I was so fed up with all HOW TO’s describing how to create a bootable USB that were confusing, involved many 3rd party tools and some didn’t even work. So I decided to write my own article that works. If it doesn’t work for you, make sure to check known problems at the bottom.

Insert your USB and run the following commands against it (make sure you select the correct disk!):

list disk
select disk x
create partition primary
select partition 1
format fs=ntfs quick

Then copy the whole content of the 2008 R2 DVD content to the root of the USB-key. Then it should boot!

Screendump of diskpart:

For you techies out there, it seems like the minimum amount of stuff you need to put on the USB key is:

  • bootmgr (file)
  • \boot (directory)
  • \sources\boot.wim (file)

This will give you: Windows if loading files… and then Starting Windows logo and you’ll get to the Windows installation wizard but as you probably will understand, Windows will not be able to install since it’s missing the installation files.

Known problems:

Remember, some computers don’t support booting from USB at all (check the BIOS) and some computers won’t boot anyway. Also, some BIOSes have an option of “USB Emulation” so the USB emulates floppy, HD etc. For example, on one of my Dell Inspiron laptops, USB emulation is always enabled during POST. Feel free to post your comments regarding this feature.


BOOTMGR is missing
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart

The bootmgr file is probably missing in the root of the USB or the USB-key is not bootable or your computer doesn’t support bootable USB.


Windows Boot Manager fails with:

Status: 0xc000000f
Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible

You have probably have the \Boot directory and bootmgr file on the USB, but there’s no Sources\Boot.wim file.


Windows Boot Manager fails with:

File: \Boot\BCD
Status: 0x000000f
Info: An error occured while attempting to read the boot configuration data.

You’re probably missing the \Boot directory on the USB.