By Emily / Last Updated October 23, 2019

Scenario

"Hi, experts. Recently I want to install Windows Server 2008 on USB flash drive as an installer so that I can install operating system on my computer. So has anyone performed that operation successfully? How did you do it? Thanks a lot!"

Tutorial: install Windows Server on a bootable USB for installing OS

To install Windows Server on USB flash drive for installing operating system, first of all, we need to make the USB flash drive bootable, which can be done via Diskpart within following steps.

Step 1. Insert an empty USB drive to your computer.

Step 2. Click "Start" button, input "cmd" in the search box, right click the program and choose "Run as Administrator" option.

Step 3. In the elevated Command Prompt window, type "diskpart" and press "Enter" to start the DiskPart tool. Next type and execute all the below commands one by one.

  • list disk

  • select disk #

  • clean

  • create partition primary

  • select partition 1

  • format fs=ntfs quick (if you plan to create UEFI bootable USB using Diskpart, type "format fs=fat32 quick" instead to format it into FAT32 file system)

  • active

Create Bootable USB CMD Server

Then type “exit” and press “enter” to leave diskpart, but do not close Command Prompt since we just finish creating a bootable USB flash drive. Now we need to take other steps to copy Windows Server 2008 installation files to this USB drive.

Step 4. Open the Windows Server 2008 installation files and copy them to the USB stick by running the command: xcopy d:\*. * /s/e/f e:\.

Note : d:\ is refer to your windows installer drive letter, and the e:\ is refer to your USB flash drive.

Step 5. Finally, write a bootloader to your USB stick using command: D:\Boot\Bootsect /NT60 E: /force /mbr

When everything is done, you can boot your computer from this USB drive and install Windows Server 2008 on it.

Attention: remember to change your BIOS settings concerning the boot order. You need to put the bootable USB drive first. Generally, you can do that through F2, F12 or DEL on your keyboard. But the key might be different from one manufacturer to another.

Bonus tutorials

Above content is about how to install Windows Server 2008 on USB drive for installing OS. Besides that, here we would like to share two another tutorials about how to install Windows Server on USB for a portable Windows Server, and how to make a bootable Windows Server USB stick for Window Server failure repair.

1. How to install Windows Server 2008 on USB as portable Windows Server?

With a portable Windows Server USB drive, you can boot your own system from any computer or even a new one without reinstallation. For this task, you can employ AOMEI Partition Assistant Server. It not only permits you to install Windows Server 2003, 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), 2016, 2019 to a USB drive as portable Windows Server, but also allows you to install Windows 10/8/7 to a USB drive as portable Windows.

PS.: AOMEI Partition Assistant Server Demo is available for download.

Step 1. Connect a USB drive to your Windows Server computer and make sure it is detected. Install and Run AOMEI Partition Assistant Server. Click "All Tools" > "Windows To Go Creator" on the left side.

Win To Go Creator

Step 2. Here, choose "Create Windows To Go with system disc/ISO" and click "Next".

Create Windows To Go With ISO

Step 3. In this window, you need to choose the right USB drive and click "Browse" to select Windows Server 2008 installation files, then click "OK".

Step 4. Now, you will receive a note that tells the process will wipe data on the selected USB drive, so back up files you need in advance and click “Yes”.

Step 5. Finally, click "Proceed" to start creating portable Windows Server USB drive.

Attention: If you are planning to install Windows Server 2008r2/2012/2012r2 onto USB, you can choose the second method to "create Windows To Go with current system", which is much easier without downloading and using installation ISO files.

2. How to create a bootable Windows Server USB stick for repairing boot issues?

If your Windows Server 2008 fails to boot due to damaged Mater Boot Record (MBR) or bad sectors, you can make a bootable USB stick via AOMEI Partition Assistant Server to check and fix bad sector or rebuild MBR, rather than reinstalling Windows Server from scratch.

Step 1. Plug in an empty USB on your Windows Server computer, run AOMEI Partition Assistant Server, click "Make Bootable Media" under "Wizard" column.

Make Bootable Media

Step 2. In this window, select the target USB drive in the "USB Boot Device", click "Proceed" to go on.

USB Boot Device

Step 3. Then you will be informed that the USB will be formatted, please back up important data. If you have done that, click "Yes".

Yes USB

Step 4. Then wait for the process to be completed.

Finish USB

Then, you can insert the bootable media to your computer suffering Windows Server boot failure, and boot the computer from the bootable USB drive. Once you log in, you will enter the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

To check bad sectors on the system drive:

Check Partition

To rebuild MBR on the system disk without loading Windows Server (2008):

Rebuild MBR for Server

Conclusion

So, whether you want to install Windows Server 2008 on USB as an OS installer, portable Windows Server, or plan to make a Windows Server bootable media to tackle with Server boot failure, this article will help you a lot!