Create Windows Server 2016 bootable USB (Rufus)


In a previous note, I created a Windows Server 2016 bootable USB using the command line. This time I will use a small application called Rufus that does all the hard work for you, though, from my experience, it’s a bit slower copying files to the USB stick.

Just a side note: with this app you can not only create Windows USB bootable thumb drives but you can also use it to create Linux bootable USB thumb drives.

So, let’s start!


Create a Windows Server 2016 Bootable USB

Before starting

Download Rufus latest version from the Rufus official website and save it to your computer. It’s a single file application, so no installation needed. Just run it!

Have your Windows ISO file ready as we’re going to need it later on, to “burn” it onto the USB stick. For this note, I’m using a Windows Server 2016 ISO that I downloaded from Microsoft.


Burning the ISO with Rufus


Please remember:

Rufus will clean your USB stick and delete all the data in it!!

I will not be responsible if you erase all your data if you select the wrong disk!


From the application main screen select the drive you want to use. In my configuration it’s drive D:

I believe the minimum USB size for creating the boot disk are 4GB, but nowadays, the best option is to get a 16GB or 32GB USB stick.

Do not fill the rest of the options because Rufus will fill them automatically when we select the ISO image.

Let’s choose now the Windows Server 2016 ISO image that has been previously downloaded. For that press the button shown below:

Create a Windows Server 2016 bootable USB with Rufus


Browse to the path where you saved the ISO image, select it and press “Open” (sorry for the Portuguese “Abrir”):

Create a Windows Server 2016 bootable USB with Rufus


As you can see the “Create a bootable disk using” changed from “FreeDos” to “ISO Image”, and all the previous options are automatically selected, label filled and two new options showed up:

  1. Standard Windows installation
  2. Windows To Go

We’ll use the 1st option: “Standard Windows installation”. The second option is used to create a Windows To Go USB stick, from which you can boot Windows directly from the USB drive. I have never tried this option. If any of you fancy giving it a go let me know in the comments! Read more about it here:

Your Rufus should look like this, where, again, the drive letter should reflect the drive letter assigned by your computer to your USB stick!

Create a Windows Server 2016 bootable USB with Rufus


If you’d like to watch what is going on just press the “Log” button and new window will pop-up, as shown below. Press the “Start” button to start the process of creating the USB stick.

Create a Windows Server 2016 bootable USB with Rufus



Create a Windows Server 2016 bootable USB with Rufus



After completed, plug the USB to any computer you’d like to start it with and, if your BIOS settings are properly set-up, the computer will directly boot to the Windows Server 2016 installation screen.


As always, if you have any suggestions or improvements, please leave a comment.

If you liked this article please feel free to share it with your friends.

And… Thank you for reading!


12 thoughts on “Create Windows Server 2016 bootable USB (Rufus)

  • January 22, 2018 at 11:04

    Thank YOU for reading!

  • February 22, 2018 at 02:07

    Good stuff right here. Had to do this so I could start working on a WDS

    • February 22, 2018 at 09:15

      Thank you! And thank you for reading!

  • June 6, 2018 at 16:31

    For some reason when I go to the iso location, it does not show up. It’s an iso archive and I unzipped it as well and it still doesn’t show up. Any tips?

    • June 6, 2018 at 17:06

      Hi KEv and thank you for your comment!
      Where are you downloading the ISO from? I’m asking you that because downloading from Microsoft’s website the file already comes in ISO format and you don’t need to unzip it anywhere.
      Let me know if you have further doubts.

  • February 8, 2019 at 04:44

    Thank you works nicely for Windows Server 2019

    • February 8, 2019 at 09:05

      Glad it helped you!

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