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Create USB Thumb drive key from Windows 8 ISO DVD or media to be used for install – Step-by-Step

These procedures were written using Windows 8 Release Preview but will work with prior versions of Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7 and Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.  There is a video walkthrough of this process at the bottom of this post.

If you do not have the media, you will need to download.  See Windows 8 Release Preview (RP) and Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC) Available for Download

1) Put the Windows DVD in a drive (or mount the ISO) and make note of the drive letter.  In my case it is drive G:

2) Put in the USB Thumb Drive Key in the computer and make note of the drive letter and the size of the disk.  In my case it is E: and 3.8gb

InstallWindows8-USBKey-MyComputer_th

3) You need to run an elevated command prompt. Start | type cmd | Right-click cmd (top of menu) | Run as Administrator

4) Next you will run Diskpart to prepare the disk for the OS  {question mark “?” below should be replaced with the disk number of the drive you are using}

diskpart

list disk

select disk ?

clean

create partition primary

select partition 1

active

format fs=ntfs quick label=”Win8-RP-x64”

exit

Leaving DiskPart…

5) Now we need to copy the boot sector.  You should still be in the command prompt window

Where G: is the Windows 8 DVD and E: is the USB Drive

C:\Windows\system32>g:

G:\>cd boot

G:\boot>bootsect /nt60 e:

Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode. Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes. G:\boot>exit

Run “bootsect /help” for detailed usage instructions.

If you get an error message similar to below… you may need to close any open windows with that drive and try again.  You could also use the /force switch if you prefer.

 

Updated NTFS filesystem bootcode.  The update may be unreliable since the
volume could not be locked during the update:
Access is denied.

(This usually happens when the drive is open when trying to transfer boot sector)

6) Now we just need to copy files… (You should still be in the DOS window)

Run the xCopy command to copy all files… replace drive letters below with your drive letters

xcopy g:\*.* e:\ /E /H /F

Diskpart Command-Line Utility Syntax and Description

Video of this process:

 

 

If you’re having trouble viewing the video, Click here to download it.

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About Dan Stolts ITProGuru

Dan Stolts (The "ITProGuru") is a technology expert who is a master of systems management and security. He is proficient in many Microsoft products especially in the server area (Windows Server, System Center, Exchange, SharePoint, Virtualization, Etc) and holds many certifications including MCT, MCITP, MCSE, TS, etc. Dan is currently specializing in System Management and Security and is also very passionate about virtualization technologies. Dan is and has been a very active member of the community. He is president of Boston User Groups, Founder of Virtualization Group Boston, Founder of North East Leaders and serves on many IT Community group boards. He is in the process of writing his first book on building technology communities. He is a believer in social networking and can be reached on twitter @ITProGuru. He has participated in many non-technology community groups such as: Rotary Club, Lions Club, local Chambers of Commerce and is a mentor for the local high schools. Dan is an enthusiastic advocate of technology and is passionate about helping others. Dan's lifelong passion has been and continues to be to help and teach others!

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