Install Vista, 7 or Windows 2008 without a DVD drive

My latest trouble came when I was trying to install Windows 2008 Server to an older development server that only has a CD-ROM drive. Its a micro form factor and there is no good way to get a DVD drive in it. Even hanging one off the side has hiccups with this system. So how do you do it? Or what if you server doesn’t even have an optical media drive?

VistaPE is the answer. There are a series of windows that have PE behind the name. These aren’t new versions like XP is but rather it stands for Preinstallation Edition. What these disc are good for include hard drive data recovery, virus removal and installation of operating systems. In today’s world I’ve been trying to get rid of my massive collection of CDs and DVDs and converting them into digital ISO copies on a TB external drive. So if you mount and copy the ISO to a folder on an external drive and connect it to the PE computer, you will be able to run the setup program without needing a DVD drive.

Here are the steps :

1.) Connect a usb hard drive with copy `n`paste version of the install disc to the computer you wish to install

2.) Insert a VistaPE disc and boot to it

3.) Once VistaPE finishes starting (it takes a while) go to My Computer

4.) Open the external drive and find the setup file

5.) Start installing the new OS

Its really is an easy process and alot better and faster than hacking something else up to get a DVD drive on the system without one.

I'm a 32 year old UIUC Computer Engineer building mobile apps, websites and hardware integrations with an interest in 3D printing, biotechnology and Arduinos.

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