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Microsoft Windows Computer Imaging Creating a USB Bootable SCCM Drive


Summary. Many large businesses and organizations use Microsoft SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) for imaging their computers and assisting with the administration, management, security, and inventory of computers.

Typically, a bootable CD is created that allows a computer to connect over the network to a central server that provides system images. The image can be applied to the computer, saving many hours during the setup process.

With newer computers, it’s possible to startup from a USB memory stick. Assuming you have an SCCM bootable CD, the following instructions will allow you to make a bootable USB memory stick.

  1. Attach an empty USB key to a computer, and then boot it using your SCCM Image Installation CD.
  2. When it finishes loading everything, and you’re at the main screen, press the F8 key. This will take you to a command prompt such as X:\sms\bin\i386
  3. Enter the following commands (pressing the return key after each one) to prepare the USB key
      1. This will take you into the DISKPART utility – a command line utility for partitioning and formatting drives.
    2. LIST DISK
      1. This will help identify the disk number of the USB memory stick. It will normally be listed as DISK 1
    3. SELECT DISK 1
      1. Presuming the USB drive is DISK 1. If it is another disk drive, then use the appropriate number.
    4. CLEAN
    6. ACTIVE
    7. FORMAT FS=FAT32
      1. The formatting process can take some time.
    9. EXIT
      1. This will exit the DISKPART utility and return you to the previous command prompt.
    10. XCOPY D:\*.* /S /E /F E:\
      1. This will copy the SCCM installation files to the USB drive.
      2. The above assumes that your CD is drive letter D and the USB drive is drive letter E (as set in step H above).
  4. Once the copy process is done, type Exit and press the return key. This will return you to the SCCM screen.
  5. Then cancel from the current screen, and cancel from the previous screen (the Task Sequence Wizard). When asked, “Are you sure you want to cancel?” click the Yes button.
  6. This will cause the computer to restart.
  7. Remove the CD during restart and test the USB drive by starting the computer to that drive. For Dell computers, you’ll press F12 for the boot menu and choose the USB drive as your boot/startup device.


By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com