I previously posted an article on Installing Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 from USB Stick. Iâ€™ve been using this process for a while and itâ€™s worked beautifully! However, we recently got in a PowerEdge R510 (12x drive bays) and our RAID10 array is larger than 2TB, so I ran into the 2GB MBR limit.
If you Google around, TONS of people run into problems with this. Ultimately, the solution is different for every EFI implementation. With Dellâ€™s uEFI v2.1 (uEFI before v2.0 does not work with Windows, FYI), the solution was rather simple but me and a team of support engineers at Dell spent a better part of half a day to figure it out.
- First of all, the USB stick MUST be formatted as a FAT32 drive. NTFS will not work!
- Next, follow my instructions from Installing Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 from USB Stick. This will get you a USB stick that will work for non-GPT installs, but we need to modify it for EFI installs using Dellâ€™s uEFI implementation.
- Now, hereâ€™s the part that wasted so much of our time! On your USB stick, go into the H:\efi\microsoft** folder and copy the *boot folder into the *H:\efi** folder.
- Next, go into an existing install of Windows 2008 R2 and copy the bootmgfw.efi file out of c:\Windows\Boot\EFI** into the USB stickâ€™s *H:\efi\boot* folder but rename it to **BOOTx64.EFI (not case sensitive).
At this point, the USB drive should be bootable to Dellâ€™s uEFI v2.1 (and likely other versions) in a way that makes Windows happy!
These steps should also work for Windows Vista x64 SP1 (and newer), Windows 7 x64, and Windows Server 2008 x64 SP1 (and newer). If you have a 32-bit version of Windows, then give up (or really, upgrade to a 64-bit OS, are you crazy?!).