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Thread: Use an SSD as Windows Server install source

  1. #1
    Crabby Smurf Umfriend's Avatar
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    Default Use an SSD as Windows Server install source

    Weird Q likely...

    So I have this old PC that I want to use to check out Windows Server 2016 Essentials. I have an evaluation ISO that I can use. I have two issues:
    1. The PC is old. It will run the OS but it won;t boot from USB, so using a stick is not an option
    2. It has a DVD player but the iso is over 5GB so I can't burn to a normal DVD...

    The idea: Get the installation software to run from an SSD

    The Q: How do I get the iso to one SSD so that it will boot from that SSD (and install on another but that is besides the point)?
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    Super MURCer Marshmallowman's Avatar
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    what motherboard... some can boot usb but need to "fiddled" a bit. Older Gigabyte boards are quite fiddly with usb booting.

    You could try a network install...never done it myself but it I think something like this (PXE?)

    https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E62159_01...9b1026698.html

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    I had quite good successes using Rufus ( https://rufus.akeo.ie ) to create bootable SD cards from ISO (for a Raspberry PI). Don't know if it would also work to make a bootable SSD from an windows install iso...

    I can second MMM's PXE boot suggestion; I have used it to install Windows on an old laptop that could not boot form USB. It has been a few years, so I don't remember which software I used, but there are a number of PXE boot servers available. It is a matter of configuring that one and setting PXE boot on the computer.

    edit: forgot to add. My laptop which has no setting to boot form USB (and does not boot from a flash drive) did boot from a CF-card reader - I discovered this long after the PXE boot setup. No idea why it accepts that as a boot device, but check because maybe you may have some USB device from which it boots.
    Last edited by VJ; 10th September 2018 at 03:40.
    pixar
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    Crabby Smurf Umfriend's Avatar
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    Motherboard? No idea. It is an old consumer HP machine running an Athlon X215. I Serioulsy doubt it support booting over PXE but I could have a look. It might have aCF-card reader though but from memory, it is not a boot priority option that the BIOS accepts..

    Edit: Rufus apparantly has the option to List USB Hard Drvies. Given that I can connect the SSD through a USB -> SATA connector, that might work. Will report.
    Last edited by Umfriend; 10th September 2018 at 05:32.
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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umfriend View Post
    Motherboard? No idea. It is an old consumer HP machine running an Athlon X215. I Serioulsy doubt it support booting over PXE but I could have a look. It might have aCF-card reader though but from memory, it is not a boot priority option that the BIOS accepts..
    PXE is quite widely supported and quite old.

    My old laptop also has no such boot priority option for usb or so, but somehow the USB card reader shows up in the list of possible boot devices as a harddisk. It does not see other flash drives. Maybe it is related to the type of device the card reader reports to the bios, I don't know, but worth a shot. Maybe try different flashdrives as well, you never know if one works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Umfriend View Post
    Edit: Rufus apparantly has the option to List USB Hard Drvies. Given that I can connect the SSD through a USB -> SATA connector, that might work. Will report.
    Ok!
    An alternative program is uunetbootin.
    https://unetbootin.github.io/
    Have had less luck with it in my situation, but maybe your experiences are reversed. It also has options to show all harddrives, so perhaps it will allow you to write the iso file to the ssd when it is connected via SATA. Might make a difference.
    pixar
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    Crabby Smurf Umfriend's Avatar
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    Well, Rufus did the job. First mistake was having a GPT partition style but after correcting that, it is running the install.

    Thanks!
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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    I saw this too late but for Windows install you just need:
    - NTFS formated bootable partition (use diskpart to mark active)
    - extract Windows install DVD iso into partition (7 zip does the job or mount and copy)

    I have 64GB USB key with Win10 En, Si and Win7 Pro OEM En and Si and I just move the one I want to install to root of USB that is marked as active.

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    Crabby Smurf Umfriend's Avatar
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    But how do you create (i'm gonna expose myself as the noob I am) a bootable partition? In my days, you would use the sys command...
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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umfriend View Post
    Well, Rufus did the job. First mistake was having a GPT partition style but after correcting that, it is running the install.
    Great to hear!
    pixar
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  10. #10
    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    Something like

    CMD > diskpart
    list disk
    select disk 3
    list partition
    select partition 5
    active partition

    You don't need to put system in boot sector, just extract the iso to partition. Had to use large WD USB drive to install Windows once and USB media creator tool wouldn't let me use it, so this is when I learned that.

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