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Create a Bootable Windows Home Server 2011 USB Flash Drive

I am a Windows Home Server (WHS) enthusiast. Recently I bought an HP ProLiant MicroSever. I was about to install WHS 2011 on it, when I realized it didn’t have a DVD ROM drive. Rather than waste time putting one in (how often do you need a disc anyway?) I installed it by making a bootable USB flash drive. Here’s how.

First you’ll need a an 8 GB flash drive. The ISO is larger than 4GB. Then download and install the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool.

Start the USB / DVD Download Tool and browse to the location of your WHS 2011 ISO file. Click Next.

Load ISO Path

Next for Media Type, click the USB Device button.

For the next step choose the flash drive you’re using to install WHS 2011. Click Begin Copying.


Now the USB Download tool will start. It will format the flash drive first, the copy the ISO files over. Wait for the process to complete. The amount of time it takes will vary between systems.


Success! The WHS 2011 Bootable USB Flash drive is ready to use. Close out of the utility.


Remove the bootable flash drive you just created, and plug it into an available USB slot on your home server.


When you turn on the server, go into the BIOS and make sure it’s set to boot from a USB drive. Then start your server and go through the Windows Home Server 2011 installation.

WHS 2011 Ready to Use

Note: I installed WHS 2011 on an HP ProLiant Micro Server with the bootable USB flash drive.

After the screen below, the server reboots the first time. I had to press F10 to enter the BIOS and make the hard drive the first boot device.

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First Reboot Install

Once the installation is finished, set up the server and install your first client computer on your network.

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8 Responses to Create a Bootable Windows Home Server 2011 USB Flash Drive

  1. Alan April 3, 2012 at 5:12 am #

    Where do you get the ISO? Can I just create it from the Install DVD?

    • Brian Burgess April 3, 2012 at 6:47 am #

      You can create it from the Install DVD if you have one. I don’t believe there is a shrink wrap version available…only OEM.

      I got mine from my Technet Subscription.

    • Steve Krause April 3, 2012 at 7:56 am #

      Also, you can create the ISO using IMGBURN — it’s an easy to use free utility that will take a DVD or CD and create the ISO for you. Simple.

    • Alan April 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

      Thanks, used ImgBurn, all up & running now.

  2. Sundy November 28, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    Great article, i just installed my WHS and its up and running. I noticed that this OS does not come with antivirus, do you have any free recommended program, is microsoft security essential works on this OS?

    • Astrodude April 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      MSE can be installed –

      1. RDP into your WHS 2011 server and create a folder on your WHS 2011 desktop
      2. download and save the MSE file (64 bit) into the folder
      3. hold the shift key down and right click the folder and select “Open command window here”
      4. in the command window, type “mseinstall /disableoslimit
      5. done

  3. sasa January 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Hi Brian,
    Did you Create a Bootable Windows Home Server 2011 on USB Flash Drive only for installing the WHS 2011 on a regular HDD in one of the four disk slots in a HP ProLiant MicroSever, or you are actually running the WHS 2011 system from that USB Flash Drive and using the HDD space for data storage and backups?
    Thanks for the answer.
    Regards Sasa

  4. Sergiu December 5, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    haha brian, great to see another one! I’m in the same spot. Tried for 45mins to find the optical drive eject button (how lame) and realized I don’t have one. Ended up here! Thanks for the post, bookmarked for tomorrow.

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