Create Bootable Windows Server 2016 USB Installation Drive Step-by-step

After upgrade my home server by adding some memory and an SSD, I decided to reinstall my server using Windows Server 2016.

The ISO I downloaded a while ago from Microsoft is 5.5GB big, so it is not feasible to burn to a DVD, since I don’t have a double-layer burner. Although I stocked a hundred DVD/R and CD/R, who is using disk these days?

So I searched online, and found this is post is quite useful. It’s by the same guy – Dan Stolts.  One link is on MSDN: https://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/ITProGuru/Create-Bootable-Windows-Server-2016-USB-Installation-Drive-Step-by-step

Another link is on his own blog site: http://itproguru.com/expert/2016/05/create-bootable-windows-server-2016-usb-thumb-drive-for-installing-os/

Despite one small typo, this is quite authentic. I tried it out this afternoon, it’s easy and quick as long as you understand a bit of DOS command and how to read help. (Be very careful on the drive letter).

Basically in three steps:

  1. Create and activate a partition on your new USB drive, and format it;
  2. Prepare the boot sector on this USB drive;
  3. Xcopy all content extracted from ISO to the USB drive.

The USB drive I used is 8GB, enough for the 5.5GB install image. I like this way because USB drives are reusable. I threw out dozens of optical disks every year, some of them were just used once or never used, I felt guilty when I got rid of them.