You can never know when a bootable Windows 8 USB stick / DVD may come in handy, so why not have one ready? It can be made very easily, using free Microsoft software, and can get you out of an operating system trouble in case you get into some. You can use it to install Windows 8 the developer preview version on any computer, upgrade the existing operating system or repair the OS when the configuration is damaged.
We are going to need an average USB stick (size no less than 4 GB) or a DVD, the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool [EXE] and a normal PC. In this procedure we used a Windows 7 running PC, but the tool is also compatible with Windows XP SP2 or Vista. If you are running on XP, you must first install Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0 (opens in new tab) and Image Mastering API (opens in new tab), using default options. All other details will be taken care of.
Here's how to do it:
1. Download the compatible copy of Windows 8 (opens in new tab) and save it on the hard drive. This will be shown as an .iso image file.
2. Now launch the Windows 7 USB/DVD application.
3. In the first screen, browse to the file we previously downloaded and select it.
4. Now choose the most appropriate option to your needs: USB Device or DVD Disk.
5. Insert the DVD or the USB Drive and choose it from the drop-down list, then click on "Begin Copying".
6. The process will now begin and it's going take several minutes until it's done.
As you see in the image above, the first step of the procedure is to format the drive. This will completely erase all the existing information so make sure you back everything up. Also, do not try it if the USB has less than 4GB, because the tool won't accept it as the Windows 8 image file may be larger. At any time the process can be stopped using the Cancel button.
When completed, the USB drive will act just like a DVD containing Windows 8. By opening it you will see that all required files are in place and it's ready for fun.
If you want to boot using the freshly created disk, just restart the PC and the computer should detect the bootable drive and ask if you want to use it. If not, enter the BIOS menu by interrupting the boot sequence when the first black screen appears and change the boot sequence order.
The list should display the appropriate medium as the first boot option, the USB drive or the DVD rom, followed by the hard disk. Once in the boot menu, you can easily access any repair tools you want or start a new, fresh install. If you don't know how to go about installing Windows 8, we've got some pretty good options.