How to Create Bootable USB Windows Server 2008 R2 from ISO

Here is how to create bootable USB Windows Server 2008 R2 from ISO files to recover Windows Server 2008 R2.


By Lily Updated on May 29, 2024

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Need to create bootable USB Windows Server 2008 R2

When your Windows Sever 2008 R2 computer crashes and cannot boot as normal, you can make a bootable USB Windows Server 2008 using ISO files. That can work as a recovery disk to help you restore your operating system, and then the computer can start up successfully.

Below, I'll show you how to create bootable USB for Windows Server 2008 R2 using ISO file, you have two ways, namely using Windows USB/DVD download tool and an advanced tool. Please check them first.

Two ways to create Windows Server bootable USB drive

Now, we would like to share you the step-by-step guide to create Windows Server 2008 R2 bootable USB drive for system recovery. And these methods also apply to creating bootable USB in Windows Server 2012 from ISO.

👉 Way 1. With Windows USB/DVD Download Tool
👉 Way 2. With an advanced bootable media tool - AOMEI Backupper Server

Way 1. With Windows USB/DVD Download Tool

To create bootable USB Windows Server 2008 R2 from ISO files, you can make use of Windows USB/DVD Tool provided by Microsoft. Just take these steps listed below.

Warning: all data on the USB drive will be erased in the process of copying ISO files to it, so please make a backup if necessary.

Step 1. Download Windows USB/DVD Download Tool from Microsoft official website onto a working computer if your current computer fails to boot. Also, download the .NET framework 2.0 so that you can run Windows USB/DVD Download Tool successfully.

Step 2. Launch this tool. Click Browse and select (Windows Server 2008 R2) ISO files. Then, click "Next".

Choose Source File

Step 3. Choose media type, USB device or DVD. Here we select "USB device".

Choose USB Device

Step 4. Now, select the USB drive you plan to use for creating Windows Server 2008 R2 bootable drive. Then hit on "Begin copying".

Begin Copying

After everything is done, you can insert this bootable USB drive into the computer with boot issues. To restore the Windows Server 2008 R2 from a backup on the machine, perform the following steps:

Step 1. Boot the Server computer from the created bootable USB drive and press any key when prompted.

Step 2. Choose the proper language options, time and currency format, and keyboard layout and click "Next".

Step 3. Click "Repair your computer" on the "Install Windows" screen.

Step 4. Select "Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier". And click "Next".

Restore System

Step 5. Select a system image backup and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the restoration. 

The most recent image is selected by default. But you can select another one by clicking "Select a system image". Then follow the prompts to restore your computer to an earlier state and get rid of boot problems.

However, the Windows Server 2008 R2 bootable recovery disk made by Windows USB/DVD Download Tool and system image can only work for restoring Windows Server 2008 R2.

It won’t work across different versions of Windows Server. In other words, you cannot use a Windows Server 2008 recovery disk to restore Windows Server 2012, or use a Windows Server 2008 32-bit to repair a 64-bit computer for recovery.

Way 2. With an advanced bootable media tool - AOMEI Backupper Server

To break the limitations of Windows USB/DVD Download Tool, here we would like to share an advanced tool called AOMEI Backupper Server.

It can help you to make a versatile bootable USB drive for all the server computers (both 32 bit and 64 bit), with which you can easily restore all Windows Servers including 2003, 2008 (R2), 2011, 2012 (R2), 2016, 2019 and 2022. You don't need to prepare an ISO file in advance, because this software will take care of the bootable media creation process.

Like the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool, the precondition for a successful recovery is you have a Windows Server system image backup. So you must have at least one system image made by AOMEI Backupper. If you don’t have one and your current system is corrupted, you can still create one on another working computer that runs the OS you prefer and then restore system to new computer with dissimilar hardware. 

Steps to create bootable USB Windows Server 2008 R2:

Step 1. Connect an empty USB drive to a working computer, download AOMEI Backupper Server Free Trial onto the computer.

Download Free Trial Windows Server & PC
Secure Download

Step 2. Install and run AOMEI Backupper Server, select "Tools" and then "Create Bootable Media".

Create Bootable Meida

Step 3. Select Bootable Disc Type between "Linux" and "Windows PE". To create bootable USB Windows Server drive, go for the second one.


Step 4. Now select bootable media. Here we choose "USB Boot Device" and click Next.

Choose Bootable Media

▸If you plan to create bootable USB Windows Server 2008 R2 from ISO, choose "Export ISO files", but you need to burn ISO files to CD/VD via a burning tool after completion. Kind of complicated.
▸If you need to start multiple computers for deployment, you can use AOMEI PXE Boot Tool

After the bootable Windows Server recovery disk is made, plug it into the computer with failing Windows Server and boot the machine from it. Also, remember to connect the disk containing system backup you want to restore.

To restore your Windows Server 2008 (R2), do as follow:

Step 1. After booting from the bootable USB created by AOMEI Backupper, you will be in the main console of this program. Click "Restore" and "Select Image File" to find your system image.

Select Image File Winpe

Step 2. In this screen, tick "Restore this system backup" and click "Next".

Restore Entire Backup

Note: If the hard drive of the current computer is corrupted, please prepare another disk as the restoration path. Please remember to tick "Restore system to other location".

Step 3. Preview the pending operation and click "Start Restore" if there is no mistake. 

Preview Restore

▸If the system image created on a computer with different hardware to the one you are currently restoring the "Universal Restore" feature will be checked by default. It is to ensure your computer can boot successfully after restoring.
▸If the destination disk is an SSD drive, you can tick "SSD Alignment" to boost its reading and writing performance.
▸ If the target disk is larger, click "Edit Partitions" to adjust the size of destination disk.

During a system restore, the program will prompt you to restart the computer, and then the restore operation will be completed under Restart mode. Please wait patiently until the process is completed 100%.


Windows USB/DVD Download Tool is helpful to create bootable USB Windows Server 2008 R2 from ISO. But AOMEI Backupper Server is more flexible. With it, you can create a bootable USB without downloading ISO file first and it's universal. Thus, you can use it on  Windows Server  2008 R2 and other server and PC systems, including Windows Server 2012/2016/2019/2022 and Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista, etc.

In addition, the system recovery process is very convenient. Except for its graphic user interface, it still allows you to restore Windows Server backup images to computer with dissimilar hardware when you don't have a system backup for the failing computer. 

For IT technicians or small companies, it provides the advanced version - AOMEI Backupper TechPlus to help you protect unlimited computers within one computer. Also, it is capable of restoring system image to multiple computers simultaneously, so you don't need to keep repeating this tedious process. To enjoy more useful features, please download it to have a try!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.