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Running Win7 from USB flash


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#1 dcdc

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:57 PM

Hi everyone

I built a media center for my mum some time ago and she loves it but has complained about the noise, given that it's the only source of noise in the room. It's got a fairly quiet Seasonic SII PSU and the CPU (E2180) is undervolted and there's a decent heatsink on it (although it does run rosetta@home), the only really audible noise comes from the hard drive. The hard drive on it is only used for Windows 7 and a few plug-ins. The media is all stored on her PC in another room.

So, I bought a 16GB USB flash drive with the intention of running Win7 from it, having successfully had WinXP MCE running from a 2GB compactflash card a few years ago. I realise that USB isn't as straight forward as IDE/SATA, but am now wondering if it's possible at all. I've read a LOT of threads on the subject here, at 911cd.net, MSFN etc, but I'm not sure which threads supersede others, and am now stuck!

First, I guess I need to know whether anyone has/does run Win7 with working Media Center, graphics drivers etc, from a USB flash drive. I'd go with Ubuntu & xbmc but she uses Tunerfree MCE mostly and that's a Windows 7 plug-in.

If it is possible, I could do with some help! My flash drive is bootable but is getting stuck at winload.exe and 0xc000000e. I've tried running usb_boot.bat pointed at the flash drive using another PC as per instructions here: http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=22473

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Danny

#2 Agent_Smith

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 03:02 PM

There are some sticky threads at the top of the page that will get you started. You really should do a fresh installation if you can. You need to use a fixed VHD, and that is something that gave me an issue..

Here is what I did:

Made a custom install image using RT7Lite, included chipset drivers, storage drivers, LAN and WLAN drivers.

I Followed generic instructions to install win 7 to a VHD on my local HD. I used this VHD to customize my Windows 7, install programs, etc. Here is a quick tutorial:
http://www.zdnet.com...-windows-7/3324


I followed some of the instructions in here to make the VHD USB bootable:
http://reboot.pro/9196/
Its very important to run the usb_boot AND the storagefix batch files. The storage fix is what allows many of the AHCI and RAID controllers to work when you boot windows.

After this, I needed to make my USB flash drive bootable. I partitioned it with diskpart, and set the partition as active. I then ran bootsect.exe to put an NT6.0 MBR on the drive.

When this is done, you can follow the instructions on using bcdboot to make a proper BCD configuration. This is in the karyonix thread.

Finally, when all was said and done, I could boot to any machine except the one I used to build the VHD. My solution to this was the following:

http://reboot.pro/91...post__p__123590

Hope this helps..

Edited by Agent_Smith, 18 March 2011 - 03:07 PM.


#3 dcdc

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 03:59 PM

ah - thanks for that! I was worried I wasn't going to be able to do it. I'm going to be working away for a few days so will try it at the end of next week.

ta
Danny

#4 Agent_Smith

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:02 PM

Just a note, some flash drives really stink at running this.. I had an ADATA (USB 3.0) flash drive that took minutes to register a click. I bought a Patriot Xporter, and it cleared this problem right up. Still slow, but definitely workable..

#5 MedEvil

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:14 PM

For using USB Sticks to boot, one has to watch out and know exactly beforehand, how one want's to boot.

- Using a wim that gets loaded as one big file into RAM. For this scenario any USB-Stick with high top read speed will do.
- Running any OS directly from USB-Stick, requires a stick, which has a high read speed with lots of little files. (Which most do not have!) Highspeed sticks with slc memory (expensive)are the best choice here.

:unsure:

#6 dcdc

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 09:03 AM

Just a note, some flash drives really stink at running this.. I had an ADATA (USB 3.0) flash drive that took minutes to register a click. I bought a Patriot Xporter, and it cleared this problem right up. Still slow, but definitely workable..

Ah - thanks for that! It just so happens that I have a 16GB ADATA USB 3.0 drive that I was planning to use! I'll have a play with it anyway, and then buy something faster if I can get it to work on the target machine.

#7 cdob

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 12:58 PM

I have a 16GB ADATA USB 3.0 drive that I was planning to use!

Which one? A S102 or a N005?

Or a N004? Granted a SSD USB combo is not a USB flash anymore, but fast access to single files.




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