I find myself doing this over and over again, so I figured it would be worthwhile to post. Below you’ll find a really useful way for installing a Windows O/S from a bootable USB device. I am particularly dependent on USB drives, as I have a Lenovo X61 Tablet that doesn’t have a CD/DVD-ROM (unless I’m docked, but I’m hardly in the office).

A couple of notes:

  • This assumes you’re running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008
  • I’ve tested by installing the following O/S’s: Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008
  • You must have a machine capable of booting from a USB drive

Without further ado, here are the steps:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt.
  2. You must make your USB drive bootable. Type the following in the command prompt:

diskpart
list disk (FIND YOUR USB DISK)
select disk 1 (OR WHATEVER YOUR DISK NUMBER IS)
clean
create partition primary
select partition 1
active
format fs=NTFS
assign
exit

  1. Mount your Windows Server ISO (or unpack it) and copy the contents of the CD/DVD onto your USB. Make sure you get all files, including hidden ones.

You should now be able to use this USB drive to install a new O/S. Good luck!