Installing Windows 2008 R2 from USB Stick via EFI on Dell PowerEdge servers


I previously posted an article on Installing Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 from USB Stick. I’ve been using this process for a while and it’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 Dell’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.

  1. First of all, the USB stick MUST be formatted as a FAT32 drive. NTFS will not work!
  2. 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 Dell’s uEFI implementation.
  3. Now, here’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.
  4. 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 stick’s H:\efi\boot\ folder but rename it to BOOTx64.EFI (not case sensitive).

At this point, the USB drive should be bootable to Dell’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?!).

10 Comments

  1. Comment by lukasware on May 13, 2011 4:23 pm

    you are brilliant for figuring this out (even if Dell helped) and thanks for posting this…worked perfectly.

  2. Comment by Bigops on June 13, 2011 9:38 pm

    I have been surfing around the web to find a solution for installing Windows 7 on UFI on a Lenovo workstation, but was not able to find much help on this. Even though this solution was for Dell it worked like a chram on Lenovo. No I am able to UFI boot to the machine.

  3. Comment by Garfieldt on August 5, 2011 12:20 am

    thx a lot, have been searching around some time to find a solution for my PE T610 and finally found the working solution here.

  4. Comment by Mr. Fake on August 23, 2011 5:53 pm

    #3 Was exactly what I needed on this for some proprietary hardware. Thanks.

  5. Comment by Alex on September 29, 2011 3:21 pm

    If you don’t have any Windows 2008 R2 installation availavable it is possible to take out bootmgfw.efi from the DVD, it is needed the Windows AIK though:

    1. In a command prompt use Imagex to mount the default image embeded on the SO media:
    Create a folder (i.e. C:\folder)
    now use: imagex /mount X:\sources\install.wim 2 C:\folder (Where ‘X’ is the drive unit of intallation)

    2. Now this will give us an image of Windows Server 2008, so we should have the file in C:\folder\windows\boot\efi

    3.now run “imagex /unmount C:\folder” (this will delete the image files that were mounted)

    Hope this helps

    Disclaimer: I’m from Argentina, that’s probably why my english really sucks

  6. Comment by David on March 24, 2013 8:37 pm

    Wow – thank you SOOOOO much. This solved the problem for Win8 too. Thanks!

  7. Comment by Ryley on April 28, 2013 7:25 pm

    This worked perfectly, I spent hours on this before coming across your post. Thank you very much!

  8. Comment by Charles on July 2, 2013 6:41 pm

    Worked like a charm for me too on windows server 2012 on a dell r320.. also, if you don’t have any running servers nearby to copy the file from, you can take it from a windows 7 (x64) client

  9. Comment by Naveed on August 16, 2013 2:28 am

    Thank you very much. I have spent almost 12 hours in figuring out and trying things but your post really save my day. Thanks

  10. Comment by Morlex on August 16, 2013 10:48 am

    WUHAAA THANKS you helped me so much.

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