Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Installing Windows 7, 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012 Server from USB Flash Drive

One of the greatest frustrations of anyone who works in IT is needing to burn a DVD and not having one!  In the Mac world, we just throw OS X on a USB flash drive using Disk Utility and it is easy to install it, update it and what-not.  But in the Windows world, it is a little bit more complex than that.

But here's how you do it...

First, you need to have an operating system that has "diskpart" on it.  I've found that most of the "Professional", "Business" and "Enterprise" versions of Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 have it.  You also need at least a 4GB USB flash drive and an ISO file of the operating system you are trying to install.  NOTE: Not all USB flash drive can be made bootable.  If this does not work on one brand, try a different one.

1. Insert your USB stick
2. Drop to a Command Line as Administrator.  If you aren't an Admin you can Control-Click on the Command Prompt Icon and select Run As Administrator to make this happen.
3. At the command prompt type: diskpart
4. At the diskpart prompt type: select disk <#> where the <#> is the number in the disk list.  If you don't know what number your USB drive is type: disk list
5. Type: clean
6. Type: create partition primary
7. Type: select partition 1
8. Type: active
9. Type: format fs=FAT32 quick (this formats the drive)
10. Type: assign (this assigns it a drive letter)
11. Type: exit
12. Mount the ISO of the operating system you are trying to install, then copy the entire OS to the USB drive.

Now you should have a bootable USB flash drive that you can install your OS on.  Go to the target machine, and make sure to boot off the USB stick and you should be set! I've used this to install Windows 8, Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 2012 Essentials.

Bruce has worked in educational technology for over 18 years and has implemented several 1:1/BYOD programs.  He also has been a classroom teacher for various subjects.  Bruce is the author of five books: Sands of TimeTowering Pines Volume One:Room 509The Star of ChristmasPhiladelphia Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel and The Insider's Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel.  Follow Bruce's Novel releases by subscribing to his FREE newsletter!

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