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


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}


list disk

select disk ?


create partition primary

select partition 1


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


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


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.