By Emily / Last Updated December 3, 2019

Need to create Windows Server 2016 bootable USB for OS installation

When you get a Netbook or a small form-factor computer which does come with a DVD drive for installing Windows Server 2016, you can download the Windows Server 2016 ISO from Microsoft official website, and create a bootable USB Windows setup media from ISO files. Then you can install a new Server on your computer via that bootable USB drive.

Compared with Windows Server 2016 installation DVD or CD, the bootable USB drive is more portable to take everywhere, allowing you to perform the OS installation more conveniently.

How to create Windows Server 2016 bootable USB from ISO files?

To create Windows Server 2016 bootable USB from ISO, the first and foremost thing is to download the ISO files. If you have done that, you can use DiskPart.exe tool to create a bootable USB Windows Server setup media.

Before proceeding, please note:

  • All data on the USB drive will be wiped out during the process, so you can back up required files in advance.

  • Ensure the USB drive has sufficient disk space to hold the Windows Server 2016 installation files. Usually 8GB is enough.

Step 1. Insert the USB device to your computer and ensure it is detected by OS successfully.

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 subsequent Command Prompt window, type "diskpart" and press "Enter" to launch the DiskPart tool. Next execute all the below commands in turn.

  • list disk

  • select disk #: # is the disk number of the target USB drive.

  • clean

  • create partition primary

  • select partition 1

  • format fs=ntfs quick

  • active: set the selected partition active

  • assign letter= r or other available letter

To create UEFI bootable USB Server 2016, you should type “format fs=fat32 quick” to format the USB as FAT32 rather than as NTFS. But for FAT32 file system, you need to notice that you cannot copy the files over 4GB to it due to the FAT32 based partition limitation. To solve it, you can split the vim file into smaller files by running the command: “dism /Split-Image /ImageFile:h:\sources\install.wim /SWMFile:r:\sources\install.swm /FileSize:4096”.

Then type “Exit” to leave the Diskpart command environment.

Step 4. Find the Windows Server setup ISO in your computer and double click on it to mount the ISO.

Step 5. Copy the entire contents of the mounted ISO drive to your bootable USB flash drive.

Step 6. Now, back to the Command Prompt window again and run the following command “H:cd\boot\ bootsect.exe /nt60 r” to build the boot sector code in the specified partition. (H:\ is the drive letter of the mounted Windows ISO and G:\ is the USB drive letter)

You may also want to learn...

Now you know how to create Windows Server 2016 bootable USB drive from ISO to install OS on another computer. But what if you want to create bootable USB to get a portable Windows Server 2016 USB, which allows you to take your own familiar OS anywhere conveniently instead of carrying a heavy laptop? Then you can refer to the following content.

How to create a portable Windows Server (2016) USB drive?

To create Windows 10 or Windows 8 bootable USB as portable Windows, you can use "Windows To Go" feature offered by Microsoft itself. But for creating Windows Server bootable USB stick, you need to turn to a third-party tool called AOMEI Partition Assistant Server since Microsoft does not offer such a feature for Windows Server.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Server not only allows you to install Windows Server 2003, 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), 2016, 2019 to an external hard drive as portable Windows Server, but also enables you to install Windows 10/8/7 onto a USB drive as portable Windows USB. Moreover, it supports creating Windows Server to Go with ISO image files, and with the current system.

Attention: please prepare an empty USB 2.0 or 3.0 flash drive (the latter will perform faster).

If you have Windows Server 2016 ISO image, you can take the below steps to create Windows Server bootable drive using ISO.

Step 1. Run the software and click "All Tools" and "Windows To Go Creator".

Win To Go Creator

Step 2. In this window, choose the first way to create Windows Server 2016 bootable USB drive from ISO files.

Create Windows To Go With Iso

Step 3. Now, choose the right USB drive. If your USB drive does not appear, you can click "Refresh" and try again.

Select USB

Step 4. Click "Browse" to select Windows Server 2016 installation files, then click "OK".

Select Server 2016 Iso

Step 5. After USB drive and ISO files are chosen, click "Proceed" to start creating portable Windows Server USB drive.

Server 2016 Proceed

If the Windows installation files are not available, you can select the second method to create Windows to Go with current system, which is much easier and more convenient.

Create Windows To Go With Current System

Furthermore, if your Windows Server cannot boot as normal due to damaged MBR, system disk errors, ect, you can also use this software to make a bootable Windows Server USB for repairing Server boot issue by rebuilding MBR, checking and fixing OS partition errors from BIOS.

Make Bootable Media

Final Words

In this article, you can get all necessary information on how to create Windows Server 2016 bootable USB for your specific purpose. As a versatile disk manager tool, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is also able to move Windows Server to new hard drive (SSD/HDD), copy entire Server hard disk to another disk, convert system disk between MBR and GPT partition table without deleting partition/losing data, and more.

To enjoy those amazing disk management functions on unlimited Servers/PCs within one company with only one license, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Unlimited.