The easiest and most reliable way to install any OS(including Windows) is to buy a cheap USB DVD drive. You can buy them from an online retailer for <$40 or even cheaper. Most large software packages are still typically sold on a DVD or CD so it's good to have one of these around for emergencies anyway. You connect it up, install Windows just like you would any other PC, then put the drive somewhere safe. No need to take up desk space.
Windows Vista and beyond is relatively easy to make a USB flash driver installer, but you almost have to use the command prompt. The general steps are to use diskpart to create an "active" FAT32 partition and xcopy all the files from the CD onto the flash drive.
Ubuntu is tricky to create the installer unless you already have a Ubuntu PC available. If you do Ubuntu has a utility that you can run to create the flash drive installer. Otherwise, the recommended method is to burn a CD with the Ubuntu installer and use a USB DVD drive to install with.
Hope this helps.
Spooky, which OS do you wish to install on your NUC?
It should not be necessary to use third party software to make a Windows 7 installer USB stick. If you have an ISO image of a Windows 7 installation DVD available, then you can use a utility provided by Microsoft to prepare a USB stick.
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Will try to install windows XP from a Reinstallation CD. CD is from a computer that went south. I believe I have created a bootable USB ( flash) drive by using the program on this site. "wintoflash.com". I will try it out on an old ME when I get home in about a month. Thanks
The wintoflash program is very simple, now if it only works?
Ready for NUC:
I have a USB key on a flash drive created with Ubuntu Linux Live USB .
I have a flash drive with Windows 7 Reinstallation DVD created with WinToFlash.
I have a flash drive with Windows 8 Pro upgrade from Microsoft. If I go with this first I may have to double clutch it.
Now I'm waiting for Haswell. No hurry I'm enjoying the build.