Installing Windows on a computer usually involves using a DVD or a USB drive. However, there are situations where you might not have access to these tools. Fortunately, there are alternative methods to install Windows without a disk or USB drive. In this article, we will explore two methods: using a network-based installation and using a hard drive partition.
Method 1: Network-Based Installation (Windows Deployment Services)
Windows Deployment Services (WDS) is a network-based installation method that allows you to install Windows on multiple computers without needing a physical medium. This method is ideal for organizations or users with access to a network server.
Step 1: Set Up a Server for WDS
- Install Windows Server: Ensure you have Windows Server installed on a computer that will act as your server.
- Install WDS: Open Server Manager, click on ‘Add roles and features’, and follow the prompts to install Windows Deployment Services.
Step 2: Configure WDS
- Open WDS: In Server Manager, click on Tools, and then select Windows Deployment Services.
- Configure the Server: Right-click your server in the WDS console, select ‘Configure Server’, and follow the wizard. You’ll need to set up a boot and a remote installation folder.
Step 3: Add Images to WDS
- Add Boot and Install Images: In the WDS console, right-click ‘Boot Images’ and ‘Install Images’ to add the respective images. These can be obtained from a Windows ISO file.
Step 4: Prepare the Client Computers
- Configure BIOS/UEFI: Ensure the client computers are set to boot from the network. This setting is found in the BIOS/UEFI settings.
- Boot from Network: Start the client computer and choose to boot from the network. This will connect the computer to the WDS server.
Step 5: Install Windows
- Follow the Prompts: The client computer should now load the Windows setup from the network. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
Method 2: Using a Hard Drive Partition
If you don’t have access to a network server, you can install Windows using a separate partition on your hard drive.
Step 1: Create a New Partition
- Open Disk Management: Right-click on ‘This PC’ or ‘My Computer’, select ‘Manage’, and then choose ‘Disk Management’.
- Shrink an Existing Volume: Right-click on an existing volume (like C:) and select ‘Shrink Volume’. Free up enough space for the Windows installation (at least 20GB).
- Create a New Partition: Use the unallocated space to create a new partition. Format it with NTFS file system.
Step 2: Prepare Windows Installation Files
- Download a Windows ISO: Download a Windows ISO file from the official Microsoft website.
- Mount the ISO: If you’re using another Windows PC, right-click the ISO file and select ‘Mount’. This will open the contents of the ISO.
- Copy Files to New Partition: Copy all the files from the mounted ISO to the new partition you created.
Step 3: Install Windows
- Boot into the New Partition: Restart your computer and boot into the new partition. You may need to change the boot order in your BIOS/UEFI settings.
- Run Setup: In the new partition, find and run the ‘setup.exe’ file. This will start the Windows installation process.
- Follow the Installation Prompts: Choose your preferences and follow the prompts to install Windows. Make sure to select the correct partition for the installation.
Whether you’re managing multiple computers on a network or just looking to install Windows on a single machine without a USB or disk, these methods provide viable alternatives. Network-based installations using WDS are efficient for multiple installations while using a separate hard drive partition is a straightforward solution for individual installations. Always ensure you have a valid Windows license and remember to back up your data before attempting any installation.