windows from an sdhc card

Written by jedadiah casey
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How to boot windows from an sdhc card
Create a bootable SDHC card for Windows. (SD Card Toolbox image by Ron-Heidelberg from

One of the advantages of Microsoft Windows 7 is that it is designed to accept alternative installation methods to a traditional disc-based install. This is useful for computers such as netbooks that do not have a built-in optical disc drive available from which to install Windows. Windows 7 is configurable to boot from any media from which booting is supported by the host computer, such as USB drives and SDHC cards.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Insert an SDHC card into the computer.

  2. 2

    Click the "Start" button on the taskbar.

  3. 3

    Type "cmd" and right-click "Command Prompt" when it appears.

  4. 4

    Click "Run As Administrator."

  5. 5

    Type "diskpart" and press "Enter."

  6. 6

    Type "list disk" and press "Enter." Make a note of which disk represents the SDHC card. In most cases, it will be "Disk 1."

  7. 7

    Type "select disk 1" replacing "1" with the actual disk number. Press "Enter."

  8. 8

    Type "clean" and press "Enter." This removes all data from the SDHC card.

  9. 9

    Type "create partition primary" and press "Enter."

  10. 10

    Type "select partition 1" and press "Enter."

  11. 11

    Type "active" and press "Enter."

  12. 12

    Type "format fs=ntfs" and press "Enter."

  13. 13

    Type "assign" and press "Enter."

  14. 14

    Type "exit" and press "Enter."

  15. 15

    Insert a Windows 7 disc into the disc drive.

  16. 16

    Type "D:" and press "Enter." If the optical disc drive uses a different drive letter, enter that instead.

  17. 17

    Type "cd boot" and press "Enter."

  18. 18

    Type "bootsect /nt60 e:" where "e:" represents the drive letter of the SDHC card.

  19. 19

    Click the "Start" button on the taskbar.

  20. 20

    Click "Computer."

  21. 21

    Right-click the optical drive and click "Open."

  22. 22

    Press "Ctrl" and "A" to select all of the files. Press "Ctrl" and "C" to copy the files.

  23. 23

    Press the "Backspace" key.

  24. 24

    Double-click the SDHC card.

  25. 25

    Press "Ctrl" and "V" to copy the files from the optical drive to the SDHC card.

  1. 1

    Restart the computer after the bootable Windows SDHC card is created.

  2. 2

    Press the hotkey to enable the boot menu. This differs for each model computer. Common keys are "Esc," "F8," "F10" and "F12." Refer to the computer's manual for details.

  3. 3

    Use the arrow keys to select the SDHC card.

  4. 4

    Press "Enter" to boot Windows from the SDHC card.

Tips and warnings

  • These steps completely erase the SDHC card. Back up any important data on the card before proceeding.

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