How to Create a Portable Bootalbe Windows 8 USB Drive

Here’s how to Run Windows 8 from a USB. Not be confused with installing Windows from a USB drive. Instead of installing it on the drive, we’re just going to run it from the portable USB drive.

To do this there is a few things we need:

So grab those few things and lets get started, you should have your Windows 8 PC booted up and your USB connected.

Windows Automated Installation Kit

We need to obtain a copy of imagex.exe, it is distributed as part of the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit) which can be downloaded from the Microsoft website.

Note: The download is About 1.7GB

Once the Windows Automated Installation Kit download has completed  Burn it to a DVD. Using an .ISO Burning Software. this will need to be installed on your Windows 8 PC. The install is just, next, next, finish. It doesn’t require any thinking.

Once the Windows AIK has finished installing, if you are going to Create a Bootable USB 32-Bit version of Windows 8 Developer Preview then  navigate to: C:Program FilesWindows AIKToolsx86 and send imagex.exe to the root of drive C:

If you are going to Create a Bootable USB 64-Bit version of Windows 8 Developer Preview then navigate to: C:Program FilesWindows AIKToolsamd64 and send imagex.exe to the root of drive C:

Video Tutorial:

To Create The Bootable USB

At this point you need to insert the Windows 8 DVD on you Computer, Enable the administrator account By Right-click My Computer -> Manage -> Local users and Groups -> Users folder ->  Administrator -> and De-select Account is disabled.

Portable Bootalbe Windows 8 USB Drive

Now log off and log in as the Administrator account. and press the “Windows key” plus “R” Key on your keyboard.

In the Run window type CMD and click OK. it will open the command prompt window.

Now type the following commands into the command Window:

List Disk

Identify your USB Number Then run the following commands:

Select Disk 1 (Replace Disk 1 with whatever number you USB Disk is, seen on video)
Create Partition Primary
Select Partition 1
Format FS=NTFS Quick
Exit to leave Diskpart, but keep the command Window open.

To expand the WIM file onto your USB type the following command

C:imagex.exe /apply D:sourcesinstall.wim 1 F:

Note: Substitute the D: for the drive letter that your Windows 8 DVD is in, and the F: for the drive letter of your USB.

Now wait for Windows to expand the WIM file onto your USB. Once done, a success message will be displayed.

To copy the files needed to make the USB bootable to the flash drive. run the following command:

bcdboot.exe F:windows /s F: /f ALL

Substitute the F: for the drive letter of your USB.

You are Done!! now you have a full installation of Windows 8 Developer Preview on your USB. The first time you boot from the USB, Windows will install all the drivers you need for the PC you booted on.


I started this tech blog back in 2011 as a place to write down processes I took to fix my client systems and network. Now I write some tips and tricks to help others with the tech issues that one might encounter.

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