Install Windows from a USB Flash Drive

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

To install Windows to a device without a DVD drive, you can use a USB flash drive.

Format the drive and set the primary partition as active

  1. Connect a USB flash drive to your PC.

  2. Open Disk Management: Start > Settings: Create and format hard disk partitions.

  3. Format the partition: Right-click the USB drive partition > Format. Select the FAT32 file system to be able to boot either BIOS-based or UEFI-based PCs.

  4. Set the partition as active: Right-click the USB drive partition > Mark Partition as Active.

Copy Windows Setup to the USB flash drive

  • Copy and paste the entire contents of the Windows product DVD to the USB flash drive.

  • Optional: add an Unattend file or a configuration set to automate the installation process. For more information, see Automate Windows Setup.

Install Windows to the new PC

  1. Connect the USB flash drive to a new PC.

  2. Turn on the PC and press the key that opens the boot-device selection menu for the computer, such as the Esc key. Select the option that boots the PC from the USB flash drive.

    Windows Setup starts. Follow the instructions to install Windows.

  3. Remove the USB flash drive.

See Also

Other Resources

Windows Setup Technical Reference