Windows Server 2019 USB Drive

Create a USB Drive for Windows Server 2019 Installation

This blog post covers how you can create a bootable USB media drive to install Windows Server 2019 on a physical server. This blog post will not use any third party tools; it only uses built-in tools which you can find on Windows 10 or Windows Server. Depending on your system you will need it to install it on a BIOS system or a UEFI based system, which is slightly different since UEFI will use GPT disks and BIOS will use an MBR disk.

Getting ready to create a USB Drive for a Windows Server 2019 Installation

First, you will need to have all the prerequisites in place.

  • Download the Windows Server 2019 ISO File
  • A USB Drive with at least 8GB size

Windows Server 2019 USB Thumb Drive for UEFI (GPT) systems

Windows Server 2019 USB Drive UEFI

To create the USB drive to install Windows Server 2019 on a UEFI (GPT system, you do the following steps:

  • The at least an 8GB USB drive has to be formatted in FAT32
  • The USB needs to be GPT and not MBR
  • Copy all files from the ISO to the USB drive

This is it, and here is how you do it. First, plug in your USB drive to your computer.

Open a PowerShell using the Run as Administrator option. You will need to change the path of the Windows Server 2019 ISO, and you will need to replace the USB Friendly Name in the script.

REMINDER: The following commands will wipe the USB Drive completely. So backup everything before you run through the PowerShell.

# Define Path to the Windows Server 2019 ISO
$ISOFile = "C:\Temp\WindowsServer2019.iso"
 
# Get the USB Drive you want to use, copy the friendly name
Get-Disk | Where BusType -eq "USB"
 
# Get the right USB Drive (You will need to change the FriendlyName)
$USBDrive = Get-Disk | Where FriendlyName -eq "Kingston DT Workspace"
 
# Replace the Friendly Name to clean the USB Drive (THIS WILL REMOVE EVERYTHING)
$USBDrive | Clear-Disk -RemoveData -Confirm:$true -PassThru
 
# Convert Disk to GPT
$USBDrive | Initialize-Disk -PartitionStyle GPT
 
# Create partition primary and format to FAT32
$Volume = $USBDrive | New-Partition -UseMaximumSize -AssignDriveLetter | Format-Volume -FileSystem FAT32 -NewFileSystemLabel WS2019
 
# Mount iso
$ISOMounted = Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath $ISOFile -StorageType ISO -PassThru
 
# Driver letter
$ISODriveLetter = ($ISOMounted | Get-Volume).DriveLetter
 
# Copy Files to USB 
Copy-Item -Path ($ISODriveLetter +":\*") -Destination ($Volume.DriveLetter + ":\") -Recurse
 
# Dismount ISO
Dismount-DiskImage -ImagePath $ISOFile

After that, you can safely remove the USB drive and use it to boot your server from.

Windows Server 2019 USB Thumb Drive for BIOS (MBR) systems

Windows Server 2019 USB Drive BIOS

To create the USB drive to install Windows Server 2019 on BIOS (MBR) systems, you can follow these steps:

  • The at least an 8GB USB drive has to be formatted in NTFS
  • USB drive needs to us MBR
  • The partition needs to be set active
  • Copy all files from the ISO to the USB Drive

This is it, and here is how you do it. First, plug in your USB drive to your computer.

Open a PowerShell using the Run as Administrator option. You will need to change the path of the Windows Server 2019 ISO, and you will need to replace the USB Friendly Name in the script.

REMINDER: The following commands will wipe the USB Drive completely. So backup everything before you run through the PowerShell.

# Define Path to the Windows Server 2019 ISO
$ISOFile = "C:\Temp\WindowsServer2019.iso"
 
# Get the USB Drive you want to use, copy the friendly name
Get-Disk | Where BusType -eq "USB"
 
# Get the right USB Drive (You will need to change the FriendlyName)
$USBDrive = Get-Disk | Where FriendlyName -eq "Kingston DT Workspace"
 
# Replace the Friendly Name to clean the USB Drive (THIS WILL REMOVE EVERYTHING)
$USBDrive | Clear-Disk -RemoveData -Confirm:$true -PassThru
 
# Convert Disk to MBR
$USBDrive | Initialize-Disk -PartitionStyle MBR
 
# Create partition primary and format to NTFS
$Volume = $USBDrive | New-Partition -UseMaximumSize -AssignDriveLetter | Format-Volume -FileSystem NTFS -NewFileSystemLabel WS2019
 
# Set Partiton to Active
$Volume | Get-Partition | Set-Partition -IsActive $true
 
# Mount ISO
$ISOMounted = Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath $ISOFile -StorageType ISO -PassThru
 
# Driver letter
$ISODriveLetter = ($ISOMounted | Get-Volume).DriveLetter
 
# Copy Files to USB
Copy-Item -Path ($ISODriveLetter +":\*") -Destination ($Volume.DriveLetter + ":\") -Recurse
 
# Dismount ISO
Dismount-DiskImage -ImagePath $ISOFile

After that, you can safely remove the USB drive and use it to boot your server from to install Windows Server 2019.

Windows Server 2019

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.