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How to Make a Partition Bootable With DiskPart

Updated April 17, 2017

DiskPart, a command-line utility included with the Windows operating system, can create, delete or extend a partition on a flash drive. After establishing a new partition, you can write boot files to the drive, allowing you to run the files from the partition at start-up. One of the most common ways to create a bootable partition is to load the Windows Vista or Windows 7 set-up files on the disk, but some third-party applications--like cloning or backup software--can load boot files on the flash drive as well.

Connect a USB flash drive to the computer. Click the "Start" button (the Windows logo) in the bottom left of your desktop.

Click "All Programs." Click "Accessories." Right-click "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as administrator" from the contextual menu.

Type "diskpart" into the Command Prompt and press "Enter" to run Microsoft DiskPart.

Type "list disk" into the Command Prompt and press "Enter" to view the available drives connected to your computer.

Use the storage space listed under "Size" to determine which disk label DiskPart assigned to your USB flash drive. Type "select disk #" into the Command Prompt. Replace "#" with the number assigned to the flash drive.

Press "Enter" to select the flash drive. Type "list partition" into the Command Prompt. Press "Enter" to view the partitions on the drive.

Type "select partition 1" into the Command Prompt. Press "Enter." Type "active" into the Command Prompt. Press "Enter" to mark the primary partition as active.

Input "format fs=ntfs" into the Command Prompt. Press "Enter" to format the USB flash drive. Formatting the drive will erase the contents of the disk.

Type "exit" to leave the DiskPart utility. Insert your Windows Vista or Windows 7 DVD into the disc drive.

Input ":" into the Command Prompt. Replace "" with the letter assigned to your computer's optical drive. Press "Enter."

Type "cd :\boot" into the Command Prompt. Press "Enter." Type "bootsect /nt60 :" into the Command Prompt. Replace "" with the letter assigned to your USB flash drive.

Press "Enter" to make the primary partition on the USB flash drive bootable. Type "exit" to leave the Command Prompt.

Right-click the "Start" button. Choose "Open Windows Explorer" from the contextual menu.

Right-click the disc drive. Choose "Copy" from the contextual menu. Windows Explorer will duplicate the contents of the Windows Vista or Windows 7 DVD and transfer the files to the clipboard.

Double-click the USB flash drive. Click "Edit." Click "Paste." Windows Explorer will transfer the contents stored in the clipboard to the flash drive.

Things You'll Need

  • USB flash drive
  • Windows DVD
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About the Author

Ruri Ranbe has been working as a writer since 2008. She received an A.A. in English literature from Valencia College and is completing a B.S. in computer science at the University of Central Florida. Ranbe also has more than six years of professional information-technology experience, specializing in computer architecture, operating systems, networking, server administration, virtualization and Web design.