Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to Create Bootable USB Installation Media for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012


There are a number of reasons to install Windows off of USB Media instead of using a DVD. Some of them include
  • Installing from USB Media is usually faster than an optical drive
  • Some newer PCs (like an Ultrabook that I just bought) do not have optical drives of any kind
  • Perhaps you ran out of blank DVDs and the store is closed...
Since this procedure involves formatting a flash drive, the reader is cautioned to back up all of the data on the system (you'll see why later) and to make sure that anything that needs to be kept is backed up off of the flash drive. To perform this process, you will need access to Windows 8 media (either in ISO format or DVD) and you will also need a flash drive (> 6 GB).


To start the process, open a command prompt with an administrative authentication token,

If your command prompt is not pinned to the start menu, simply type cmd into the search bar, then right click the command prompt that appears and select "run as administrator." Then type diskpart and press enter. You should be here at this point,

Enter "list disk" and hit enter. It should be pretty clear form the sizes which disk is the flash drive. For me, it is Disk 3. Be sure to select the right disk, or you will destroy all of the data on one of the other system disks (this would be very bad for most people). For me, it is Disk 3 because I am using an 8 GB flash drive

Next, type "select disk 3" while substituting 3 for the right disk number on your system.

Now type "Clean" and hit enter. At this point all of the data will be gone from the disk (though it could still be recovered by a forensic analyst/data recovery company)

If you selected the wrong disk, you have a big problem now... If you selected the right disk, you can create a new partition by typing "create partition primary" and hit enter

This should be partition 1, but type "list partition" to be sure.

Now select partition 1 and format the partition as a FAT partition.

Mark the partition as active and we are ready to copy files over,

Mount the Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 ISO and copy all of the files on the ISO to the newly created/formatted volume.

At this point, you now have bootable Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 USB media.

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