This was instigated by Lee's post about a new gaming computer, and his complaints about his current system... but since it is not a direct response specifically to him, and since it might help quite a few people, I decided to give it its own thread...
Basically, this process is easy as pie, assuming you have a working computer :/http://bootableusb.net/install-windows-7-usb-drive-easy-way/
Pretty sure they include everything you need, step by step, to do this. An 8GB drive is frankly, cheaper than a cheap date, and the process is easy and straightforward.
The result is, instead of taking an hour-ish to reinstall via the optical drive... it takes a few minutes.
Not that anybody wants to reinstall windows, but I hope this helps people