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Run Hyper-V Server from a USB Flash Drive

Published: October 18, 2012

Updated: November 27, 2013

Applies To: Hyper-V Server 2012, Hyper-V Server 2012 R2

The scenario that is described in this topic is only supported for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Microsoft Hyper-V Server supports the ability to boot from a USB flash drive. This topic describes the policy requirements, hardware requirements, and steps required to create and deploy a Hyper-V Server image on an embedded USB flash drive. A USB flash drive with Hyper-V Server can provide virtualization capability for servers that ship with no local hard disk drives, and it offers the same functionality and flexibility as an installation of Hyper-V Server on a spinning disk drive.

The USB flash drive must be properly formatted, prepared with a generalized Hyper-V Server image, and it must have the boot files copied onto it to provide a virtualization experience for customers. The USB flash drive can then be used to boot Hyper-V Server onto any computer that has hardware-assisted virtualization capabilities and is capable of booting from USB.

The directions and limitations in the following topic apply to Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 and Hyper-V Server 2012: Deploying Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on USB Flash Drive.

For Hyper-V Server, the recommended hardware is the same as that recommended for Windows To Go. For more information, see Windows To Go: Feature Overview. Specific USB flash drives that are currently recommended include:

  • Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate

  • Super Talent Express RC8

  • Western Digital My Passport Enterprise

In general, a host computer used for running Hyper-V Server from a flash drive must have the following characteristics:


Parameter Requirement

Boot process

Must be capable of booting with a USB flash drive


Must be certified for use with Windows Server and configurable to boot directly from a USB flash drive. If you are unsure of the ability of the computer to boot from a USB flash drive, check with the hardware manufacturer.

External USB hub

Not supported. Connect the USB flash drive directly to the host computer.

USB version

2.0 or newer

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