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[Tutorial] Boot Windows 7 from USB hard disk by karyonix


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#151 Sideshow_B0B

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 07:35 PM

Hi guys. :)

There is a workaround if you are willing to try another method for booting your win7 from USB-HDD,
That method Includes using ImageX tool for .wim directories manipulation and excludes that cloning7 script (wich is great btw) presented in first post on this thread.

All u need to have & thing you will use :
1. ImageX.exe (3.1) is the latest that came for win7 sp1 but older version will also work, you can download it separately or with WAIK for example. You will copy ImageX into you winPE disk and ofcource to your host machine.
2. An software for virtualization like Virtual PC, Virtual Box or other.
3. bootfix.bat file . Download link in first post of this thred.
4. bcdboot.exe
5. winPE with ImageX.exe bootable disk.

You can google out tutorial for making winPE disk, Just make sure that you put ImageX.exe tool in root of you winPE. I used winPE RAM disk with scratchspace of 512 RAM.

Lets start


1. Make virtual machine with like 15 GB of hdd space and 1024 RAM.
2. Install desired windows 7 version and edition.

(Virtual Box part):
3. Copy bootfix.bat file into your just created win 7 virtual machine and invoke "Run as Administrator".
4. When registry fix is apllied insert your WinPE disk/iso into you win7 virtual machine a make sure that you set it as bootable first boot device
5.Reboot into WinPE, X: is the usual winPE partition letter so if you copied your ImageX.exe in root of X: all u have to do is run it from there. Startnet.cmd launches wpeinit.exe and that whould be the default command prompt window in Winpe, if you didn't add custom shell.
6.In wpeinit window type cd and hit enter to change to you root.
7.Now to invoke ImageX , type :
Imagex /capture C: C:yourfoldernamewhatever.wim "DescriptionOfYourChoice" /verify [Bolded part represents destination of you capturing .wim. It can be via network share ( if it is, it automaticaly includes /verify swich that prolongs process a bit), or previously attached USB device to your virtual machine. Or even can be, like in this case, drive of you virtual machine. Captured .wim is around 2,5 GB. You can Include swicthes like /compres max | fast ...etc. First C: represent drive letter of your virtual machine OS. I just love that ImageX tool. Compress is stunning ,about 1/3 of your OS size. And it can do much more].

(Host Part):
8. When process completes copy to you host machine, if you didn't allready, captured .wim file and put it for example on C: namewhatever.wim .
9. Attach your USB hard drive to you host system. From diskpart , Create partition primary, format fs=ntfs (quick), assign letter ( lets presume it's I:), active, exit.
10. From command prompt (host) go to the directory where you downloaded /copied ImageX and type:
imagex /apply C:namewhatever.wim 1 I: /verify
11. When its done. Use bcdboot.exe to insert boot envir,onment files into USB-HDD partition,command bcdboot I:windows /s I: or u can manually edit existing bcd store on your host machine but there is no need for that and it could couse no boot if your host HDD crashes (if there is no bootmgr and bcdstore on USB). Oftherwards when u boot your USB hard drive that store gains a new entry for USB-HDD, so ...
12. If they are successfully applied then it is done. Make sure BIOS options are set straight (legacy USB) and whatever your BIOS needs to boot your USB storage.
13.Hope I wasn't too confusing. :boo:

Edited by Sideshow_B0B, 25 November 2011 - 08:02 PM.

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#152 Nuno Brito

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 06:42 PM

Hi, Would you mind posting your short tutorial on a separate topic?

Otherwise it will soon be lost among other replies from users and I think this deserves its own discussion point.

Very good work, keep it up.

:cheers:

#153 mactepu

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 01:13 PM

Hi guys. :)

There is a workaround if you are willing to try another method for booting your win7 from USB-HDD,
That method Includes using ImageX tool for .wim directories manipulation and excludes that cloning7 script (wich is great btw) presented in first post on this thread.

All u need to have & thing you will use :
1. ImageX.exe (3.1) is the latest that came for win7 sp1 but older version will also work, you can download it separately or with WAIK for example. You will copy ImageX into you winPE disk and ofcource to your host machine.
2. An software for virtualization like Virtual PC, Virtual Box or other.
3. bootfix.bat file . Download link in first post of this thred.
4. bcdboot.exe
5. winPE with ImageX.exe bootable disk.

You can google out tutorial for making winPE disk, Just make sure that you put ImageX.exe tool in root of you winPE. I used winPE RAM disk with scratchspace of 512 RAM.

Lets start


1. Make virtual machine with like 15 GB of hdd space and 1024 RAM.
2. Install desired windows 7 version and edition.

(Virtual Box part):
3. Copy bootfix.bat file into your just created win 7 virtual machine and invoke "Run as Administrator".
4. When registry fix is apllied insert your WinPE disk/iso into you win7 virtual machine a make sure that you set it as bootable first boot device
5.Reboot into WinPE, X: is the usual winPE partition letter so if you copied your ImageX.exe in root of X: all u have to do is run it from there. Startnet.cmd launches wpeinit.exe and that whould be the default command prompt window in Winpe, if you didn't add custom shell.
6.In wpeinit window type cd and hit enter to change to you root.
7.Now to invoke ImageX , type :
Imagex /capture C: C:yourfoldernamewhatever.wim "DescriptionOfYourChoice" /verify [Bolded part represents destination of you capturing .wim. It can be via network share ( if it is, it automaticaly includes /verify swich that prolongs process a bit), or previously attached USB device to your virtual machine. Or even can be, like in this case, drive of you virtual machine. Captured .wim is around 2,5 GB. You can Include swicthes like /compres max | fast ...etc. First C: represent drive letter of your virtual machine OS. I just love that ImageX tool. Compress is stunning ,about 1/3 of your OS size. And it can do much more].

(Host Part):
8. When process completes copy to you host machine, if you didn't allready, captured .wim file and put it for example on C: namewhatever.wim .
9. Attach your USB hard drive to you host system. From diskpart , Create partition primary, format fs=ntfs (quick), assign letter ( lets presume it's I:), active, exit.
10. From command prompt (host) go to the directory where you downloaded /copied ImageX and type:
imagex /apply C:namewhatever.wim 1 I: /verify
11. When its done. Use bcdboot.exe to insert boot envir,onment files into USB-HDD partition,command bcdboot I:windows /s I: or u can manually edit existing bcd store on your host machine but there is no need for that and it could couse no boot if your host HDD crashes (if there is no bootmgr and bcdstore on USB). Oftherwards when u boot your USB hard drive that store gains a new entry for USB-HDD, so ...
12. If they are successfully applied then it is done. Make sure BIOS options are set straight (legacy USB) and whatever your BIOS needs to boot your USB storage.
13.Hope I wasn't too confusing. :boo:

well...perhaps you should post this method to a new thread...and for me, this method is confusing :dubbio: :noofense:
i believe an easiest one is to install it on virtual machine, apply registry settings so it can boot from usb, attach vhd and clone to usb using clone7.bat as posted :good:

#154 Sideshow_B0B

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 04:28 PM

@Nuno Brito
Cheers m8!

@mactepu
Non taken.
Well its mather of personal boot preference and needs. :) .VHD native boot has its limitations too, No "Nested" boot I presume, maximum size of .vhd can be 2TB which means that u can't convert it to dynamic disk type (not refering to "dynamic" as dynamicaly expanding), hibernation not supported (sleep is I think), dunno if you could use Bitlocker(?). Many of this you ain't gonna use anyways , but if need arises...
Well, beside obvious, deference whould be that you dont attach .vhd, you attach (apply) .wim and u dont use clon7.bat, instead you use ImageX..


Maybe I should open new tread if people get interested. But really, just method is deferent all other concerns about running system on USB-HDD are the same.
If you have Qs I will respond as soon I see one.

Edited by Sideshow_B0B, 28 November 2011 - 04:30 PM.


#155 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 04:49 PM

Maybe I should open new tread if people get interested. But really, just method is deferent all other concerns about running system on USB-HDD are the same.
If you have Qs I will respond as soon I see one.

Look, counting me, it makes three people suggesting you to start a new thread with the contents of your post (#151 in this thread) so that:
  • the current thread is NOT hijacked with question/comments about "your" method
  • "your" method/tutorial gets the "dignity" it deserves
  • your post is not "lost" among the many on this thread (and the many more to come)
  • it will be easier for you to reply to questions (if any)
  • it will be easier for peopleinterested in the topic to understand the details
  • if Nuno is in the "right" mood, you may even get a "Tutorial Writer" member title
so,
JUST DO IT! ;)

:cheers:
Wonko

#156 ericgl

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:23 AM

Guys,
I would like to add something important to my previous posts (making Win7 boot from a USB drive on many different machines):
Windows 7 Starter/Home Premium/Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise - all have a regular USB driver stack, which does NOT support boot from USB devices.

However, there's another less known version of Windows 7, which offers both the regular USB driver stack and a Bootable USB driver stack.
I'm referring to Windows Embedded Standard 7 with SP1.

So first make the necessary registry changes mentioned in the previous post by cdob, and then add these steps:
1. Download the ISO freely from Microsoft (32bit and 64bit options are available):
http://www.microsoft...s.aspx?id=11887

The Bootable USB driver stack is called "winemb-usbboot.cab", which contains several files inside of it (mainly SYS and INF files).
Inside the 64bit ISO file, it is located at: DSPackagesFeaturePackamd64~winemb-usbboot~~~~6.1.7601.17514~1.0winemb-usbboot.cab
Inside the 32bit ISO file, it is located at: DSPackagesFeaturePackx86~winemb-usbboot~~~~6.1.7601.17514~1.0winemb-usbboot.cab

2. Extract this CAB file and put it on a WinPE3.0 USB flash drive (You can use 7-zip or WinRAR to extract the CAB file).

3. Boot from the WinPE3.0 USB flash drive (on the PC with the Windows 7 installation), which should also contain DISM.exe and one of the above CAB files (x86 or AMD64).

4. Open a command prompt and type:
Dism /Image:G: /Add-Driver /Driver:F:USB-bootamd64~winemb-usbboot /Recurse /ForceUnsigned
(You must change drive letters, paths and x86/AMD64 according to your configuration)

Hope some of you guys will find this information helpful.

Edited by ericgl, 16 February 2012 - 12:31 AM.


#157 renee

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:49 AM

Help,

Id like to do this very much. I was a VMS developement engineer and one of the best. I was hit and run by an illegal alien. So it is difficult for me to intuit some of the differences in vocabulary that seem to be indigenous here, What brave soul is willing to help me make a good USB key?

Renee Culver

Edited by renee, 16 February 2012 - 05:50 AM.


#158 ericgl

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:00 AM

Just to clarify a few things:
1. DISM.exe can also be extracted from the WES7 SP1 ISO. It is located in the Sources folder.

2. I haven't tried the DISM command myself, but it should work given the right parameters.
If you can't get DISM to work its magic, you can always replace the USB drivers' files manually:
- Extract the contents of the CAB file onto the WinPE3.0 USB flash drive.
- Boot from the WinPE flash drive, and use Windows Explorer or QDir to replace the INF and SYS files on the internal HDD where Windows 7 is installed.
- Remove the internal HDD from the SATA port and place it in a USB enclosure.
- Try booting from USB port. It should work.

As always, make sure you know what you're doing.

Edited by ericgl, 16 February 2012 - 08:09 AM.


#159 sambul61

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:10 AM

What "previous post by cdob" - a link? Doesn't it say, all Win7 versions already contain required for native boot from USB drivers, they just need to be set active at boot in Registry?

#160 ericgl

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:14 AM

sambul61,

cdob's registry settings (run these commands from the Windows 7 search field or from command prompt with admin rights):



reg.exe add HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetControl /f /v BootDriverFlags /t REG_DWORD /d 0x6
reg.exe add HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetControlPnP /f /v PollBootPartitionTimeout /t REG_DWORD /d 30000

I'm not sure that these registry settings alone can help booting from USB. On the same machine - probably would be fine.
But on multiple machines with varying hardware, I would also suggest adding the Bootable USB driver stack instead of the regular USB driver in Windows 7.

Edited by ericgl, 16 February 2012 - 08:18 AM.


#161 sambul61

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:43 PM

Psl read the thread:

USB HDD boot and Windows 7 SP1

However, providing a "just in case if you're missing drivers in your Win7 install" method like you did is also fine. :)

#162 cdob

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:28 PM

making Win7 boot from a USB drive on many different machines.
I'm referring to Windows Embedded Standard 7 with SP1.

Thanks for confirmation.

Actually maanu named PollBootPartitionTimeout.
http://reboot.pro/98...post__p__127250
http://reboot.pro/98...post__p__127410

http://reboot.pro/14...post__p__127595
http://reboot.pro/14...post__p__127760

There are different usbstor.sys files: may relate to fixed and removable disk
Does another hardware gives different results?


http://reboot.pro/14...post__p__140022

Try Windows Embedded Standard 7 USB drivers.


sionicion described the driver issue. http://reboot.pro/68...post__p__137988

I'm convinced nowadays: Embedded drivers respect timing errors too.
History repeats itself, there are XP Embedded USB boot drivers. And Embedded Standard 7 drivers too.


Just curious: can you name some hardware examples?
Which examples require the embedded drivers?

I understand:
Embedded USB drivers are not signed properly: there is no relating *.cat file.

What happens, if you connect a USB device at booted machine?
Does PNP install default drivers or embedded drivers?
Which USB drivers are used at next boot?

#163 ericgl

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:29 PM

I decided to experiment with booting from USB and a Windows 7 installation (not the limited WinPE 3).
I have created a bootable USB flash drive with Windows Embedded Standard 7 SP1 x64 eng.

It contains the Bootable USB driver stack, and so far I have successfully booted on 3 different machines:
  • Dell Inspiron E6400 with Intel CPU + ICH7 chipset.
  • Toshiba U400 with Intel CPU + ICH8 chipset
  • AMD Athlon X2 CPU + NVIDIA nForce 570 (MCP55) chipset

Besides the Bootable USB driver stack, I made sure the registry was set to:
HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetControlBootDriverFlags = 0x6
HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetControlPnPPollBootPartitionTimeout = 30000




That's it.
In general, here's what I did:
I installed WES7 on a SATA SSD which I put inside a Toshiba U400 laptop. During the install process I made sure to select the Bootable USB driver stack instead of the regular stack.
Once I got it installed, I configured a few things to my liking, and made sure to check the registry contained the above settings.
By the way - The registry keys were already there, I only had to change 15000 to 30000.
I also got rid of the 100MB reserved partition and moved all the boot files straight to the WES7 partition (this step isn't really necessary...its more of a convenience for me).
I shut-down the machine and booted from a WinPE3 USB flash drive that I have, which contains Ghost 11.5.1.
Finally, I did a Disk to Disk with Ghost, and imaged the entire SSD to another 8GB USB flash drive.

My installation occupied about 6GB with an AntiVirus app and Windows updates, and my 8GB USB2.0 flash drive is really a 7.5GB drive when formatted.

Some recommendations:
  • Use at least a 16GB USB drive.
  • Make sure the USB drive is as fast as possible (preferably USB3.0), both in sequential and 4K speed.
  • I haven't connected my USB2.0 drive to a USB3.0 port as I don't have a machine with USB3.0, so I cannot give you a confirmation on this - but others have noted that you cannot boot from a USB3.0 port, so boot only from a USB2.0 port.
  • You don't have to use WES7. You can install any flavor of Windows 7 (Starter, Home Premium, Pro, Ultimate, Enterprise). Just make sure to replace the USB driver files with the bootable USB driver files. You can extract the winemb-usbboot.CAB file from WES7 ISO, just make sure its the right architecture (x86 or AMD64).
I truly love this method. I think its really the best option. You don't have any of the limitations and problems that arise with WinPE3.0 / WinPE3.1.
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#164 sambul61

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:54 PM

Hi ericgl,

If you believe, your methods are substantially different from what cdob and karyonix and others posted, why don't post them as a separate Tutorial? This way forum visitors would be able to easily find and compare various methods. Its better to clarify, HOW your method is different from these. :dubbio:

Also, cdob asked you some questions that may further his research into the topic. Why not answer them for the benefit of all? I say "all", since you referred in your posts to Reg corrections suggested by cdob, right? Now its not clear, for what OS versions the WES USB drivers need to be added to already supplied with Windows driver stack. And how your material is related to this thread by karyonix? :)

#165 ericgl

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:42 AM

sambul61,
Windows 7 Starter/Home Premium/Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise - all have a regular USB driver stack which isn't really meant for bootable devices.
WES7, on the other hand - offers you the choice of selecting which one you want during setup procedure.
My method isn't really different from cdob's. I only wanted to share the fact that the registry settings that cdob suggested actually work (which are actually documented on Microsoft's WES7 pages).
And it was also important to tell everyone that's reading this thread, that it is highly suggested to use the Bootable USB driver stack instead of the regular one - because it helps boot on many types of hardware without a problem.

​Additionally, I followed the procedure that Karionix describes:
  • Install Win7 on internal HDD.
  • Modify some settings to allow Win7 to boot from USB
  • Image the internal HDD to external USB HDD/flash
...which is what I did.
So there's nothing new for me to offer - I merely followed the guides in this very thread.


As for cdob's questions:
Q: can you name some hardware examples?
A: I already mentioned which machines I booted from.

Q: Which examples require the embedded drivers?
A: I don't really know. It just made sense to me to use the proper USB drivers (that Microsoft recommends for situations where the OS needs to be booted on many different machines).

Q: Embedded USB drivers are not signed properly: there is no relating *.cat file.
A: Yes, there is a CAT file: update.cat

Q: What happens, if you connect a USB device at booted machine?
Does PNP install default drivers or embedded drivers?
Which USB drivers are used at next boot?
A: As I said, you can install the Bootable USB driver stack during Windows Setup (in WES7), or replace the USB stack after setup in other flavors of Win7.
After the Bootable USB stack is installed, the OS on the USB drive will always use it. There can be only one USB stack.

Edited by ericgl, 23 February 2012 - 08:00 AM.


#166 sambul61

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:44 PM

Thanks. I guess what cdob meant, bootable USB Stack is already supplied with every Windows Install ISO and always installed onto HD by default, hence its simple activation when changing said Reg settings will do the trick. Its interesting to find out, whether in some cases the stack really needs to be added separately to make Win bootable from a USB Thumb... What are these cases? :dubbio:

#167 mactepu

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 01:36 PM

I decided to experiment with booting from USB and a Windows 7 installation (not the limited WinPE 3).
I have created a bootable USB flash drive with Windows Embedded Standard 7 SP1 x64 eng.

It contains the Bootable USB driver stack, and so far I have successfully booted on 3 different machines:

  • Dell Inspiron E6400 with Intel CPU + ICH7 chipset.
  • Toshiba U400 with Intel CPU + ICH8 chipset
  • AMD Athlon X2 CPU + NVIDIA nForce 570 (MCP55) chipset
Besides the Bootable USB driver stack, I made sure the registry was set to:
HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetControlBootDriverFlags = 0x6
HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetControlPnPPollBootPartitionTimeout = 30000




That's it.
In general, here's what I did:
I installed WES7 on a SATA SSD which I put inside a Toshiba U400 laptop. During the install process I made sure to select the Bootable USB driver stack instead of the regular stack.
Once I got it installed, I configured a few things to my liking, and made sure to check the registry contained the above settings.
By the way - The registry keys were already there, I only had to change 15000 to 30000.
I also got rid of the 100MB reserved partition and moved all the boot files straight to the WES7 partition (this step isn't really necessary...its more of a convenience for me).
I shut-down the machine and booted from a WinPE3 USB flash drive that I have, which contains Ghost 11.5.1.
Finally, I did a Disk to Disk with Ghost, and imaged the entire SSD to another 8GB USB flash drive.

My installation occupied about 6GB with an AntiVirus app and Windows updates, and my 8GB USB2.0 flash drive is really a 7.5GB drive when formatted.

Some recommendations:
  • Use at least a 16GB USB drive.
  • Make sure the USB drive is as fast as possible (preferably USB3.0), both in sequential and 4K speed.
  • I haven't connected my USB2.0 drive to a USB3.0 port as I don't have a machine with USB3.0, so I cannot give you a confirmation on this - but others have noted that you cannot boot from a USB3.0 port, so boot only from a USB2.0 port.
  • You don't have to use WES7. You can install any flavor of Windows 7 (Starter, Home Premium, Pro, Ultimate, Enterprise). Just make sure to replace the USB driver files with the bootable USB driver files. You can extract the winemb-usbboot.CAB file from WES7 ISO, just make sure its the right architecture (x86 or AMD64).
I truly love this method. I think its really the best option. You don't have any of the limitations and problems that arise with WinPE3.0 / WinPE3.1.


not to make things dificult, but so far the cdob method work for me, i really happy about it because i need the win 7 bootable-usb just for myself...i can boot it on my machine (laptop) and also i can boot on another slower machine (running xp with 1gb ram, i dont read all specs) with same brand as mine...

but perhaps later on i should try yours :)

#168 gegonut

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:22 PM

I've got a question. Using the basic method outlined by karyonix (installing to a SATA drive, running the scripts, cloning to USB with clone7.bat), I was able to get my Windows 7 Embedded Standard image booting from USB. However, when I boot, I have three distinct differences between my working image on the SATA drive and this one:

1. Every time, the image claims that I shut down improperly, giving me the option to boot into safe mode, etc. Not great for a production machine.

2. Every time I boot up, the image goes through "Preparing the desktop ..." step for an extended period of time.

3. When I get to the desktop, my custom shell no longer opens; instead, I am greeted with a cornflower blue desktop and the dreaded "This copy of Windows is not genuine" in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

Does anyone know why this may be? The installation on SATA is perfect. I did make some changes to winload for custom branding on boot but this works fine on my SATA image. My next steps were going to be trying to clone via Ghost instead of clone7.bat, and then perhaps rebuild the OS and go to USB before I make any changes at all, although that will really slow my development. Is there something else that I am missing?

#169 gegonut

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 01:15 PM

It turns out there was something I was missing: on the SATA drive, my installation was located at F:, and when I cloned it over, it became C:. I changed it to F: via the registry, and now it boots normally, except that it still says it is not genuine. My custom shell comes up and functions properly, and the desktop color is correct, but I have no mouse capability, and the software is not passing validation. I am going to try some of ericgl's methods but if anyone has some more advice, it would be much appreciated.

#170 gegonut

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 01:45 PM

No need for any further work. In my case, I just rebooted and my Embedded installation came back up as genuine. Everything works fine now. Thanks for the excellent work on this, karyonix, and for everyone in this forum who provided so much excellent information.

#171 pedude

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 03:04 PM

Excellent topic again and great comments and questions too. I use a program for mounting iso files and run USB disk and wonder if this would work on this too for testing. It saves time to reboot the pc and test. It is called MobaLiveCD_v2.1.exe. Thank you all for this great read

http://mobalivecd.mobatek.net/en/

Edited by pedude, 17 August 2012 - 03:31 PM.


#172 Agent_Smith

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 03:32 PM

Does anyone have a quick link to just the Win 7 embedded USB drivers? 






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