Can Windows Server 2008 run from a USB stick?


  • I'd like to setup a simple file server using Windows Server 2008 R2.  The system will not have any other roles or purposes besides sharing files over SMB (with a slight chance of NFS and iSCSI in the future).

    I have three options on where to install the operating system:

    • Traditional hard drive (ie. WD Raptor 74 GB)
    • USB stick
    • Compact Flash (using a CF-to-SATA adapter)
    Which option is the best for my purpose?

    I'd think that the hard drive might be the fastest but uses the most amount of energy and generates heat.  However, file sharing performance is most important so I don't want to sacrifice that to just save a couple of watts/dollars every month.

    • Moved by Vincent HuModerator Thursday, June 17, 2010 7:12 AM (From:Windows Server 2008 R2 General)
    Thursday, June 17, 2010 1:09 AM


  • Hi,


    Currently, we don’t support to install Windows Serve 2008 on a USB stick. Yes, you can configure Compact Flash (using a CF-to-SATA adapter) as a hard disk, and then install Windows Server 2008 on it. However, I think most of the people will prefer to install Windows Server 2008 to a traditional hard drive. A traditional disk is more stable than a USB stick or Compact Flash card.


    As you mentioned that the file sharing performance, so I think you should have a dedicate share storage(such as a SAN) for file sharing, so the disk for Windows Server 2008 installation will not be  involved in.



    Best Regards,

    Vincent Hu


    Thursday, June 17, 2010 7:12 AM