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Create Bootable USB Thumb Drive Key with Windows 8 / 2012 Media

Step-by-Step using DiskPart

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;  Windows 2012; Win2008 R2 SP1

  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

G:\>cd boot
  Run "bootsect /help" for detailed usage instructions.

G:\boot>bootsect /nt60 e:
   Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.
   Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.

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 can be found on the blog post: Create Bootable USB Thumb Drive Key with Windows 8 Media to Install Windows 8 Windows Server 2012 or Other Operating System–Step by Step

Please checkout my blog for more great posts.

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More Stories By Dan Stolts

Dan Stolts (The "ITProGuru") is a technology expert who is a master of systems management and security with over 25 years experience. 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 and cloud 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: Boy Scouts, 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!

Current Affiliations: •IT Pro Evangelist (Public Speaker / Community Audience Lead) - Microsoft Corporation ( •President Bay State Integrated Technology, Inc. ( •Tiger Cub Scout Den Leader Lakeville Pack 14, Den 5 •President Boston User Groups ( •Founder / President North East IT Community Leaders Group •Founder/Chairman Virtualization Group Boston •Microsoft Certified Trainer •Soon to be Author :)

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