Creating Bootable USB of SBS 2011 Standard Installation ISO


As discussed in the January 2011 Third Tier webinar on SBS 2011 Standard Installation, creating a bootable USB drive to run the installer from goes MUCH faster than running off a DVD, if you can find a DVD writer and dual layer media for the 6.5GB installation ISO for SBS 2011 Standard. Microsoft provides a tool that makes it very easy (note I said “easy” not “fast”) to transform your SBS 2011 Standard installation ISO into a bootable USB key. Here’s how to do it:

First, you need the following:

  1. A 64-bit Windows 7 system
  2. The Microsoft Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool installed on the Window 7 system ( http://images2.store.microsoft.com/prod/clustera/framework/w7udt/1.0/en-us/Windows7-USB-DVD-tool.exe)
  3. The SBS 2011 Standard Installation ISO

Once you have those in place, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Open the Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool
  2. Click Browse and locate the SBS 2011 Standard Installation ISO file.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Insert the USB media (if it hasn’t already been inserted).
  5. Disable your on-access virus scan on the computer (this can interfere with the copy operations).
  6. Click USB Device.
  7. Select the correct USB media (needs at least 6.5GB space don’t forget) and click Begin copying.
  8. Wait a really, really long time….
  9. When the process completes, close the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool and eject your USB key.
  10. Re-enable the on-access scanning of your anti-virus software.

That’s it, you’re done!

Now, since the USB media is writable (unlike the DVD media), you can do some interesting things with it, like copying your SBS Answer File to the USB key and have it already present when you start your installation or migration. But that also means that you can damage or destroy the install media if you accidentally overwrite or delete any of the files on the USB key, so tread lightly when making changes to the media.

[Note - the genesis of this idea came from Susan Bradley's post of a similar nature from September 2010, enhanced a little with some of the items I've picked up along the way...]