I have a downloaded disk image for the windows server operating system that I want to put on a new harddrive.

I don't currently have a dvd or usb stick available so i'm trying to do without.

Will it be possible to while booted up in windows mount the disk image in daemon tools and run the setup to format and install windows on the new harddrive?

To be clear I'll restate. I'm saying that I have a complete working computer I'm booting up with. The new hard drive will be installed WITH the old one at the same time.

Using the disk image in a virtual drive, I'll be attempting to install windows on the other hard rive. Will it work?

Be clear I'm not asking if I can use a virtual disk on the new harddrive to install, I'm not that stupid.

  • If your asking if you can install from a virtual drive, unless its seen by BIOS, that wouldn't be possible. – Ramhound Feb 28 '13 at 19:22
  • Ok yeah that's what I meant, I seem to be having trouble articulating this.lol – cody Feb 28 '13 at 19:23

You can create a virtual drive from ISO image using GRUB and memdisk, but it doesn't always work. Still worth giving it a try anyway.

First install NeoGrub (using EasyBCD, how-to here, skip the Configure button), then put your ISO image in the root of some partition. Drop memdisk onto that partition too (download it here, you want just the file memdisk from folder memdisk).

Reboot your computer, choose NeoGrub from the boot menu and type those commands in the GRUB command line:

find --set-root /memdisk
kernel /memdisk iso
initrd /YourIsoFileName.iso

Wait until the image is loaded into RAM (you need at least as much RAM as the ISO size + 1 GB) and type boot.

  • That's actually an even cooler option than what I was trying to do! But what I wanted to do actually ended up working. All I had to do was plug in the new hard drive and format it, then when I ran the setup utility it detected the hard drive and let me install to it with no problems. What you recommended is definitely something i'll keep in mind next time. – cody Feb 28 '13 at 21:33

For those coming here from Google...

If you trying to install Windows, chances are you already have a older distribution of Windows working.

After you mount the image, you need start the setup.exe file, it will open a window that allows you the install the newer version on Windows.

There is only one downside, it doesn't allow you to format the drive before installing (for that you need to boot from the DVD).

  • RSFalcon7 it doesn't work, after reboot it asks for win cd. – user403827 Jan 2 '15 at 10:43
  • I did this multiple times, in various computers, this never happend to me. Which windows did you tried? – RSFalcon7 Jan 6 '15 at 21:30

Actually, it would work even if you were running on the drive you wanted to install to. I used DameonTools to mount an ISO and installed to the same hard drive i was running on with no problems.


gronostaj's answer almost worked. I tried that out when I wanted to install Window 7 64 bit when I was using Window 7 32 bit. I have enough RAM (hardware wise) for the Iso but it seems that Neogrub (booted from the Window 7 32bit's partition) only recognizes 3.2 GB RAM, which is not enough.

The error was insufficient memory of Ramdisk. I'd assume that if you're running a 64 bit system this will work.

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