Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 using a USB drive

I wanted to install Windows Server 2008 R2 on an IBM Blade, however didn’t want to worry about burning a DVD first.  I had a look around the Internet looking for options to install the OS using a USB drive.  A few articles mentioned installing small programs to do this for me, however I wasn’t excited by the idea of what other things they might install on my computer as well.

First format the USB drive (with at least 3GB free)

Start a CMD prompt and start the diskpart utility, then type the following:

      list disk
      select disk x    (where x is the number of your USB drive.  For me it was disk 3)
      clean
      create partition primary
      select partition 1
      active
      format fs=fat32
      assign
      exit

Copy the Windows Server 2008 R2 installation files to your USB drive

From a cmd window, enter the following:
xcopy d:\*.* /s/e/f e:\   (assumes your dvd is drive D: and your USB drive is drive e:\, adjust accordingly)

Insert the USB drive into your server.  Just after the white System x welcome screen, hold down the F12 key on your IBM Blade to change it’s default boot order.  Select the USB option.

Windows Server 2008 R2 should then install just fine from your USB key

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