Create Bootable USB Thumb Drive (Key) Using Diskpart with Windows 8 Media to Install Windows 8 Release Preview or Other Operating System

Create USB Thumb drive key from Windows 8 ISO DVD or media to be used for install – Step-by-StepThese procedures were written using Windows 8 Release Preview but will work with prior versions of Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7 and Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.  There is a video walkthrough of this process at the bottom of this post.  Note: the instructions for Windows 10 are different.  If you want to do windows 10 see:

If you do not have the media, you will need to download.  See Windows 8 Release Preview (RP) and Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC) Available for Download 

1) Put the Windows DVD in a drive (or mount the ISO) and make note of the drive letter.  In my case it is drive G:

2) Put in the USB Thumb Drive Key in the computer and make note of the drive letter and the size of the disk.  In my case it is E: and 3.8gb


3) You need to run an elevated command prompt. Start | type cmd | Right-click cmd (top of menu) | Run as Administrator

4) Next you will run Diskpart to prepare the disk for the OS  {question mark “?” below should be replaced with the disk number of the drive you are using}

list disk
select disk ?
create partition primary
select partition 1
format fs=ntfs quick label=”Win8-RP-x64”

Leaving DiskPart...

5) Now we need to copy the boot sector.  You should still be in the command prompt window

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.

If you get an error message similar to below… you may need to close any open windows with that drive and try again.  You could also use the /force switch if you prefer.


      Updated NTFS filesystem bootcode.  The update may be unreliable since the
    volume could not be locked during the update:
        Access is denied. 

(This usually happens when the drive is open when trying to transfer boot sector)

6) Now we just need to copy files…

This post has moved to... 

Create USB Thumb drive key from Windows 8 ISO DVD or media to be used for install – Step-by-Step

xcopy g:\*.* e:\ /E /H /F

Diskpart Command-Line Utility Syntax and Description

Video of this process:



If you're having trouble viewing the video, Click here to download it.

Comments (31)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Diskpart works perfectly. You’ve obviously done something wrong whilst using it. Don’t deter other people from using a functional solution just because you had a bad experience with it.

  2. khaja mehaboob khan says:

    pls don't use the diskpart it false my pendrive was lost by this one

  3. True Story says:

    True Story: don't use diskpart and then remove the "pendrive" halfway through.

  4. james says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the diskpart instructions on this page. Sounds like you pulled the drive in the middle of writing the partition table 😛

  5. pdtust says:

    nothing wrong with the diskpart instructions this is how to Do IT

  6. Chuck says:

    Thanks man. Helped recollect those commands

  7. Actually? says:

    Actually, there is something quite wrong with these instructions.

    It appears that the author didn't include the instructions to assign a drive letter to the drive.

    DISKPART>ASSIGN <- This assigns the next drive letter to the drive

    Type "assign" after formatting so that the disk can be recognized by windows.  For those of you who have followed all of these steps and believe your usb drive to now be broken, you can simply re-follow all of the steps above, but this time, include the "assign" command.  

    Diskpart will still recognize the USB drive, even though your OS may not.

  8. Kiki Musampa says:

    U only forgot to assign partition 🙂

  9. tteksystems says:

    It is true that the instructions are not only missing the drive letter assignment but not all systems seem to react the same at all. Some drives do not allow the format of ntsf within the diskpart procedure. I am getting every step perfectly and the error when using the format ntsf command is "file system is not compatible". If these instructions are correct, then somneone should be clear about what to do when these errors occur. I actually see many other errors but there is no good resource to document all of the error messages many people have had. I would say the best thing to do is spend the money and get a USB optical drive. This process is not stable or consistent and only works for some of the people some of the time.

  10. remember to


    list disk

    select disk ? (the usb letter)


    create partition primary

    select partition 1


    format fs=ntfs



    now you need to go to


    type cmd

    then right click on cmd and select run as admin

    now do the second part


    (type in your CD drive letter or in my case i mounted the ISO file and made the computer think it was a disk) g: (enter)

    It will then show like this or not G your disk drive letter then type ( cd boot Run )

    G:>cd boot Run

    G:bootbootsect /nt60 e:(the e: is your USB letter with a : )

    Then it will say successfully updated NTFS filesystem boot code

    and so on.


    now copy the files from you install disk to the usb and update your BIOS to boot usb first

  11. Daxeroth says:

    2Ok. I’ve gotta add that some people are complaining WINDOWS 8.1 WONT install from a NTFS formatted drive so I would recommend to type “format fs=fat32 quick” plus making it a QUICK format because if you have a 32-64GB drive then the format fs=ntfs command instructed here will take forever. So, the whole thing would look like this:

    list disk
    select disk n (drive letter)
    create partition primary
    format fs=fat32 quick

  12. Rose says:

    nice post I have seen useful content after long time specifically for usb drives like

  13. methew says:

    Yes working with usb drives like“> wafer usb cards helps a lo

  14. Ronald v/d Born says:

    I try to copy the boot sector ( for me it is J: ) but when i give the command cd boot then it say’s .. system cannot find the path specified …
    can anyone tell me something more about this ?

  15. NightX says:

    ty 🙂

  16. TurboTech says:

    Actually, the diskpart instructions miss out a command. After format you want to type "Assign" to give your pen a drive letter and it’ll show up in windows explorer then too.

  17. sadeepa says:

    this is good. not errors . i like it and that method is userble , grate idea

  18. Wawan says:

    Thanks so much

  19. Mario says:

    Thanks a lot, In second part you have to run "cmd" as administrator, that was my mistake.

    1. Click on Start

    2. Type cmd

    3. then right click on cmd and select run as admin

    Now do the second part.

    Just like Luke said.


  20. kheir2 says:

    thx …i will code some application for that

  21. Robert says:

    Really Helpful post thanks for sharing with us Now I’m buying usb cards from then I will try own myself

  22. Dre4 says:

    This site was very very helpful!

    It took me a few times but I got everything working with 4Gb usb and windows 7.

    To deal with some of the issues that others have mentioned:

    System can not find path specified* in the cmd prompt…

    Make sure you input the folder which contains the boot, and bootsetc files for Windows OS.

    If you have it from a CD, use that as your location. If you downloaded the windows from somewhere and saved it on your computer, then u need to identify each folder that will branch until you reach the boot and boot sect files on your computer.


    C: windowssystem32>cd win7 ( which is the name of my folder that contains windows files)
    C: windowssystem32 win7> cd boot
    C: windowssystem32win7boot> bootsect /nt60 g: (g: is the letter of the usb drive. Check if its g:, e: , or possibly f:)

    Rememeber these are the steps After doing the diskpart and having a formatted usb disk drive that is active.

    Also, when you exit cmd the first time and go back to start menu to input cmd,
    don’t automatically run cmd but right click on the cmd application icon and select run as administrator.

    (Note: if you are getting the Access denied* error when you run the bootsect/nt60 g: command is probably because you are not in administrative mode. Or you have the usb drive window open.)

  23. Aurora Pariseau says:

    Instructions were a tad inconcise.

    When you change directory to G:, that is an unextracted ISO of Windows. In this example, he unextracted his ISO to the root of his G: drive. You can use a tool like 7-zip to unextract an ISO. Once done, change to the directory of your extraction and THEN use
    bootsect to apply changes to your USB drive.

  24. ITzombieguy says:

    I manage an environment with about 12 thousand workstations so there are a lot of desktop techs. Although Diskpart is amazing, As many people have mentioned if you do something wrong you might incurr major data loss. Microsoft has a free tool to put their
    OS (even customized) right onto USB through a GUI based interface. No procurement of the disk necessary.

  25. GG says:

    no need to cd boot for windows 8.1

  26. Irwin Mainway says:

    See above comment – now Microsoft provides an executable to download Windows 8.1 directly to your USB flash drive, no ISO step at all and no product key required.
    Just for fun I downloaded both the ISO for DVD burning, and the USB version. They are identical, based on file sizes.
    Of course that’s just Windows 8.1. Thanks for the info on Windows 7.

  27. Cadeau Gardiner says:


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  29. Wares Noori says:

    It is very help for us thanks man

  30. zeshan maqsood says:

    Thanks a lot

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