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W7 USB install not working. Can WinBuilder help?


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#1 fortyporty

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Posted 29 December 2015 - 11:53 PM

Hi guys. I'm a semi-retired PC builder and serviceman who's trying to install W7 from a USB 2.0 flash drive.

 

I used NTLite to assemble the installer from a 2012 W7 Ultimate DVD plus 200 or so Windows Updates.

 

The motherboard is a new Asus Z170M-Plus, so it has a UEFI Bios, with which I'm not very familiar.

 

After several hours of headscratching I've finally got to the point where the new hardware actually recognises my Rufus-created USB (Lexar 8GB) flash drive, but the major problem now is that the W7 install process keeps asking for 'CD\DVD drivers'.

 

Hundreds of hits on the internet show me that this problem is nothing new, but what I can't find is a solution.

 

(Oh, BTW - the swapping-USB-port solution apparently works for many, but it did NOT work for me. And I've only used the flash drive from USB 2.0 ports)

 

Can WinBuilder help me with this frustrating issue?



#2 Rootman

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 01:11 AM

This is pretty common when booting a ISO derived install to a USB drive.

 

I am sure there is a way around it with your current setup but I would recommend using Easy2Boot and MPIToolPack to create a image partition file and having Easy2Boot boot to it.  I've created many image partitions to install Windows from and they all work just fine.

 

Quick Primer: 

 

1) Install Easy2Boot to a USB drive, it comes with an instruction file and and install batch file.

 

2) Install MPI Tool Pack to your computer and use the CreateDesktopShortcuts.cmd to create desktop shortcuts. 

 

3) Drop the ISO file for your installation onto the the MPI_FAT32 desktop shortcut.  Answer to prompts and it will create an image partition.  Copy it to the USB drives _ISO\MAINMENU folder. 

 

4) Use the SWITCH_E2B.exe  in teh _ISO folder from the computer you used to create the drive on and select the image for booting. Alternately you can boot to the USB drive and select this file on the Easy2Boot menu, answer the prompt to overwrite the boot sector. 

 

4) Then reboot to the USB drive being sure to select it via the computers EFI boot menu (see the note about EFI below).

 

If your special rebuilt installation media is not in an ISO format you will have to create one from it, or create a sufficiently sized Image Partition with a common Windows 7 install ISO. Use the SWITCH_E2B.exe  to choose it for booting.  Then copy your files from your created boot USB to the image partition.

 

EFI is a more modern way of booting to Windows 7 or above, it does however a little bit work by making sure the BIOS is set right.  You DON'T need to use it for Windows 7, 8.X or 10 if the boot drive is less than 2TB. The good old fashioned MBR way will work just fine. It's up to you. Just boot the installation media the way you want it installed and let Windows install it that way.



#3 fortyporty

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 02:42 AM

Thanks, Rootman. It sounds like there's a fix in there for me but I'll probably need to read it 20 or 30 times until it sinks in :-)

 

From what I'm reading online, it seems I'd be better off at this stage to carry on with my USB 2.0 flash drive, instead of getting a 3.0.

 

What do you think?



#4 paraglider

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 09:01 AM

Its usually as simple as injecting the motherboard USB drivers into boot.wim and install.wim:

 

http://winaero.com/b...-usb-3-0-ports/

 

May also have to inject storage drivers as well, if your drives are not showing, using the same technique.



#5 paraglider

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 09:08 AM

You can download drivers from here:

 

http://www.asus.com/...pDesk_Download/



#6 fortyporty

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 08:16 PM

Thanks Paraglider. I have a driver disc that came with the Z170M-Plus motherboard, so the drivers will on there, I guess. But the Asus drivers page is interesting. There's a driver there for W7\USB 3.0. From what I've read elsewhere, the message about the 'CD\DVD' drivers being missing is more related to USB 3.0 than CD\DVD but I don't understand how that can be.

 

Edit: I forgot to say that I haven't tried to use the USB 3.0 ports on the new mobo, figuring that my Lexar flash drive is only 2.0.  There's a number of posts on the net that say the 'CD\DVD drivers missing' message can be circumvented by simple pulling the flash drive from its port and inserting it into another, but that didn't work for me.


Edited by fortyporty, 30 December 2015 - 08:20 PM.


#7 paraglider

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 10:12 AM

You will get that error message if setup.exe cannot find install.wim i.e. if the USB drive was not mounted in the booted PE. Did you try going into the UEFI firmware and making sure USB devices are configured for full initialization. You could also configure USB to always use USB 2.0 mode. It will be very slow.



#8 fortyporty

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 08:48 PM

Paraglider, to be honest, I'm kinda baffled by the UEFI. I used to know my around a BIOS but there are so many unfamiliar terms and acronyms in UEFI that I get quickly confused. I need a comprehensive guide to the system, but one that's explained in simple terms. 

 

I've made some progress with my new W7 PC, but only in a backward kind of way. I finally managed to install the OS but only by using the DVD drive (or 'SATA ODD' - had to go look that one up). But it niggles me that I wasn't given a choice of formatting the SSD drive in MBR. It went straight to GPT without asking.

 

Anyone know how to select MBR in UEFI? The motherboard is an Asus Z170M-Plus.

 

Cheers.

 

Oh, and Happy New Year. It's been 2016 here for 10 hours already :-)



#9 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 11:24 AM

To be picky (as I am) you do not "format" a storage device in either MBR or GPT, you "partition" it. (format is related to the filesystem used).

I guess that if you boot in UEFI mode (as opposed to CSM or Compatibility Support Mode or more plainly good ol' BIOS) the OS at setup assumes that you want to use the "new" standard.

Unless you need to go beyond the 2 Terabytes in size using GPT is not *needed*, still you normally will need a FAT32 partition for the boot files.
It is entirely possible (if you want) to "convert" a "smaller than 2.2 Tb" disk from GPT to MBR, but as well if you are going to boot in UEFI there is no real *need* for it.

The GPT scheme is a bit confusing at first though if you are familiar with MBR it is just the same thing made unneededly more complex.
If you want to get familiar with the thingy I advise you to read the pages on GPT and gdisk by Rod Smith here:
http://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/
and by hte Starman here:
http://thestarman.na...asm/mbr/GPT.htm

Once you will have become familiar with the basics, you might find of interest this thread here:
http://reboot.pro/to...in-bios-to-gpt/

:duff:
Wonko

#10 RoyM

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 09:46 PM

Yeah, Happy New Year Back at 'ya fortyporty.
asus z170m-plus
 
You may get the following pdf's from ASUS's Website's.
 
This manual will describe your bios settings:
E10768__Z170M-PLUS_UM_WEB.pdf
You must get into the advanced menu.
It also says the the usb3 cable is sold separately.???
 
This will describe installing Win7:
DE164_100_Series_Windows_7_Setup_Guide_print.pdf
 
The setup guide says you must use the ASUS dvd to boot from
and then select the USB device to boot.
 
Regards
RoyM


#11 fortyporty

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 04:27 AM

Thanks RoyM.

 

Actually I have the manual - it came with the motherboard.

 

I also have the DE164_100_Series_Windows_7_Setup_Guide_print.pdf but it's not for my board.

 

Also, it refers to software called EZ Installer but this app wasn't included on my Asus DVD. I finally found it in the utilities for another Asus board.

 

But in the meantime I got tired of waiting for a useable (and one I could understand) method of creating a USB installer so I did it from DVD.

 

My biggest problem now is trying to re-install W7 via my Asus Z170M-Plus UEFI mobo and not end up with Windows in\on a GPT partition.

 

Wonko the Sane: Thanks for your response, also. I followed your links but the information is WAY over my head. So I'll just try and bull my way through the complexities of the UEFI and see if I can get W7 onto an MBR partition by my own efforts.

 

Cheers :-)



#12 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 09:09 AM

Wonko the Sane: Thanks for your response, also. I followed your links but the information is WAY over my head. So I'll just try and bull my way through the complexities of the UEFI and see if I can get W7 onto an MBR partition by my own efforts.

 

Well, the very basics are not complex.

 

There is no "real" difference between MBR and GPT conceptually.

 

On the disk there are one or more partitions or volumes, each occupying an extent, i.e. a contiguous area on disk from a given StartLBA for a given number of sectors.

 

In GPT only Primary partitions exist.

 

The default install creates three (primary) partitions in GPT, a "System Reserved" (where the boot files are), a "MSR", and a "data" one (where the rest of the OS resides).

The default install creates two (as well primary) partitions in MBR, a "System Reserved" (where the boot files are) and a "data" one (where the rest of the OS resides).

The "MSR" is just some unused "slack" space that may be used in some uncommon cases of disk conversion from "basic" to "dynamic".

The "System Reserved" is formatted as FAT32 in GPT and normally in NTFS in MBR.

 

The partition extents are indexed in MBR in the partition table (4 sets of 16 bytes in the first sector of the device).

In GPT the first of the 4 partition entries in the MBR is filled with a "protective entry" covering the whole span of the disk, and the actual extents are indexed in a structure that starts on LBA 2 and uses 128 bytes for each extent/partition, this same structure is replicated at the end of the disk (in reversed order), as a backup copy.

 

So to convert from GPT to MBR all is needed is to get the extents of the three partitions from the GPT partition table, throw away the MSR ones ;), and write the "System Reserved" and the "data" ones  to the MBR partition table, since all the partitions are primary it is very simple.

 

This can be done manually with a hex/disk editor, but Gdisk  has this feature automated, see:

http://www.rodsbooks...isk/hybrid.html

http://www.rodsbooks...sk/mbr2gpt.html

 

:duff:

Wonko



#13 paraglider

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 09:45 AM

If you boot in UEFI mode then windows will format as gpt and install in uefi mode. If you boot in CSM mode then windows will format in MBR mode and install appropriately. In the firmware make sure secure boot is disabled and csm is enabled. During initial boot if you typically press F8 for ASUS mb then you will get a menu allowing to choose the boot device. For the USB device you should see UEFI: <dev number> and <dev number> entries in the list. Choosing the second will force the CSM boot.



#14 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 02:27 PM

As a side note (and for future memory) a good guy in the context of a newish and (IMHO) totally foolish (but this isn't relevant) "educational OS written in C#", FlingOS, has written a few pages on the concepts of partitioning, MBR and GPT that I find very well written, clear and easy  :thumbsup: as an introduction: 

http://www.flingos.c...nce/Partitions/

http://www.flingos.c...ce/MBR-and-EBR/

http://www.flingos.c.../reference/GPT/

 

:duff:

Wonko



#15 fortyporty

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 07:49 PM

Wonko, thanks for your erudite and well written discourses, but as with Rod Whatsit and Starman, the information is too esoteric for this 'bear of little brain'. Also, I think I can more easily prepare a drive for MBR by re-formatting it in a PC with regular BIOS. Perhaps someone will tell me if I'm wrong?

 

Anyway, I think Paraglider might have nailed it (thanks, man) with that brief, succinct and very informative last contribution. On several websites I've seen it mentioned that Secure Boot had to be disabled to creat MBR, but I hadn't seen it confirmed until now. Here's one link that sounded reasonably authoritative on the subject: 

https://technet.micr...y/hh825112.aspx

 

 

The reference notes: "To use BIOS-compatibility mode, check for options in the firmware menus to disable UEFI SecureBoot features."

 

And "If you install Windows by using Windows Setup or the Windows installation DVD, use a preformatted hard drive on your destination PCs. Use the GPT file format for UEFI mode, or the MBR file format for BIOS mode."



#16 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 08:19 PM

Wonko, thanks for your erudite and well written discourses, but as with Rod Whatsit and Starman, the information is too esoteric for this 'bear of little brain'. Also, I think I can more easily prepare a drive for MBR by re-formatting it in a PC with regular BIOS. Perhaps someone will tell me if I'm wrong?

Sure :) if you are OK with re-installing that will be much easier (and you don't need to understand how the one or the other works), but you don't really need to do anything on another PC, just set your firmware to use BIOS CSM.

 

About secure-boot, it depends on the BIOS/UEFI specific implementation, secure-boot is part of UEFI, you cannot have CSM (please read as BIOS) with secure-boot, normally you need to disable secure-boot in order to be able to select CSM, but it is well possible that you can select CSM and secure-boot is disabled automatically.

 

But AFAIK/AFAICR :unsure: the Windows setup WILL NOT let you install in UEFI mode on a MBR partitioned disk, so I believe (if you want to use UEFI and MBR) that  you will need anyway to get familiar with some alternate ways/tools to workaround the issue. :dubbio:

 

:duff:

Wonko



#17 fortyporty

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 08:57 PM

Wonko, perhaps I haven't explained my situation correctly. I don't want to "install in UEFI mode on a MBR partitioned disk". I want to install in MBR mode on an MBR partitioned disk.



#18 fortyporty

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 09:56 PM

Okay, I thought it would help if I showed what I think are the relevant settings in my Asus Z170M-Plus UEFI. These are all verbatim except for my [bracketed] comments.

 

Boot > CSM:
Launch CSM - Enabled
Boot Device Control - UEFI and Legacy OPROM
Boot from Network, Storage, PCI\EPCI devices [all Legacy]

Boot > Secure Boot
Secure Boot State - Enabled [*greyed out]
Platform Key (PK) State - Unloaded [*greyed out]
OS Type - Other  
Key Management [all defaults]

Boot > Boot Option Priorities:
Boot option #1 - Windows Boot Manager (SATA6G_4:Apacer AST680S 240GB)
Boot option #2 - SATA6G_6: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH24N (LG DVDRW drive)
Boot option #3 - USB
Boot option #4 - SATA6G_4:Apacer AST680S 240GB (228936MB)

Boot Override: [**]
SATA6G_6: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH24N
USB
SATA6G_4:Apacer AST680S 240GB (228936MB)
Windows Boot Manager (SATA6G_4:Apacer AST680S 240GB)


*I think the greyed out state is because I'd initially set the OS Type to 'Other'. The only alternative in this section was 'Windows UEFI mode'. A footnote on the page says '...secure boot can only function properly in Windows UEFI mode'. So, effectively, it would seem that Secure Boot has always been disabled without me being really aware of the significance.

**I have no idea what this section does. While in UEFI on the new machine, (I'm typing this on my old PC) I just clicked on the first entry (DVD) and the whole thing locked up.



#19 Rootman

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 11:34 PM

Wonko, perhaps I haven't explained my situation correctly. I don't want to "install in UEFI mode on a MBR partitioned disk". I want to install in MBR mode on an MBR partitioned disk.

 

Generally however you boot the installation media is the way Windows installs. Boot it EFI and Windows will install EFI - as long as you allow the installer to provision the disk.  Windows will not install EFI to a MBR disk, it wants a GPT disk setup. Boot the install via regular old CSM and it installs via MBR - again as long as you allow the install to provision the disk.  Either way if you try and force the install on a pre provisioned disk (like a used disk) of the opposite type Windows should refuse to install or if it does give you an unbootable system.

 

As stated before, unless the boot disk is greater than 2TB you do NOT need EFI / GPT.  For ANY system, you can always install a second (or third, or fourth, etc.) disk greater than 2 TB and make it GPT, it can be read by either a CSM or EFI booted system, it does not care.  Here you are simply using the GPT layout to get the full disk size, it has nothing to do with the boot disk layout.



#20 fortyporty

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 01:00 AM

I hear what you're saying, Rootman, but I initially installed W7 to a 120GB SATA disk that I'd cleaned and wiped. And that got me GPT partitioning.

 

The app I used was MiniTools Partition Wizard 9 (Tech version) on a DVD.

 

The W7 Ultimate SP1 DVD installer I used was the same one that I'd used in 2012 on my current PC. The only difference was I used NTLite to slipstream 200-odd Windows Updates.

 

You can see my UEFI settings in Post #18. What should I have changed so that I ended up with W7 on an MBR partition?



#21 Rootman

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 02:29 AM

Without prowling back through all the posts, did you boot the installation media vie EFI or MBR?  If MBR then most likely the Minitools tool set the disk up as GPT and Windows left it that way and installed via the EFI layout.

 

You would need to convert the disk back to MBR, Windows will only do this to a blank disk.  So, after removing all partitions you would need to boot to something to convert the disk to MBR and then boot to the Windows install via MBR.  Select CUSTOM installation and make sure that you lay out an MBR type install.  Most of the time that's a small boot partition and the main OS partition making sure the disk is left MBR. 

 

Just on a side note. With MBR you can even make it all one single partition, although you would not be able to use NTFS compression or Windows disk encryption on the resultant disk.  Windows needs a separate boot partition in order to use either



#22 Zoso_The_Internet_Fucktard

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 06:20 AM

Forget about using MiniTool, Easy2Boot, etc. They're great tools, but unless you're a special case situation, you don't really need them. They just needlessly make your situation more complex. All you *REALLY* need is the Windows DVD/USB and a correctly configured BIOS. It's best to just use a burned disc to avoid the "necessary drivers are missing" crap. It is possible that you have a BIOS which doesn't allow Secure Boot (and therefore UEFI, of which SB is a subset feature) to be disabled. Does ASUS have any BIOS updates for your hardware? Have you tried calling ASUS to ask specifically how to set your BIOS up for MBR boot? Did you read your manual thoroughly?

 

I'm assuming your disc is a standard, uncustomized setup disc, with the exception of the integrated updates, which should pose no issues where installation is concerned.

 

After installation is finished, you can verify in Disk Management whether you have an EFI System Partition, or a System Reserved partition. If the former, your disk is UEFI/GPT, if the latter it is MBR/legacy.

 

The partition that Windows is installed to (what will become your C drive) can also act as System Reserved (but without the label), by being marked as both System and Active/Boot in Disk Management. This is what I recommend, since MBR is limited to either 4 primaries or 3 primaries and 1 extended partition, by using your C drive as both System and Boot/Active you will only consume 1 primary instead of 2. However, this isn't the default setup that an MBR 7 will set up on an empty, unpartitioned disk, it will normally create System Reserved for boot files and another partition for C drive (7).

 

To make this work just open command prompt while booted into the USB (make sure you boot the USB in legacy mode) by pressing Shift + F10. Then:

 

1. diskpart

2. list disk

3. select disk (insert your HDD's # here without parentheses)

4. clean (this will erase all data/partitions on disk so remove anything you want to keep)

5. create partition primary

6. select partition 1

7. format fs=ntfs quick

8. assign letter=c

9. active (this marks the partition as bootable, forcing Windows to install the boot files into C drive instead, and making C act as both the main 7 and System Reserved partition)

 

Then just use the GUI installer and install as usual, selecting your created partition. This setup will work fine if you really just need 7 installed and only uses 1 partition. You can always shrink the partition size later if you need to create more. This is about as simple as it gets.
 

Hope this helped!



#23 paraglider

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 09:56 AM

If you successfully installed windows 7 and its working ok in uefi / gpt mode why worry about it. Leave it alone. Only reason to mess with the default install would be if you have tools that you cannot update that only support mbr mode. For most people overhead of gpt mode is not that great that you would need to worry about the size of the system partitions.



#24 cdob

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 10:27 AM

Boot Device Control - UEFI and Legacy OPROM

What should I have changed so that I ended up with W7 on an MBR partition?

.
Set Boot Device Control to [Legacy OPROM only].

#25 Zoso_The_Internet_Fucktard

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 04:47 PM

I honestly do think that fortyporty should just install in UEFI mode instead. It supports up to 128 primaries as opposed to MBR's 4 primary/3 primary and 1 extended. I have always hated the concept of extended/logical partitions, I think they're haphazard and poorly designed.

 

UEFI is the newer standard, and if the OP's hardware supports it, then why not make use of a newer standard that fixes some longstanding issues that old BIOS legacy/MBR has been plagued with for years. The old standard is simple, but let's face it, the newest hardware will generally run optimally on the newest standards and are partly designed with this in mind.

 

But since he wants to install in MBR mode, then I figure the instructions I gave are simple enough that an Average Joe can follow them. This is what I would say to my dad or a girlfriend or whatever, who just wants to install Windows and get it up and running. They arent interested in the technical methods discussed at sites like reboot.pro and expect things to "just work" when needed. And OP shouldn't need any additional tools besides the setup DVD/USB and a properly configured BIOS. K.I.S.S...........






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