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[project] PWBoot <Latest version: 3.0.2>

usb windows boot full pwboot vhd patch

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#126 Dhilip89

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 01:45 AM

Hey, great findings! :clapping:

So far I know, the Portable Workspace Creator only supports Enterprise edition and requires 16GB minimum space.

It is a great news that the bootable USB stack is enabled by default, but will they disable or remove it from other editions (other than Ultimate and Enterprise) in the final release? :unsure:

You can't exactly boot Windows 7 from USB on Intel and then switch to AMD out of nowhere, it'll fail boot-up or BSOD.

Any evidence to support that statement?

#127 Natrix

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:39 AM


Quote

You can't exactly boot Windows 7 from USB on Intel and then switch to AMD out of nowhere, it'll fail boot-up or BSOD.

Any evidence to support that statement?


I tried "Portable Workspace Creator" with Windows 8 Pre release and it work well on every computers.
For avoid BSOD you should delete Graphic driver and storage controller every time you change computers. No need to sysprep everytime
I test it and It work like a charm.

#128 clarodina

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 08:31 AM

does pwboot boot to ram and on dvd?

#129 sionicion

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 11:12 PM

Hey, great findings! :clapping:

So far I know, the Portable Workspace Creator only supports Enterprise edition and requires 16GB minimum space.

It is a great news that the bootable USB stack is enabled by default, but will they disable or remove it from other editions (other than Ultimate and Enterprise) in the final release? :unsure:


Any evidence to support that statement?


Windows has always installed only the drivers you needed for your system to work correctly. In Windows Vista and 7, they improved though, starting with AHCI and non-AHCI drivers...in Vista and 7, you can tell Windows you're about to change it by running Microsoft Fix it 50470 or by modifying a couple keys in the registry. Then you reboot into BIOS and switch to AHCI or switch from AHCI, boot Windows, and it knows to try another driver instead of BSODing...

This is only one very specific example...but according to the Microsoft support article, it explains it perfectly "During the Windows 7 or Windows Vista installation process, any unused storage drivers are disabled. This behavior speeds up the operating system's startup process. When you change the boot drive to a driver that has been disabled, you must enable the new driver before you change the hardware configuration."

But in Windows XP, you couldn't do this, you had to actually go out and install the AHCI driver and all. It was a longer process. To do what exactly? Avoid a BSOD.

Point is...Windows has always been designed to boot very quick and be optimized for the PC it runs on. It is not prepared for vastly different hardware configurations. When you get a new motherboard, any OEM product key you had won't work anymore...and you run the risk ..."will Windows boot or fail?"

Where's my evidence on the switching-to-AMD issue? Well I always ran Windows 7 on USB using this PWBoot patch and then ran it on AMD machines, and it would BSOD or simply get into a reboot-loop...there were not enough drivers for Windows to successfully boot and connect to the network so it could download and install drivers from Windows Update.

But Windows Embedded Standard 7 doesn't do that when you choose the bootable USB stack, it's much more reliable, because the installation prepares for a USB-aware configuration. How does it work? Windows 8 inherits most of this from Windows Embedded Standard 7, adding on USB 3.0 functionality and refining the entire experience. But what has Microsoft said when they demoed?

They clearly pointed out that it knows to have a select amount of drivers on the USB install of Windows 8 so that if you're on Intel or AMD, or something completely different but Windows compatible, it'll be able to fully boot up the system to the point where it'll be able to connect to Windows Update and install the rest of the drivers. Unlike how currently Windows 7 will simply install drivers for only your system, and not carry over any other drivers for other CPU architectures simply because it wouldn't make sense to do that.

It all comes down to the fact this is an unsupported scenario, and Windows 8/Windows Embedded Standard 7 actually do support this scenario and are optimized for it by either the installation wizard (Windows Embedded Standard 7's way) or on the first boot-up detecting that it runs off USB (Windows 8's way).


Hope it's not too much for you to read. It's definitely interesting stuff though.

#130 sebnukem

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 10:11 PM

Dhilip89,

Thanks for this awesome program. But, would you mind posting the exact operations your program is performing? I need a way to replicate your operations via the command line, as well as from a FreeDOS environment. I don't want code, but I do need the "before" and "after" states of your operations.

Thank you

#131 Dhilip89

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 03:11 PM

Windows has always installed only the drivers you needed for your system to work correctly. In Windows Vista and 7, they improved though, starting with AHCI and non-AHCI drivers...in Vista and 7, you can tell Windows you're about to change it by running Microsoft Fix it 50470 or by modifying a couple keys in the registry. Then you reboot into BIOS and switch to AHCI or switch from AHCI, boot Windows, and it knows to try another driver instead of BSODing...

This is only one very specific example...but according to the Microsoft support article, it explains it perfectly "During the Windows 7 or Windows Vista installation process, any unused storage drivers are disabled. This behavior speeds up the operating system's startup process. When you change the boot drive to a driver that has been disabled, you must enable the new driver before you change the hardware configuration."

But in Windows XP, you couldn't do this, you had to actually go out and install the AHCI driver and all. It was a longer process. To do what exactly? Avoid a BSOD.

Point is...Windows has always been designed to boot very quick and be optimized for the PC it runs on. It is not prepared for vastly different hardware configurations. When you get a new motherboard, any OEM product key you had won't work anymore...and you run the risk ..."will Windows boot or fail?"

Where's my evidence on the switching-to-AMD issue? Well I always ran Windows 7 on USB using this PWBoot patch and then ran it on AMD machines, and it would BSOD or simply get into a reboot-loop...there were not enough drivers for Windows to successfully boot and connect to the network so it could download and install drivers from Windows Update.

But Windows Embedded Standard 7 doesn't do that when you choose the bootable USB stack, it's much more reliable, because the installation prepares for a USB-aware configuration. How does it work? Windows 8 inherits most of this from Windows Embedded Standard 7, adding on USB 3.0 functionality and refining the entire experience. But what has Microsoft said when they demoed?

They clearly pointed out that it knows to have a select amount of drivers on the USB install of Windows 8 so that if you're on Intel or AMD, or something completely different but Windows compatible, it'll be able to fully boot up the system to the point where it'll be able to connect to Windows Update and install the rest of the drivers. Unlike how currently Windows 7 will simply install drivers for only your system, and not carry over any other drivers for other CPU architectures simply because it wouldn't make sense to do that.

It all comes down to the fact this is an unsupported scenario, and Windows 8/Windows Embedded Standard 7 actually do support this scenario and are optimized for it by either the installation wizard (Windows Embedded Standard 7's way) or on the first boot-up detecting that it runs off USB (Windows 8's way).


Hope it's not too much for you to read. It's definitely interesting stuff though.


Interesting stuff indeed, thanks for sharing :cheers:

I have some interesting stuffs to share too.

Based on my experiences, Windows does remembering all the detected and installed drivers.
It detect and install drivers on every first boot on different computers then it still will recognizes them even had booted from other computers.

For the switching between Intel-AMD BSoD issues, it seems like the unreliability of old PWBoot approaches as the Windows is already optimized for target computer.

New PWBoot approach ("Install Windows" option in PWBoot v3.0.x) is far more reliable to boot because it is far more compatible to almost all kind of hardware configurations.
Why it is more compatible? because it skipped the normal Windows installation process, it should be able to boot from any supported hardware just like Windows Setup.

Here is my test results:
First boot: Intel Core i5 M460
Number of booted computers: 7
Boot Failures: 0

4 screen shots from different hardware:
1.png 2.png 3.png 4.png

Dhilip89,

Thanks for this awesome program. But, would you mind posting the exact operations your program is performing? I need a way to replicate your operations via the command line, as well as from a FreeDOS environment. I don't want code, but I do need the "before" and "after" states of your operations.

Thank you


It is not possible in FreeDOS unless you can modify Windows registry hives from it.

This is a great reference for you as it is almost identical to PWBoot's patch operation:
http://www.markwilso...l-usb-drive.htm
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#132 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 06:08 PM

It is not possible in FreeDOS unless you can modify Windows registry hives from it.

AND you have access to the filesystem where the actual Registry is. (NTFS? :dubbio:)
Would this:
http://paullee.ru/regstry.html
Via Google translate:
http://translate.goo...BIhHQuptooK_vjg
work under FreeDOS?
And no, though it is called Registry Viewer it can also edit it.
As always YMMV. :ph34r:

:cheers:
Wonko

#133 sebnukem

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 06:26 PM

This is a great reference for you as it is almost identical to PWBoot's patch operation:
http://www.markwilso...l-usb-drive.htm


That's exactly the kind of information i was looking for. Thanks again. I reverse engineered your tool and came to the same set of changes, but it is comforting to see my conclusions validated.

#134 Dhilip89

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 11:29 PM

AND you have access to the filesystem where the actual Registry is. (NTFS? :dubbio:)
Would this:
http://paullee.ru/regstry.html
Via Google translate:
http://translate.goo...BIhHQuptooK_vjg
work under FreeDOS?
And no, though it is called Registry Viewer it can also edit it.
As always YMMV. :ph34r:

:cheers:
Wonko

NTFS4DOS seems can deal with NTFS formatted volume? :dubbio:
For me, I would prefer GNU/Linux over FreeDOS.
Also, YMMV. :suda:

#135 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 12:47 PM

NTFS4DOS seems can deal with NTFS formatted volume? :dubbio:

Yep, sure it can :thumbup:.

Just for the record, there is also Paragon's thingy, see here:
http://reboot.pro/8479/

Point was more IF these thingies do work on FreeDOS (as opposed to MS-DOS, where they do work for sure)

:cheers:
Wonko

#136 hotwater

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 06:32 AM

Hi I m new to this pwboot. I have try to install windows 7 starter onto a usb thumb drive - brand pendrive model sliq 8GB. After finished installation and try to boot the computer via usb boot, it fail to boot. I got this error - error loading operating system. Does it mean that the brand Pendrive is not compatible? Please help. Thank you very much in advance.

#137 Dhilip89

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 12:13 AM

Hi I m new to this pwboot. I have try to install windows 7 starter onto a usb thumb drive - brand pendrive model sliq 8GB. After finished installation and try to boot the computer via usb boot, it fail to boot. I got this error - error loading operating system. Does it mean that the brand Pendrive is not compatible? Please help. Thank you very much in advance.


Thank you for trying this project.

If your thumb drive has very slow I/O rate, then it might not boot on some computer while it is still able to boot from another computer.
One question for you, since you failed to boot from one computer, have you tried to boot that thumb drive from another computer to check if it is bootable?

Even if you are managed to boot from thumb drive, it will be very slow (depend on read and write speed of the particular thumb drive).
Best option is to use SSD or HDD as booting medium.

#138 hotwater

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 09:44 AM

Hi Dhilip, Thank you for the reply and advice. I managed to get it working by using bootsect to the thumb drive working. On the speed it is bearable. Thanks again.

#139 antony.h

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 02:45 AM

Hi Dhilip89!

Thanks a lot for making this very good tool! But I failed to use it to make my pre-installed Windows 7 SP1 to boot. It flashed a BSOD and reboot itself immediately while the booting in the Windows logo.

Here is my situation:
Pre-installed Windows 7 Home Premium /w SP1 [Comes with a Lenovo Thinkpad laptop]
Page file disabled before applying PWBoot patch


What should I do to make my Win7 bootable on USB?

#140 antony.h

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 03:35 AM

It shows that my Windows is "unpatched" after I failed on booting it via USB HDD chassis.

Edited by antony.h, 23 October 2011 - 04:04 AM.


#141 antony.h

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 11:28 AM

I got it working!! It was because I plugged the box onto a USB 3.0 port. When I plug it to a USB 2.0 port. It works like a charm. Thanks a lot!!

#142 OldFart

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 03:13 AM

Great tool. Thanks for sharing. I have a quick question about the paging file. I installed Win7 Ultimate on a SATA HD connected to my computer, updated it with everything (including SP1) from the MS update site, tweaked it to my liking and then ran your tool on it. I then disconnected the drive (a 320GB Toshiba 2.5" drive) and installed it in an external USB enclosure, plugged it into a USB port on the SAME computer, and it booted right up, although it took quite a bit longer than when it was plugged into a SATA port (no big surprise).

Upon entering the desktop, I observed the Virtual Memory (page file) window, which informed me there was no swap file and that I had to reboot after creating one, which I did (I set it to "System managed"). Upon rebooting, I was again greeted by the same window and message. After reading just about everything there is on the subject and one or two tutorials, it would appear that paging must be disabled.

My question is: should I reconnect the drive to the computer via a SATA port or can I do it while it's in the USB enclosure? I tried setting the page file size manually, but it didn't take.

Also, while I'm on the subject, are there any adverse side effects of running without a page file? I only have 2 GB of ram in the computer and it will no doubt get chewed up pretty quickly, given the hoggish nature of most software these days.

Any advise and/or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Old Fart

#143 amalux

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:04 AM

It's odd that my pagefile survived the setup process where yours did not; hard to say why without more information. I guess you could try adding the pagefile with SetPageFile here: http://www.paraglide...ins/plugins.htm

Using something like "SetPageFile /a1 x 60 2000 /fpepf.sys /r" more info: http://www.paraglide...setpagefile.htm

#144 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:10 AM

Maybe related, maybe not, remember this tool:
http://reboot.pro/9461/

:cheers:
Wonko

#145 OldFart

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 05:19 PM

This additional info may or may not be helpful. Upon looking more closely at the SATA drive in the USB enclosure (via Disk Manager), I just discovered there are actually two partitions;

The first partition is labeled "System Reserved (E:) 102 MB NTFS Healthy (System, Active, Primary Partition). This partition contains the bootmgr system file (boot manager files). There are also a bunch of directories on this partition (some hidden); Boot, Desktop, Program Files, Recycler, System Volume Information, and half dozen or so other (mostly hidden) files.

The second partition is where Win7 is installed - (C:) 298 GB NTFS Healthy (Boot, Crash Dump, Primary Partition).

I have no idea if this is normal, good, bad or indifferent, in terms of getting the drive working properly (with a swap file) via the tool I used to get it bootable in the USB enclosure. I also have no idea if this is a "standard" configuration for Win7 on ALL hard drives, or if it's something I can "fix". My guess is that I could (or might be able to) copy the boot files over to the partition Win7 is installed on, blow away the tiny partition (merge it into the big one), reboot to a command prompt and run 'fixboot' and/or 'fixmbr' (or just run the Win7 'Repair' option from the DVD), the drive will boot as before. Or will that completely hose up my Win7 installation? I use Acronus and am confortable at the file system level.

PWboot 3.0.2 is the tool I used to make the drive bootable in the USB enclosure. Again, the drive was originally connected to a SATA port, Win7 Ultimate was installed (conventional installation) and completely updated (SP1 and ALL other updates). I used the 'regular' version PWboot, since I have no idea what the "NO-UPX" version is for (could someone enlighten me?).

Everything works when the drive boots from the USB enclosure, and there are no additional drivers loaded via plug-n-play. It just boots right up, albeit much slower than via the SATA port (expected), and the swap file window appears (every time).

If more info is needed to help solve the swap file issue, just let me know. Thanks for responding so quickly. You folks are doing a great job.

Old Fart

#146 amalux

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 05:54 PM

The first partition is an annoyance of Windows 7, setup if installing to unpartitioned hdd; the solution is to install to single partition you create prior to install (can be done at setup from DVD or PE). More info: http://www.mydigital...ling-windows-7/

This add'l partition makes it more complicated to use Acronis restore (recommended for setting up bootable USB) because if you restore the backup of Windows 7 install to a new hard drive without remembering the stupid 100MB partition...

Best to setup your host install on single, primary/active partition; create backup and restore that backup to your external USB, then patch it and all is well.

#147 SuperJMN

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 03:21 PM

In the final step, what information should I enter?

The final step ask you for System boot configuration.
System boot volume. What should I choose here?
Update boodcode?
Overwrite existing BCD store?
Add boot entry?

Please, tell me what those options are use for. Thanks!

#148 amalux

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 04:51 PM

It looks like you're trying to install over an existing setup or at least leaving existing partitions using 'Upgrade' option. This isn't going to do what is described in above reference. Start by explaining what you want to do and be aware that anything you do will probably wipe out any data you have saved on the hard drive and may leave you without the built in recovery partition, factory restore options etc. Tell us what type of installation media you have, retail M$ DVD/image or OEM 're-installation' disc from manufacturer or created on PC. What is your PC skill level (be modest)?

That said, the best way to install Windows 7 is to backup all your data to a safe, external location; server, usb-hdd etc. and/or clone the existing hard drive (all partitions); the latter is highly recommended. Format/partition the drive with 2-3 Basic, NTFS partitions (leaving no unpartitioned space) with the first being active/primary and install Windows 7 to that first partition. This way you will have a clean install to a single partition and use the other partitions for your special folders (My Documents) and data backup etc. The primary drive only needs to be ~40GB since most data should be stored on the secondary drives. All this can be done from your Windows 7 (can't say about OEM version), bootable installation DVD (but is more convenient from PE).

More info on clean install here:
http://www.sevenforu...indows-7-a.html

#149 SuperJMN

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 07:22 PM

Hi, Amalux. Thanks for your consideration and quick answer.

I have this .ISO file mounted to a virtual CD/DVD drive: "7600.16385.090713-1255_x86fre_client_en-us_Retail_All-in-One-GRMCAIOFRER_EN_DVD"
  • First screen:
    • I choose to install Windows
  • Second screen (Windows installation source):
    • When PWBoot ask for me for a installation source I select the install.wim that comes with it under the "sources" folder. Its size is about 3.5GB.
    • Then I choose the Windows image corresponding to x86 Ultimate version.
    • "Enable boot from USB interface capability" is check.
  • Third screen (Windows installation target):
    • In the available disk partition I select a partition that belongs to my EXTERNAL USB HDD DRIVE (500) branded "Toshiba". It's a primary partition. 160 GB NTFS. EMPTY. It's one of the 2 partitions I have in the disc (another NTFS primary partition).
  • Fourth screen (System boot configuration):
    • System boot volume : I select the same partition as above (the partition in which the bootable Windows installation will reside in, I think!)
    • "Update bootcode (MBR)" checked.
    • "Overwrite existing BCD store (create new)" unchecked.
    • "Windows boot description": Windows 7 Ultimate x86.
    • "Add boot entry to BCD store": checked.
Then I click install and it start "installing Windows". After that:
  • I restart my system
  • Select to boot from USB
  • Windows 7 takes control, so it appears that it boots correctly.
  • the installation begins
  • it asks me from locales and keyboard layouts
  • asks me for username for my account and a name for the PC.
  • It then says that the process will continue after a reboot
  • it wait for reboot
  • choose to boot from USB again
  • the installation continues, but the process is SLOW, really slow. In the meanwhile it say "Please wait..."
  • The login screen appears, I enter my credentials and it slowly log in (slow again).
  • Finally, it shows "Preparing your desktop..."
  • The desktop appears showing this message:
  • Posted Image
Who I am supposed to install a fresh system to my USB HDD Drive?

Thanks. (I tried to be specific for you to help me! please, do it).

Edited by SuperJMN, 29 October 2011 - 07:24 PM.


#150 amalux

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 08:50 PM

Well, you were very specific and I see what your problem is but I'd be guessing at what to do to fix it. There are some (not very helpful) hints here (be sure to check cited links in the article): http://answers.micro...6b-321f606e9774

This is not the way I install Windows 7; I don't use PWBoot for install, just for patching. Is this caused by an issue with PWBoot, your souce, your hardware? It's really difficult to know. If it were me, I'd try a 'normal' installation with that source to confirm it's working normally and then clone or backup/restore the partition to the external drive and patch it. This method works well for me and is very simple to do.

Maybe the author of PWBoot will have additional help for you if PWBoot related. If I get a chance, I'll try installing with the method you described to see if I can reproduce the issue.





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