QUESTION I've been using the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to create a bootable USB flash drive from which I can install Windows 7. Now I want to do the same with Windows 8, but the tool doesn't seem to be working. It's giving me the error message, "We were unable to copy your files. Please check your USB device and the selected ISO file and try again." I don't see why the files should fail to copy. Is the tool incompatible with Windows 8 or is something else wrong? (See also: How to convert a dynamic disk to basic, to create a bootable disk.)
ANSWER The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool usually works fine with Windows 8. The problem you're seeing is related to the format of your USB flash drive. If there is information in the Master Boot Record (MBR) the tool is sometimes unable to overwrite it. However, simply re-formatting the flash drive doesn't clear it.
To clear the MBR, you can use the built-in Windows command ‘diskpart'. This will completely erase your flash drive, but then again so would using the Download Tool in the first place, so we assume you're prepared for this.
First, open up a command window with administrator privileges. On Windows 8 you can do this by pressing Windows+X and clicking Command Prompt (Admin).
Now type the following commands (without the quotes):
"diskpart" to launch the diskpart program.
"list disk". This provides a list of all the disks attached to your PC. One of these will correspond to your flash disk. It's of the utmost importance to note the correct disk number at this point as we will be erasing the corresponding disk – you don't want to erase your hard drive by mistake! Look in the column labeled "Size". This should give you a clue as to which disk is your USB flash drive. It's a good idea to remove any other external drives before you start to cut down on possible confusion.
"select disk x" (where x corresponds to the number of your flash drive).
"clean". This completely erases the selected disk.
Now we will create a new partition on the drive and give it a drive letter.
"create partition primary"
"select partition 1"
"format quick fs=fat32"
You can close down the Command Prompt window. Now when you try the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool again, it should work correctly.