Thanks to all your support and valuable contributions, I have successfully managed to boot Win 7 x64 from a USB 3 HDD. This tool is really awesome !! Hats off to fujinabc for providing such a simple and easy toolset which supports external USB device booting. Moreover, even supports booting from USB 3 ! I managed to get everything figured out and working thanks to the community contributions on this forum. Special thanks to cdob for his repeated timely support.
This actually ended up being much easier than I thought it would be. So, I want to summarize and document what I have achieved and how I achieved it for the benefit of others who might one day walk into my shoes.
My Objective Was: To be able to install Windows 7 x64 onto an external USB 3.0 hard drive plugged directly into USB 3 ports of a laptop, and then be able to boot into Windows 7 x64 from this USB 3 external HDD. For the record, my laptop is a HP EliteBook 8540w which comes equipped with two built in USB 3.0 ports.
End Result Achieved: Successfully installed Win 7 x64 on my USB 3 HDD. Win 7 x64 Enterprise Boot time from USB 3.0 7200 RPM HDD, is about 22 secs !!! Blazing F-A-S-T performance !!! Copying large files is lightning fast over USB 3 !! I was able to achieve crazy speeds of around 350-400 MB/s while copying a large directory to another directory within the SAME USB 3 HDD. My expectations were exceeded !!! This is crazy fast !!!!!!
Procedure which worked for me:
1) First I copied install.wim from my windows 7 DVD to a read/writable location (c:\mytempfolder). Located my 64-bit version USB 3 drivers from HP's website, and downloaded them, extracted them and put them in a directory called, c:\USB3. I then copied imagex.exe, bcdboot.exe, and bootsect.exe to c:\mytempfolder. I then extracted Fujinab’s toolset to the same c:\mytempfolder.
2) I then injected the required x64 version of my USB 3 driver (nusb3drv.inf) into install.wim using the following series of commands:
(create a mount directory into a convenient location)
Dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:E:\sources\install.wimRead your output. In my case it was “Microsoft Windows Setup (x64)”
Next, I mounted install.wim by issuing the following command:
Dism /Mount-Wim /WimFile:E:\sources\install.wim /Name:"Microsoft Windows Setup (x64)" /MountDir:c:\mount
In the above example E: refers to my Windows 7 source drive. (Need to make sure that this source location is both READ and WRITEABLE. Adjust this to your drive letter). I made the mistake before of reading the source from the original DVD, which obviously led to WRITE permissions error. So make sure the drive location you use, is WRITEABLE with the required permissions.
Then, I issued the following command to inject my USB 3 driver:
Dism /Image:C:\mount /Add-Driver /Driver:c:\USB3\x64\nusb3drv.inf
Next, I un-mounted and committed changes to the install.wim located in c:\mount by issuing the following command:
Dism /unmount-Wim /mountdir:c:\mount /commit
(Note: I had no interest in 32 bit version, so I ignored the 32 bit version USB 3 drivers. Also, in my case, I didn’t have to worry about injecting any USB 3 drivers into boot.wim, since for my scenario, boot.wim was not required. In your case, you may have to inject drivers into boot.wim. My BIOS was fully capable of booting from an external USB 3 port on my laptop.)
3) Then I made the following changes to usb.reg by adding the following lines:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\sys\ControlSet001\services\nusb3hub] "Start"=dword:00000000 "Group"="boot bus extender" [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\sys\ControlSet001\services\nusb3xhc] "Start"=dword:00000000 "Group"="boot bus extender"
4) Then I made the following changes to UsbBootWatcher.conf by adding the following lines:
[nusb3hub] Start@REG_DWORD=0 Group@REG_SZ="Boot Bus Extender" [nusb3xhc] Start@REG_DWORD=0 Group@REG_SZ="Boot Bus Extender"
5) Then using the Windows 7 standard Disk Management Tool, I setup the required target partition on my USB 3 external drive where I planned to install Win 7. I formatted this partition, and finally set it ACTIVE. I double checked, to make sure that my changes were actually reflected as intended.
6) Next, I made sure that my BIOS was set to allow booting from my USB 3 port.
7) Finally, I ran fujinab’s tool set, by running installer.cmd at an elevated DOS prompt.
8) When I was prompted to reboot my machine, I ensured I was booting from my USB 3 HDD.
That’s it … It worked, and the results are amazing !!
Thanks again to this wonderful forum and to cdob and others for their support. Thanks to wonko the sane for pointing me in the right direction and setting me on the right track. Of course, a very special thanks is owed to fujinabc for his extremely valuable contribution of providing this magic tool set.
I hope I can re-pay this gratitude, by documenting what worked for me based on my requirements and setup, in case someone else in the future has similar requirements.
Thank you everyone !! You have all been very helpful.