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I'm trying to follow the directions on how to create a Windows 7 installation USB flash drive. I was able to create the drive and when I insert it into a Windows computer, it shows the installer correctly.

The problem is that when I get to the "Start Windows Installation" step in boot camp, it asks to insert the Windows disk. I inserted the USB drive, and it appears on the desktop, however, when I click Start Installation, I get the following error message:

The installer disc could not be found.
Insert your Windows installer disc and wait a few seconds for the disc to be recognized.

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Sorry but this isnt exactly an answer as I dont have commenting privileges yet. I would just like to ask if during the refit menu on start up, if it shows the USB Flash Drive with Windows or the MS-DOS FAT Partition? Mine says Install Windows but when I continue it says No bootable drive detected. –  jeraldo Sep 25 '12 at 4:03
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I'm having the exact same problem. I tried holding the option key when rebooting to see if I could boot from the USB key but I could not find a way to do this, so I installed rEFIt (then rebooted twice!) and THEN plugged in the USB key and the next time I rebooted it did show up as an option to boot from the USB key.

I tried that and the windows installer loaded and it found the new bootcamp FAT32 partition. It said I couldn't install to the bootcamp partition because it requires NTFS.

This SuperUser post suggests "simply format the partition using the Windows installer's built-in utility (in other words, as part of the installation process)" so I did that continued with the install and everything works fine!

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So are you saying that when you launch the Boot Camp utility and it tells you to insert the DVD and press "Start Installation", you completely ignore that step, and instead reboot the machine from the USB key? –  Senseful Feb 11 '11 at 18:20
    
@Senseful - exactly! I close Boot Camp and reboot, then when the boot loader comes up instead of selecting the first option "Boot Mac OS X from Macintosh HD" I press the right arrow and select Windows on Disk 1. After that it's a normal windows install exactly as if the USB key were a DVD. It will reboot after copying the files and on the first reboot you select Windows on Disk 1 again, on the second reboot after it's done installing a third icon will appear in the boot loader "Boot Windows from Partition 3" you can now boot into Windows and eject your USB key. –  wweicker Feb 11 '11 at 21:03
    
that worked! The only thing is that I was a bit confused trying to follow your directions. I launched the USB key and began the installation process, then it restarted. According to your directions, you mentioned that Partition 3 only appears after the second reboot, but I saw it after the first. I followed your directions and chose Partition 1, though, and that's what completed the installation. So aside from that little issue, it worked as you describe. Thanks! –  Senseful Feb 12 '11 at 6:55
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Not working for me. Did the two reboots, select the usb drive that works on pcs, and I get "non system disk, press any key to reboot", and nothing –  Canadian Luke Jul 13 '12 at 6:30
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If you are using Lion, there is an easy way to use Bootcamp to install Windows. Bootcamp in itself has support to create Windows 7 install disk from iso file, but by default it is disabled for Macbook Pros.

Check out this link for how to do it.

With Lion, Apple has added an option to BootCamp that will create a bootable USB Windows 7 install disk. Unfortunately, Apple only allows this on computers that support booting from a USB drive (a.k.a. they don't have optical drive) which include the MacBook Air and 2011 Mac Mini. Their is a way around this, and after searching and finding the solution, I decided to pass it one to you.

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This is just a wild guess, but what about pressing and holding the alt key while booting and see if it will allow you to choose the USB drive the boot drive.

I don't know if the mac will boot from USB at all.

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The boot camp instructions say to begin the installation within OS X, so I'm not sure I want to risk a botched install. Thanks for the suggestion though. –  Senseful Feb 12 '11 at 6:56
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