First, I removed the DVD drive and installed a drive caddy (http://www.newmodeus.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_7&products_id=400) along with a Seagate 750GB laptop drive from Memory Express.
Next, since my default install image of Windows 7 was missing a few drivers and key software components, I went to the Lenovo web site and downloaded their system update software which managed to get all relevant drivers and conveniently placed them on C:\drivers\win.
The next step was to format the 750GB drive with enough space to hold my Windows Server 2008 R2 installation along with some basic software. I then located my 8GB Patriot USB stick and began to format is as follows:
- Within Windows 7 open an Administrative command prompt and type diskpart
- Then list disk which will show you the available drives. You should see your USB drive and select it by typing select disk ##
- Type clean
- Then create partition primary
- Then active
- Next you need to actually format the USB key. You can choose FAT32 or NTFS and since my WIM install file is customized I chose NTFS as follows format fs=ntfs quick
- Then assign and finally quit the diskpart utility. You now have a bootable USB drive.
Next you need to copy the Windows Server 2008 R2 source media to the USB drive making sure to copy all files (its best to just use xcopy with /s /e /f /h switches).
Now you should be able to boot into Windows Server 2008 R2 with this USB device but MAKE SURE TO PLUG IT INTO THE REAR SLOT of the laptop. If you try any other slot I found it impossible to make Windows find the suitable drivers to proceed with setup.
BONUS: Install drivers from (C:) for the W520 onto USB (E:)
- From C:\Windows\System32 type Dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:E:\Sources\Install.wim. This will show you all images within the WIM file.
- Next, you need to extract the image you want to install the drivers into. Type Dism /Mount-Wim /Wim-File:E:\Sources\Install.wim /Name:"Windows Server 2008 R2 ENTERPRISEFULL" /MountDir:C:\jcstemp\offline
- Next we want to load the drivers recursively as follows: Dism /Image:C:\jcstemp\offline /Add-Driver /Driver:C:\drivers\win /Recurse
- Finally we need to close out our image back into the USB drive as follows: Dism /Unmount-Wim /MountDir:C:\jcstemp\offline /Commit
Now when you install Windows Server 2008 R2 you'll have all the necessary USB 3.0, Video, and chipset drivers to get going!