Friday, April 19, 2013

Fix: Unable to make a bootable USB stick via the USB/DVD Tool or Manually

NCIX had a great sale on a while ago for some inexpensive 32GB USB 3.0 flash drives so I just had to pick up 3.  After all, I try to travel around with a full set of device drivers, various software tools for troubleshooting, and a bootable WinRE stick just in case.  Imagine my surprise when I went to create a bootable USB stick with Server 2012 when I came across this error:

"We are unable to copy your files.  Please check your USB device and the selected ISO file and try again"

I thought that I had a bad USB stick, so I moved on to the next one ... same thing ... the THIRD one ... same thing!

I left it on the side-burner for a while but today really needed to do some manual server installs.  Came across this excellent post by Devin which outlines the fix (THANKS DEVIN!)

If you don't feel like clicking through to Devin's site (its excellent btw), here are the nitty gritty steps you need to do:

  1. Connect the affected USB stick
  2. Open either CMD or PowerShell (I really need to work more in PS)
  3. Run Diskpart
  4. Type List Disk to bring up the list of current disks on your system
  5. Type Select Disk x where x = the disk number for your USB stick
  6. Type Clean to clear the configuration of that USB stick (Caution, make sure you don't have any files on there that you need as this will erase everything)
  7. Type Create Partition Primary to create a new partition
  8. Type List Disk to verify that the new partition is made.  If you see an offset of 1024KB then the fix worked
  9. Type Exit to close diskpart, then disconnect the USB stick from the system
  10. Plug it back in, it will ask if you wish to format the USB stick, say Yes or Format
You should now be able to make a bootable USB stick!

From what I can tell, this has something to do with how the USB stick was partitioned at the factory.  Maybe it was created without Windows in mind ?