How to create a bootable USB for Windows Server 2022: Step-by-step instructions

How to create a bootable USB for Windows Server 2022

Sometimes specialists and system administrators are faced with the task of installing Windows Server 2022 on one or more machines. To solve this problem, you will need reliable bootable media to quickly deploy systems. This instruction is not necessarily useful only to IT workers. One way or another, if you are faced with the task of installing Windows Server 2022, we will try to explain step by step and clearly how to create a bootable USB drive required to install the operating system on the server. We will break everything down into several stages (steps): from preparing the necessary devices and programs to starting the installation of the operating system.

Preparing the necessary tools

Before you begin, make sure you have a free USB drive with at least 8 GB of capacity. By the way, you can use any external drive to solve this problem. Next, you will need to download the official image of Windows Server 2022 from the Microsoft website.

windows server 2022 bootable usb

We will also need the Rufus program to create a system image on the drive, or if you have experience, you may be more familiar with this task using Diskpart (a Windows console system program).Both options lead to the same result, it’s just that in the case of Rufus the process will be accompanied by a more friendly interface. But sometimes it happens that instead of an operating system, you only have the command line at hand. In any case, we will look at both methods.
If you choose rufus, you need to go to their website and download the latest version of the program.

rufus for preparing bootable usb

Formatting USB and burning Windows Server 2022 distribution to a USB drive

While the distribution and program are loading, connect the USB to your PC. Make sure that your important files are not there – make a copy of them, because we will need a completely empty flash drive. Once you are ready to start formatting, right-click on the usb icon and select “Format” from the context menu. Before starting the formatting process, change the file system type to NTFS, as the FAT32 file system does not support files larger than 4 GB. Click the “Start” button and wait for the result.

Create a bootable USB using Rufus

We use the Rufus tool to burn an ISO image of Windows Server 2022 to a flash drive. This free app makes it easy to create a bootable disk. In the Rufus interface, select our USB, load the downloaded ISO image and click “Start”. It is important to select the image recording mode in “DD”. Once the process is complete, Rufus will show a message indicating that the USB drive is ready. You can now safely remove the USB and use it to install Windows Server 2022 on your desired machine.

rufus creating bootable usb

Create a bootable USB using Diskpart

Diskpart is a console system program included in Windows through which you can manage disks, partitions and volumes by directly entering commands.

To create a boot entry on a USB drive using the Diskpart utility, you will need to run a series of commands.

  1. Open a command prompt with administrator rights.
  2. Type  diskpart  and press Enter to start using the Diskpart utility.
  3. Enter  list disk  command to display a list of all available disks.
  4. Find your USB disk number in the list and enter  select disk X  command, replacing X with the number of your USB disk.
  5. Enter the  clean  command to delete all data on the selected drive.
  6. To create a new primary partition, use   create partition  primary command.
  7. Next, enter   select partition 1    command to focus on the partition you just created.

diskpart command line for creating usb bootable drive

8. To format the partition in NTFS, enter   format fs=ntfs quick  .

9. Finally, enter the active command to make the partition bootable.

After completing these steps, your USB drive will be prepared and activated as bootable. You can close the Diskpart utility by entering the exit command.

Please be careful when using Diskpart, as this powerful tool can erase data from any drive you access. Always make sure you select the correct drive before running the clean command.

Once you have formatted the flash drive, you need to transfer the Windows Server 2022 distribution files to it. To do this, write  list volume  to display a list of volumes on all connected media and determine the letter or volume number of the flash drive and run the command  select volume Y  , where Y is this is the letter or number of the desired volume. After selecting the volume, you can exit Diskpart by typing  exit .

It should be noted that the Diskpart utility itself is not capable of copying files; it is designed to manage disks and partitions. To copy files to a flash drive, you can use regular Windows Explorer or the  copy  command in the command line.

For example, after preparing a flash drive using Diskpart, in the command line you can use the following command to copy file:  copy C:\windowsserver2022.iso E: 

Here copy C:\windowsserver2022.iso E: should be replaced with the path to the file you want to copy, and `E:` with the letter of the assigned flash drive volume.

Installing the distribution from a flash drive

Once your USB drive is ready, insert it ino the machine’s USB port and reboot it. Enter BIOS or UEFI mode and set the USB boot priority.

windows server 2022 installing for bootable usb

If you did everything correctly, you will see the installation start welcome window. Select the desired configuration and begin installation. All that’s left is to wait a little. You have successfully created a bootable USB flash drive for Windows Server 2022 and installed the server operating system from it on your hardware. Remember that accuracy and attentiveness in this process is the key to successful installation and further stable operation of your server.

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