Installing Windows 8 from a USB key
To all PetikTetikus fan outthere! who have a digital download of Windows 8, or just plain don’t have an optical drive – or are too lazy to hook one up – then it’s going to be a USB-based installation for you. And that’s just fine; it’s a great, quick way to get an operating system onto your hard drive and extremely useful if you, say, keep your Windows installation disc tucked away as an .iso on your network drive instead of thrown in one of your desk drawers.
The easiest way to accomplish this process is to already have your hands on a copy of Windows 8’s downloadable .iso file – acquirable by purchasing it from Microsoft itself. If you have a flash drive of the appropriate size (at least four gigabytes or greater, depending on whatever file Microsoft lets you grab), you’re golden. Insert your flash drive into a USB slot on your system, and then go grab Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool – don’t let the name dissuade you.
Install the app and run it. It’ll ask you to select an .iso file to be “burnt” onto your USB key. Go ahead and select your Windows 8 .iso file – the fact that it’s not the right operating system as the tool’s name has absolutely no bearing on what you’re doing.
Yes, we know, it says "Windows 7" download tool, but you can just ignore that part.
On the next screen, you’ll be asked whether you’d like to create a “Windows 7 backup” – again, ignore the name – on a USB device or DVD. Pick the obvious answer, select your USB key from the drop-down menu.
Select your USB device
When you're ready to let 'er rip, click on "Begin copying!" If the tool needs to format your USB key first, it'll let you know.