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[Tutorial] Boot Windows 7 from USB-HD.


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#1 blackbalfur

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 07:19 AM

Basicly this is what i did to make my portable Windows 7 Image.

first things first, this is what i needed to build this image:

1. VMware Workstation (i used version 5.5.4 build-44386)

2. Acronis® True Image Echo Enterprise Server® Bootcd (build 8.076)

3. A Windows 7 install DVD (any version)

4. blackbalfur.iso (containing text files and an automated .exe file to add reg files to your image)

5. An USB-HD.


I used this software but you could use something simular ofcourse.

Now lets start, you have to setup your VM and install Windows 7 to it.

Keep it as basic as you can, so don't install any network connection to it and don't
install any driver software to it.

You can change the looks of Windows 7 as you wish and do a bit of cleaning up.

I had choosen a tiny version of Windows 7 to make this image (so that it is only 1,8 GB in size
when it is fully installed and still has most features in it)

But if you wish to use a full version that is possible too!

Now that you did all the things that you have to do to make the os as you like it
we will start making it "Universal".

I included a little blackbalfur.iso file with a folder called "blackbalfur" in it.

There is an option in VMware under devices-->double leftmouse click "CD-ROM (IDE 1:0)-->
Use ISO image--> sellect blackbalfur.iso

Start the VM and in the virtual cdrom you will find the blackbalfur.iso with the
blackbalfur folder--> copy/paste this folder to your desktop.

You have to run the shortcut i included in the make universal folder
(in the blackbalfur folder): devmgmt.msc
sellect "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers"

there will be two options there rightmouse click the first option--> Update Driver Software-->
Browse my computer for driver software--> Let me pick from a list of device drivers on
my computer-->You will see that there is 1 option and you must choose "cancel" here.

I made you do this step to let you see there is only one option!!!!

Ok now we will take the other option under "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers"

rightmouse click the second option--> Update Driver Software-->
Browse my computer for driver software--> Let me pick from a list of device drivers on
my computer--> now you can choose between two options sellect
"Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller"-->Next--> close.


Shutdown the computer unsellect the "Use ISO image" under devices and restart.

for the second time run the shortcut "devmgmt.msc" i've uncluded in this folder.

Follow this path: System devices--> Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System--> "right mouse click
this option--> Uninstall--> ok.

This will take some time let it do the magic!

It will ask you to restart the computer now--> sellect "NO"

You must first run the "universal registry.exe" file i included in the make universal folder.

Now shutdown your computer, it is ready to make a backup of it.


There is an option in VMware under devices-->double leftmouse click "CD-ROM (IDE 1:0)-->
Use ISO image--> sellect Acronis.iso (or another bootcd).


Now comes the tricky part we will start the VM again but when you see the boot screen
of VMware left mouse click in the black booting screen and press the "Esc" key.

You must do this fast (before you boot into Windows 7!!!)
Now you are in the Boot Menu of VMware.


Now it is time to plug in your USB-HD and wait a few seconds.

Go to the upper tool bar of VMware ( you can go out VMware by clicking "ctrl" and "alt" at
the same time)
Select VM--> Removable devices--> USB Devices--> your USB device (it will be in this list)

your USB-HDD will be unplugged from your physical computer and will be plugged in your VMware image.

Now you can select "3. CD-ROM Drive" in the Boot Menu of VMware.

your Acronis bootcd will boot and you can backup this Universal Windows 7 image to your USB-HD.

You got your Universal Windows 7 (Acronis) image standing on your USB-HD now and
it is ready to use.

Copy/paste this .tib file to your desktop and format your USB-HD.

Now let your fysical computer boot from the Acronis bootcd and restore the .tib file from
your desktop to your USB-HD.

So you have restored the Image to your USB-HD, now it is time to let your computer boot from
your USB-HD for the first time (set it to boot from USB).

It will find the right drivers on its own, this will take some time (4 minutes)

After installing all the drivers (only not the right video drivers!) it will ask you to Restart.
Don't do this but choose "Restart Later" and first run the "universal registry.exe" i've included
in this folder on the desktop of Windows 7!

Now you can restart the computer and enjoy portable
windows 7.

the first time you restored this image to your USB-HD your USB-HD will be the size you selected in VMware.

to expand it run the "diskmgmt.msc" that i've included in this Expand your hd folder
(In the blackbalfur folder on the desktop of Windows 7).

sellect your USB-HD in here and right mouse click it (It will be C: in here!!!!!)

Sellect "Extend Volume" and run it.

Now it will use your whole USB-HD.

If you want to switch to another computer you have to follow this path:

first run the shortcut "devmgmt.msc" i've uncluded in this make universal folder
(In the blackbalfur on the desktop of Windows 7).

Follow this path: System devices--> Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System--> "right mouse click
this option--> Uninstall--> ok.

This will take some time let it do the magic!

It will ask you to Restart Now, do that but remove your USB-HD when it is totally shutdown
and let your regular os boot the computer.

Take this USB-HD to the other machine and boot from it, it will find the right drivers again
this will take some time again, let it do the magic, it will ask you to restart again but
now sellect "Restart Later" and first run the "universal registry.exe" i've included
in this folder!

Now shutdown the computer and you are ready to stick this USB-HD in an other PC!!


Ps. for the ones that wanted to know what is in the "universal registry.exe"

It is an automated way to add some registry key's to the Register (silent).


Here is what it will add and remove:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices][HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\CrashControl]"AutoReboot"=dword:00000000[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\usbccgp]"Start"=dword:00000000"Group"="System Reserved"[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\usbehci]"Start"=dword:00000000"Group"="System Reserved"[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\usbhub]"Start"=dword:00000000"Group"="System Reserved"[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\usbohci]"Start"=dword:00000000"Group"="System Reserved"[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\USBSTOR]"Start"=dword:00000000[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\usbuhci]"Start"=dword:00000000"Group"="System Reserved"


This reg entries are the real magic i discovered to make this portable Windows 7.


Download blackbalfur.iso (326 kb):

blackbalfur.iso

#2 yahoouk

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 08:21 AM

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Download blackbalfur.iso (326 kb):

blackbalfur.iso


Thanks for your sharing, I'll try it a must.

YahooUK

#3 was_jaclaz

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:12 AM

Good. :)

This reg entries are the real magic i discovered to make this portable Windows 7.

With all due respect :) nothing really new (in the sense of "discovered" :)), they are all known settings deriving from the original findings of Dietmar Stoelting for booting XP and later Vista from USB.

In a nutshell:
  • remove mounted devices <- to allow re-enumerating drive(s)
  • set autoreboot off <- to allow seeing BSOD if any
  • set USB services to autostart and System Reserved <- to allow an early start of the services

JFYI:
  • there is some debate whether System Reserved or Boot Bus Extender or SystemBus Extender are the appropriate LoadOrderGroups, see here:
    http://www.911cd.net...showtopic=22473
    http://www.911cd.net...o...=22473&st=4
  • using ControlSet001 is basically inaccurate, you should use CurrentControlSet as you cannot really say if ControlSet001 or ControlSet002 or ControlSet00n will be used on a particualr machine/instance

:drunk:

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#4 blackbalfur

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 05:19 PM

Yeah "discoverd" was mabe a mis-used word, i meanted it as an other (easier) way to get them into the image.

I learned a lot from the ngine XP booting from USB-HD.

I even made an XP-SP3 image that is in a pre-installed state
So restored to an USB-HD you could take it to any computer and it will install Windows XP on that USB-HD without removing the internal HD's!!

You might be right about using the ControlSet001, but on all the computers i tested it on it was ControlSet001.

I will test if what you say is true and use CurrentControlSet the next time i build one :drunk: .

#5 was_jaclaz

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 05:30 PM

You mean you doubt my word for it? :)

:)

FYI, the mechanism is the following:
  • when booting windows checks the contents of the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Select
  • it maps to CurrentControlSet the 00n value it finds in "Default", and this value is written to "Current"

99,9% of the times the CurrentControlSet is 001 :drunk: , but there are situations, expecially when there has been a failed boot, that this value may be changed to 002 or in the case of an "old" install, even higher numbers, I still have working a Win2K, never re-installed since 2003 where CurrentConrolSet is ControlSet005 :).

:)

jaclaz

#6 blackbalfur

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 05:43 PM

There is one thing i learned and that is never to trust someone on his/her word :drunk: .

Thats why i will test it.

•when booting windows checks the contents of the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Select

I knew this and it always says ControlSet001 but you are right there will be setups where it might be different.

#7 was_jaclaz

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 05:54 PM

There is one thing i learned and that is never to trust someone on his/her word :) .


Wise approach. :)
http://www.911cd.net...o...21049&st=17 :)

:drunk:

jaclaz

#8 edborg

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:35 PM

With all due respect :whistling: nothing really new (in the sense of "discovered" :whistling:), they are all known settings deriving from the original findings of Dietmar Stoelting for booting XP and later Vista from USB.

In a nutshell:

  • remove mounted devices <- to allow re-enumerating drive(s)
  • set autoreboot off <- to allow seeing BSOD if any
  • set USB services to autostart and System Reserved <- to allow an early start of the services

I haven't tried this other method yet, but thanks to the author for posting it. :thumbup:

What I'm curious to know is whether the removal of mounted devices is considered absolutely necessary to ensure booting from different PCs.
I remember that Dietmar's methods (which I used for XP) did that, whereas karyonix' methods (which I used for Windows 7) didn't.
Todate I successfully booted my Windows 7 on three different computers (2 notebooks, 1 desktop), but I've not tested it enough to be 100% sure it is "universal".

Thanks for clarifying the theory.
edborg

#9 wimb

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 04:34 PM

For booting Windows 7 from USB-HDD on a computer with BIOS SATA = AHCI controller setting,
it is needed that the msahci service has Start = 0

The msahci service has Start = 3 after install on computer with BIOS SATA = IDE controller setting.
Such setting results in BSOD 7B on computer with BIOS SATA = AHCI controller setting.

See post #8
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=9830
http://www.boot-land...?...c=9830&st=7

#10 LevT

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:37 AM

For booting Windows 7 from USB-HDD on a computer with BIOS SATA = AHCI controller setting,
it is needed that the msahci service has Start = 0



Thanks but it looks like this is not enough.

I have a USB-HDD made by the karyonix guide (at first in vmware).

Now the Windows 7 boots smoothly while it is attached directly to a SATA AHCI channel. But it does fail USB booting if I nave not switched the bios to IDE mode.

#11 wimb

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:54 AM

You need to add the SATA driver for AHCI controller and the registry tweaks in
ControlSet001\Control\CriticalDeviceDatabase and ControlSet001\Services\iaStor

The boot mechanism I think :thumbsup: is about as:
  • msahci service will Enum the SATA device for AHCI controller (asked for by BIOS)
  • SATA device is found in ControlSet001\Control\CriticalDeviceDatabase and mentions which service is needed e.g. iaStor
  • ControlSet001\Services\iaStor will make service (driver) available for booting
See example in HKLM_systemdst_iaStor.reg as given for iaStor AHCI controller

The IMX_XP_Restore.exe program takes already care of everything for the given case of iaStor driver,
but only the msahci tweak needs still to be added to HKLM_systemdst_iaStor.reg

#12 LevT

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 09:48 AM

The IMX_XP_Restore.exe program takes already care of everything



Thanks...
but personally I am out of point of the WinPE 2.1 role in the process of imaging

And even I am not sure how to get this one.

#13 wimb

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 03:58 PM

but personally I am out of point of the WinPE 2.1 role in the process of imaging

WinPE 2.1 is not used by the programs of IMX_XP.exe package.

I just used booting with WinPE 2.1 in the procedure for Install of Windows 7 from folder on USB-stick,
but of course you can also install Windows 7 from DVD.

#14 edborg

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 09:51 AM

A humble suggestion.
wimb's method looks interesting, but it's a completely different approach from those of both blackbalfur and karyonix.
To avoid confusion and misunderstandings, why not to set it up as an additional (pinned) topic, as well as this one?

edborg

#15 was_jaclaz

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 10:00 AM

A humble suggestion.
wimb's method looks interesting, but it's a completely different approach from those of both blackbalfur and karyonix.
To avoid confusion and misunderstandings, why not to set it up as an additional (pinned) topic, as well as this one?

edborg


Well, I just pinned the blackbalfur's one.
The wimb's one is ALREADY pinned, in the Firadisk forum:
http://www.boot-land...hp?showforum=94

jaclaz

#16 blackbalfur

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:18 AM

Well, I just pinned the blackbalfur's one.
The wimb's one is ALREADY pinned, in the Firadisk forum:
http://www.boot-land...hp?showforum=94

jaclaz


Ha i see this topic is pinned.

Wanted to let you guys know that it is possible to make severall partitions on your USB-HD and restore as many Portable Windows 7 versions too those partitions as you want.
All those different versions are capable of booting to different computers.

Let me explain:

First i made a Base "Portable windows 7" version that will have the System Reserved Partition and the MBR.

This Base version i use on my main computer.

I let it boot and install all the right drivers on it.

Now it is time to make three extra partitions on that USB-HD.

To this partitions i restore (with Acronis) the image i used for the base "Portable Windows 7" but the difference this time is i only restore the windows part (so not the System Reserved Partition and the MBR this time!!)(i used the partition to be Primair instead of being logical)

From within Portable windows 7 (running from my main PC) i make the needed boot entries with this freeware program:

EasyBCD 1.7.2

http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1


It says that it works for Vista but believe me it works for Windows 7 perfectly!

When you added the three partitions with Portable Windows 7 on it you can go to another comp and let it boot.

You have 30 seconds to dicide wich Portable 7 partition you want to boot!

I have succesfully used this technique on 4 different computers.

So 1 USB-HD and 4 partitions on it, all different partitions are booting to totally different computers!!!

Even on my Eeepc :thumbsup: .

I used 4 but you can make more partitions the limit is the size of your USB-HD.

PS. the bootscreen is a little different from the base Windows 7 compared to the other Windows 7 partitions.

#17 NK!

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 04:54 PM

hi everyone,
I managed to make my windows 7 bootable with the method of backfaldur, nevertheless, it does not survive reboot of my portable computer.
I try to start it to 4 different DESKTOP pc with success (in this case a server-based Atom processor, another on an asus motherboard and intel quad core, one equipped with a athlon x2 and finally another one with a quad core intel also).
but what I find strange is that it succed to boot on the LAPTOP, it installs the drivers on it, but when I restarted it stop on the famous error 7b.
I use the 7 ultimate version in 32bit for increased compatibility with computers, the laptop used are Samsung NC10 netbook with an Atom processor and sata drive, the second is an old athlonx2 approximately 2 years old running under windows vista.
so if anyone had already encountered the problem or knows the solution I would be happy to known it, thank you.

#18 blackbalfur

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 12:52 AM

hi everyone,
I managed to make my windows 7 bootable with the method of backfaldur, nevertheless, it does not survive reboot of my portable computer.
I try to start it to 4 different DESKTOP pc with success (in this case a server-based Atom processor, another on an asus motherboard and intel quad core, one equipped with a athlon x2 and finally another one with a quad core intel also).
but what I find strange is that it succed to boot on the LAPTOP, it installs the drivers on it, but when I restarted it stop on the famous error 7b.
I use the 7 ultimate version in 32bit for increased compatibility with computers, the laptop used are Samsung NC10 netbook with an Atom processor and sata drive, the second is an old athlonx2 approximately 2 years old running under windows vista.
so if anyone had already encountered the problem or knows the solution I would be happy to known it, thank you.


NK! the trick is when the computer ask you to reboot (so when you installed the right drivers!) run the "universal registry.exe" first.

So when it ask you to reboot press no and run the "universal registry.exe" and then reboot!!!.

This way it will work trust me :rolleyes: .

Every time you installed drivers you should run the "universal registry.exe".

PS. try to write my name correctly :confused1: :cheers: :rolleyes: .

#19 NK!

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 12:40 PM

hi and... hum, sorry for your name!
well sorry if this post is too long but i will try to summerize all the step i have done to get there so you will be able to see that i have try everything.

in the first shot i try to do it with your "universal registry.exe" that you put in you iso file but it seem to be corrupt since nothing happen when i launch it, and when i restart ( on a laptop or a desktop computer) it fall back on the 7b error.

so what i do is to copy and paste the content of it that you put on the first page of the topic, rename it in a .reg file.
with this it daes reboot once, then the computer install driver, i launch the .reg file again and reboot, and here 7b error again.

so i try to search on the over topic people that have the same problem and i find in the karyonix's topic a member call ktp who seem to have the same problem and resolve it with his usb_all.reg. file.
i copy his file and apply to your method.
with this it daes reboot without the 7b bsod but only in the DESKTOP computer ( i do 4 reboot just to be sure).with this file i do not need to launch your .reg file ( i do the test with and without).
the problem is that it daes boot on LAPTOP once with this method and bsod in the second altrough it work very well on the DESKTOP computer.

so i don't see where is the problem.
maybe your iso file is corrupt but that don't explain why it would boot once and and bsod in the second.
i wait for your answer, thank you.

#20 wimb

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 01:27 PM

so i don't see where is the problem.
maybe your iso file is corrupt but that don't explain why it would boot once and and bsod in the second.
i wait for your answer, thank you.

http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=9830

Setting the msahci Service Start = 0 as done with IMG_XP_Restore.exe can solve your problem.

After Install of Windows 7 on system with BIOS SATA = IDE Controller, then the msahci Service has Start = 3.
Subsequent booting from USB-HD with msahci Start=3 on system with BIOS SATA = AHCI controller results in BSOD 7B.
The msahci tweak has been added to HKLM_systemdst_iaStor.reg used by Add iaStor - AHCI CheckBox.
This is needed to prevent BSOD 7B in Restore of Windows 7 for support of BIOS with SATA = AHCI controller setting.



#21 NK!

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 03:29 PM

hi everyone, i just want you to known that i have finally make it work. i have try the XP_IMG method and other things that i found all arround the forum with no succes.
and then i just scan my hard disk with hd sentinel who find me 43 defective sector. i have done a low level format on it but it daesn't change a thing.
So i did buy a new one with a news enclosure, restore my first image that i have made with blackbalfur method and acronis true image and it work perfectly ( on laptop and desktop computer ).
so before you fight with all the tutorials that are present in this forum take a look at your hardware first.
it may save you some time

and for the one that use acronis true image, ask him when you use a usb key to restore the image AND the mbr otherwise it will not boot either.
voila and thank you again blackbalfur for your great method that is one of the best and fastest that are post here.

#22 blackbalfur

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 08:44 PM

hi everyone, i just want you to known that i have finally make it work. i have try the XP_IMG method and other things that i found all arround the forum with no succes.
and then i just scan my hard disk with hd sentinel who find me 43 defective sector. i have done a low level format on it but it daesn't change a thing.
So i did buy a new one with a news enclosure, restore my first image that i have made with blackbalfur method and acronis true image and it work perfectly ( on laptop and desktop computer ).
so before you fight with all the tutorials that are present in this forum take a look at your hardware first.
it may save you some time

and for the one that use acronis true image, ask him when you use a usb key to restore the image AND the mbr otherwise it will not boot either.
voila and thank you again blackbalfur for your great method that is one of the best and fastest that are post here.


Great to hear that it worked for you, have you allready tested the using of 1 USB-HD that is capable of booting too multiple computers?
That my friend is really amazing.
Personally i had 1 USB-HD working on 4 different computers (all have their own partition ofcourse!)
Every partition with it's own drivers for the specific computer.
Hard to believe but it truly works. :lol:




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