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Windows 7 embedded USB BOOT?


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#1 Slaughter

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 06:34 AM

Hi,

Is anyone able to tell me if Windows 7 embedded std can be booted from a USB device? I dont want to be able to install from a USB i want to be able to boot my custom image from a USB? MS say it is possible but give no information on how to do it.

Is it possible? How can i do it?

#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:40 AM

Hi,

Is anyone able to tell me if Windows 7 embedded std can be booted from a USB device? I dont want to be able to install from a USB i want to be able to boot my custom image from a USB? MS say it is possible but give no information on how to do it.

Is it possible? How can i do it?


READ the stickies.

In this very Forum there are 3 (three) tutorials dedicated to the topic:
http://www.boot-land...hp?showforum=77
Choose and follow one of them to the letter.

What works with "normal" Windows 7 WILL work with Embedded too (the opposite may not).

Obviously it also depends on which components you add to the build, unlike "normal" Wondows 7, the embedded version is a "customized build" and you may miss some components in yours.

:)
Wonko

#3 gayjinn

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 02:15 AM

Windows Embedded 7 std will boot from USB without the complex procedures Wonko the Sane is referring you to. When building an image, select customization of the installation features and use Bootable USB Stack instead of the normal USB Stack. This will result in an installation that boots from USB, and does so on different machines. (Did for me.)

(It would be nice if one could simply buy personal licenses of Embedded 7 and use them for mobile computing.)

What I'd like to know is whether anyone has tried the following surgery on Embedded 7 and Windows 7:
- Extract Bootable USB Stack from Embedded 7 (there's a standalone cab for that)
- Plant the stack into Windows 7 installer (iso, wim, whatever) or an existing installation
- Fix registry to support the change
- PROFIT? (flawless usb booting on any machine)

I'm trying this now, but my knowledge of Windows internals is limited. Advice would be appreciated.

#4 Slaughter

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 10:36 PM

so you just installed the usb bootable feature, captured using imagex then applied to a usb drive and it booted?

#5 gayjinn

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:27 PM

Slaughter, I just used the ISO image and ran it insided VMWare with a physical disk partition as the virtual destination. I'm pretty sure everything will look the same if you run it from a bootable CD on physical hardware. When the installer launched, I selected to build an image and customized features to include USB boot, the installer then proceeded to install the system onto the USB drive partition I had previously selected. I expected that it would produce another ISO, but it didn't :cheers:, so everything worked in one step. I understand one can also build a custom ISO or answers file using the Embedded Toolkit (which is also available for download for free as a trial version lasting around 180 days). You can probably also use a third-party tool to do so.

#6 vvurat

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:54 PM

and what is the result? did you boot from that usb after? do you think microsoft will allow people to carry their operating systems on their pocket? isn't it the reason why we are here try everything to boot (because we can not do that). I don't think from usb booting microsoft mean you can install windows to your usb disks and carry in your pocket. probably something like "you can boot and install from usb", not "install to usb". or something different kind of usb hardware special for embedded devices.

i converted emb to winpe. but it doesn't have same functionality that it should be. because all files are emb but i complately modified registry hives.

winpeemb

best stuff is with emb kernel there is very little programs works background and uses less sources. not a flawless boot only a winpe. if there is a guide or you could boot from usb please explain to us too.

#7 gayjinn

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:21 AM

Like I said, the result was booting off USB on several laptops. Before that, I was trying the approaches found elsewhere (including boot-land) with rather limited success, because I'm after a really portable solution that would work anywhere.

Microsoft does not want us regular users booting from USB. However, unlike Windows 7, Windows Embedded is not for regular users and it is not seen as a complete replacement. Although largely compatible with regular 7, it has licensing limitations. First of all, it is targeted to device developers who need an enabling platform. Handhelds, other mobile devices, POS terminals, and so on. The license will explicitly prohibit using an installation of Windows Embedded like a regular universal workplace. For instance, you cannot install a Microsoft Office onto Windows Embedded, unless it is to support the primary application (the one that is enabled by using the Embedded version of the OS).

Whatever our assumptions may be ("burn to and install from USB" only), Windows Embedded does run completely from USB drives (both flash and hdd); this functionality is officially declared by Microsoft, and I know at least one device to have used this in a commercial product. I also tried this myself with more success than any other approach (except, maybe, for WinPE).

I can certainly post the procedure I used for installing the Embedded onto USB. I'll try to do that soon. In the meantime, vvurat, do you think it is possible to get a personal use license for Windows Embedded? :cheers: I'd be really interested if you know a store where to buy that.

P.S. My question to everyone about "porting" of the Bootable USB Stack from Embedded to 7 still stands. Any advice would be appreciated.

P.P.S. Embedded is highly componentized, and in a way that makes it somewhat different from a componentized regular 7. Some of the functions in the system builder are mutually exclusive. E.g. you can have either Windows Explorer Shell or Command Line Shell, not both at the same time. So I really believe that tricking Windows 7 into running from USB is the better way.

#8 gayjinn

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 01:35 AM

vvurat, I've thrown together a quick how-to, I hope it is quite comprehensible.
If someone tries this and has problem, I'll be happy to help resolve.

I don't have the patience to reformat the text so it would be readable on the forum, so is it ok to publish a PDF or something?

#9 amalux

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 04:23 AM

You need to upload it to MediaFire (or similar) and post the link here. I'm curious how you set this up, my experience with ES7 is not so rosy, huge, bloated, useless builds and bsod 7b for UFD (yes, I selected bootable stack). I lost interest in it but maybe I missed something.

#10 gayjinn

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 05:04 AM

Amalux,

http://www.mediafire...me3wqk34ata0xli
500kb pdf

It seems strange to me that a UFD would bsod with USB Bootable Stack,
because, like I said earlier, this is an official feature of WE, there are corresponding
MSDN articles. Haven't tried UFD myself though.

Also, google for secure pocket drive by Spyrus for another confirmation that
this approach really works.

Edited by gayjinn, 02 November 2010 - 05:19 AM.


#11 vvurat

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 08:18 AM

Thank you for the guide. It is enough clear. I will try too.

In the meantime, vvurat, do you think it is possible to get a personal use license for Windows Embedded? smile.gif I'd be really interested if you know a store where to buy that.


Purchase Windows Embedded Standard 7

1. Through an Authorized Windows Embedded Distributor
The Distributor will assist you in purchasing the full packaged product (FPP) for Windows Embedded Standard 7. You will also receive a courtesy copy of the Additional Licensing Provisions, which define distribution rights and restrictions that are specific to each Microsoft embedded licensed product.

You can perform unlimited field testing and prototyping on any number of device prototypes before you ship commercially.

Find an Authorized Windows Embedded Distributor near you.

#12 amalux

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 02:10 AM

It seems strange to me that a UFD would bsod with USB Bootable Stack..

Thank you for the nice tutorial, very easy to follow :hyper:

Yes it's strange but that's what happens; I've tried again to confirm a couple things and indeed, on this machine at least, it won't boot. This is a UFD that I boot from all the time, same machine, without issue. In the past I was using real hardware instead of VM and the built in ES7 partition tools to setup the drive instead of diskpart. I wanted to try your diskpart/VM method on the off chance it would work better to setup the UFD but all attempts end in Stop 7B ;)

Just for sanity check, I tried same on my external HD and that works fine. I still don't like embedded, good for PDA's and smart phones but makes a poor substitute for other portable OS solutions. It's too big and clumsy for a PE and not nearly as nice as a full install on USB so, bottom line, nice tutorial but embedded sucks :cheers:

btw, I have no idea about the 'surgery' on the bootable USB stack but why is this necessary when we have tools like PWBoot?

:cheers:

#13 gayjinn

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 02:30 AM

amalux, I have to confess that PWBoot is one of the few options I haven't tried yet.
I have read the relevant thread though and I got the impression that PWBoot suffered
from same problems as other W7-on-USB methods. I.e. it works on one machine, then
bsods on another. Am I wrong?

#14 amalux

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 04:32 AM

I'm sure there's no fool-proof solution or guaranteed result in every situation (I'm certain not with embedded as well :hyper: ); according to developer:

So far, I booted my Vista from USB on differences of machines (from Intel P4 to Quad CPU, Desktop to Laptop) without any BSOD issues.
Except Boot Manager throw 0xc000000e error with some older machine (BIOS has poor support for USB booting?)

and

It will run on different hardware, I tried to boot my Windows 7 from USB on different computer including desktop and laptop, it worked well.

Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL)-independent

Beginning with Windows Vista you can maintain a single Windows image that applies to all HAL types. There is no need to create special images for single core and multi cores - Windows will automatically select the approperiate HAL for your system at boot. However, you will need to maintain different images for different processor architectures (32-bit and 64-bit platforms).

Source: http://www.elbacom.com/embedded/7x7

There were some issues reported with earlier versions which afaik have been resolved. I have not had an issue on the few machines I've tested but intend to test more as time goes on and they become available. Also, I've only tested on external USB HD (WD3200ME), not on UFD (mine are too small for full install). Also (maybe important), I only use Acronis TrueImage (97.8398) for backup original/restore to USB (Win7.7600x64) but not using any Universal Restore or SysPrep etc. I figure if I run into hw issues, I can step it up to use UR or sysprepped image with PWBoot.

Be careful of off topic remarks and esoteric issues raised. I know some people reported troubles but you know how that goes; better to test yourself and see. Now, if we can just get Dhilip89 to release v.3 :cheers:

#15 gayjinn

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 07:26 AM

Well, I tried PWBoot, and... it BSODs. :hyper: Just this morning I tested WE7 on Asus W90v 64-bit, on Samsung NC10 netbook, and on a Sony Vaio Z. This one did boot and operate, no questions asked. Then I installed a regular 7 and ran PWBoot right after installing it; the latter BSODed on Asus and on Samsung; I decided not to try on Sony. In both cases, the setup was done using the usual VmWare-to-physical-disk method.

Cheers.

#16 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:11 AM

Just for the record, there is not only PWboot, have a look/try to wimb's little app:
http://www.boot-land...?...ic=9830&hl=

It is possible that on a USB stick you have to "flip the bit" or install a filter driver.

Both cfadisk and dummydisk.sys are reported to be working under 7:
http://www.msfn.org/...o...69211&st=49

:hyper:
Wonko

#17 amalux

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 05:38 PM

.. I installed a regular 7 and ran PWBoot right after installing it; the latter BSODed on Asus and on Samsung; I decided not to try on Sony. In both cases, the setup was done using the usual VmWare-to-physical-disk method.

Thanks for the report but need a little more info please; are we talking UFD or USB-HD in the above tests? Also, you used the VM to physical disk method for PWBoot? Did you/could you try the 'normal' restore backup image of hardware install (not VM) to physical USB-HD (or UFD) to see if VM plays a part in the failure?

Also, please describe method of patching, offline on real hardware (recommended) or is this done in VM etc.

#18 gayjinn

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 10:54 PM

Amalux, USB-HDD, and yes, it was VmWare to physical disk + PWBoot. The patch was done online on virtual hardware. Will try offline on real hardware later. I understand that virtual hardware may very well be the culprit in many cases, but for my current hardware setups it is simply the more convenient way. I'll report back once I've done other tests.

By the way, can you share details about the machines where you get UFD/ES7 BSOD?

Wonko the Sane: Thank you for the references. I do have a local copy of IMG_XP; although, too, untested so far. I spent quite a lot of time on trying to make things work using the tutorial by karyonix, and also some another method with USBBootWatcher which IMG_XP also uses, as I can see.

By the way, I'm really beginning to suspect that V-hardware is indeed an obstacle. Because with VmWare-to-disk I've had limited success, and I cannot even reproduce that now; at the same time, people on the forum are reporting good success rates.


P.S. As I was experimenting with registry mods, I "came up" (don't know if this is common knowledge) with locking registry entries using permissions. I believe this is more straightforward than watching the entries and updating them.

Thanks for the report but need a little more info please; are we talking UFD or USB-HD in the above tests? Also, you used the VM to physical disk method for PWBoot? Did you/could you try the 'normal' restore backup image of hardware install (not VM) to physical USB-HD (or UFD) to see if VM plays a part in the failure?

Also, please describe method of patching, offline on real hardware (recommended) or is this done in VM etc.



#19 amalux

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 11:19 PM

Amalux, USB-HDD, and yes, it was VmWare to physical disk + PWBoot. The patch was done online on virtual hardware. Will try offline on real hardware later. I understand that virtual hardware may very well be the culprit in many cases, but for my current hardware setups it is simply the more convenient way. I'll report back once I've done other tests.

Thanks gayjinn, look forward to your results.

The machine I was having trouble with is an hp pavilion a810n AMD64 running Win7 x64.

I have long suspected VM in these kind of tests...

#20 Slaughter

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 03:46 AM

booting FROM usb definetly works for w7 embedded. Remove laptop hdd and put in a external case and boots fine on laptop and other workstations, Sweet. Thanks

#21 McR

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 06:43 PM

Amalux,

http://www.mediafire...me3wqk34ata0xli
500kb pdf

It seems strange to me that a UFD would bsod with USB Bootable Stack,
because, like I said earlier, this is an official feature of WE, there are corresponding
MSDN articles. Haven't tried UFD myself though.

Also, google for secure pocket drive by Spyrus for another confirmation that
this approach really works.


The link was dead.
Please repost.
I like this method since it is reliable.
I used XPe USB boot component before.

Many Thanks

Edited by McR, 22 March 2011 - 06:50 PM.


#22 gayjinn

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:56 PM

McR, here you go. :cheers:

#23 gayjinn

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:59 PM

And oh, BTW, I think Lockheed Martin's IronClad, introduced recently, went the same route. IronClad is offered with XP or W7, but, similarly to the product by Spyrus, is not available to general public and the minimum order is 200 units, $600 each (for 16g flash drives).

#24 vvurat

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 08:52 PM

it will not boot on every configuration. because i worked enough about embedded inside out. registry or components not different from normal windows else than a few different drivers. can never reach the winpe boot percentage on real systems. integrate every component offline with dism to install.wim than compare file structure with a normal ultimate. you will see difference.

#25 gayjinn

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 08:57 AM

vvurat, could you share the percentages for both cases? It escapes me why the usb boot component would be less compatible. Thanks in advance.




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