Using DISKPART to create a Bootable USB of Windows 8

Windows 8 was released today on MSDN and Technet. It will soon be released publically. With that comes the many GBs of downloads for the ISOs. Many may have newer Ultrabooks, which do not feature DVD drives anymore. Rather than burning the ISO to a DVD disc, why not put it on a bootable USB stick? There are many ways to do this, and I have found that the best way to do this is to use a command tool called DISKPART. The commands are fairly easy.

  1. Open an elevated Command Prompt and type DISKPART. You will open up the Diskpart tool, as evidenced by the DISKPART> prompt.
  2. DISKPART>LIST DISK <- This will give you a listing of the disks on your system. It is very important to identify the USB disk, as you really do not want to format your system drive.
  3. DISKPART>SELECT DISK n <- this will make select the USB disk n, as identified in step 2
  4. DISKPART>CLEAN <- This effectively does a quick format/wipe of the USB disk
  5. DISKPART>CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY <- This will create a primary partition on the disk
  6. DISKPART>SELECT PARTITION 1 <- Since there is only one partition, this will select it.
  7. DISKPART>ACTIVE <- This makes the partition active
  8. DISKPART>FORMAT FS=FAT32 <- This formats the disk and sets it up as a FAT32 formatted drive. This will take a while to complete
  9. DISKPART>ASSIGN <- This assigns the next drive letter to the drive
  10. DISKPART>EXIT <- To exit the utility

Once the USB drive has been prepared, you can now use a utility like 7-Zip to extract the ISO directly to the drive.

BTW. This process will also work when creating bootable USB disks of other Windows ISOs – Windows Server 2012, Windows Small Business Server 2011, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and even Vista.



11 thoughts on “Using DISKPART to create a Bootable USB of Windows 8”

  1. Does anyone know why you need to use Windows 8’s diskpart to create a UDF using WinPE 4? I tried to update the .wim and associated files on several already bootable USBs and it would never fully load. I even tried using the same stick, cleaning it, doing all the above steps on my Windows 7 box – get the blue Windows logo and just hangs…then did the exact same thing on my Windows 8 box and it works like a charm.

    What up with that M$?

  2. after exiting the diskpart tool you need to create dir to the bootsect executable file to avoid the bootmngr error while trying to boot from usb

  3. on win 7, you need to copy the Boot Sector. (g=usb drive letter)

    G:\>cd boot
    Run “bootsect /help” for detailed usage instructions.

    G:\boot>bootsect /nt60 e:
    Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.
    Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.

  4. you could add the QUICK option to the FORMAT command, which is perfectly fine for normal purposes (FORMAT FS=FAT32 QUICK)

  5. This trick is so simple and it worked for me. I opened cmd without administrator so it didn’t work. Then i saw that i have to open cmd with administrator and i got success.

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