Install Windows 2008 Server from USB flash drive

Install Windows 2008 Server from USB flash drive

Windows 2008 Server come in DVD format but not all the server hardware come with DVD drive. Don’t be suprise that some server don’t even come with CD/DVD drive (especially 1U and 2U server).

You might think that you can install windows 2008 Server simply by plug in USB DVD drive. Yes, you can boot up the Windows installation wizard but you might not be able to continue further because the DVD drive can not be detect by the installation wizard.


Solution: Install the Windows 2008 Server using USB flash/thumb drive

Note: This solution should work for Windows 2008 Server, Windows Vista and Windows 7

1. Purchase the emply USB drive (minimum of 4GB). If you have the U3 preloaded USB drive, please uninstall the U3 by following the instruction from

2. Format and partition the USB flash drive (from Windows 2008 or Vista computer)

a.) Run cmd with admistrative priviledge

b.) execute: diskpart

c) Run the command below in sequence inside the diskpart

No Command Description
1 list disk Show the disk in your system. Find the USB drive
2 select disk 2 Assuming disk 2 is your USB drive
3 clean Clear the drive
4 create partition primary Create partition
5 select partition 1 Select the partition you just created
6 active Set the partition to active and bootable
7 format fs=fat32 quick Format the partition.Run “format fs=ntfs quick” if you have more than 4GB of USB drive
8 assign Assign the drive letter so that you can see in your Windows Explorer
9 exit quit

3. Copy the whole Windows 2008 Server from DVD into the USB flash drive. You can use Windows Explorer to copy of use the following dos-command:

xcopy E:\*.* /s /e /f F:\    (assume E: is DVD-drive, F: is the USB flash drive)

4. Now you can boot up and install the Server using USB flash drive (make sure you enable and allow the USB removable drive in the system BIOS)

Resource and Reference:!DA410C7F7E038D!1665.entry