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Universal HDD Image files for XP and Windows 7

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#501 gbrao

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:26 PM

please let me know how to install winvblock in the W7 installed to a partition - there seems to be more than one way. i use winvblock.ima ( or the files extracted from it ) from XP_IMG ?

while using your tools, can they be rerun on the same image ? for eg., i use vhd_w7_compact but i forget to select waitbt, can i rerun it with only waitbt selected ?

no problem using W7 ultimate as source, right ? you mentioned W7 Pro, that why i'm asking.

#502 wimb

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:47 PM

Assuming your Windows 7 is 32-bits version:

Use files from IMG_XPmakebtSha0-winvblock-b57769fbin
Use Info from IMG_XPHelp_InfoWinVBlock_Install.txt

Install of WinVBlock driver in running W7 32-bits OS
1. copy wvblk32.sys to C:WINDOWSsystem32drivers
2. open cmd prompt at C:WINDOWSsystem32
3. give commands
sc create WinVBlock binPath= c:windowssystem32driverswvblk32.sys type= kernel start= boot group= "SCSI miniport"
net start winvblock

Result:
C:WINDOWSsystem32>sc create WinVBlock binPath= c:windowssystem32driverswvblk32.sys type= kernel start= boot group= "SCSI miniport"
[SC] CreateService SUCCESS
C:WINDOWSsystem32>net start winvblock
The WinVBlock-service was started successfully

4. Device Manager > Unknown Device > Update driver > Browse to C:WinVBlock_0.0.1.8bin and Install anyway - use Force to Update Unsigned driver
5. Reboot - In Device Manager now Storage controllers > WinVBlock Bus should be visible as installed SCSIAdapter


You can use W7 Ultimate as well as W7 Pro (but Pro requires WinVBlock as FILEDISK driver since it has not native VHD driver support)

Run VHD_W7_Compact.exe OFFLINE again to create NEW Portable W7 Image file using W7 partition as source

EDIT: just tested in W7 32-bits and adjusted the description for W7 OS

#503 gbrao

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:29 AM

hi, now that i've built a UniXP and Uni7, i'm using them quite often. thanks. infact i like using the uni-micro-xp with opera ( booted from ramdisk ) so much i'm using it most of the time. almost like booting from ssd.

one request/suggestion : is it possible somehow to have a option to save changes ( eg. a app installed/updated ) made to the xp booted from ramdisk to the img it was booted from ( or to another img ) ? sometimes i make changes and then realise i've booted from ramdisk so the changes won't be saved. maybe a new 'project' for you ;-) .

btw : i've come across a ramos that allows it ( by maanu ). i think it used a wim.

one question : why do apps like hdtune report read & write speed for the drive in ramdisk (C:) so much lower than what users report for ssd ( > 500MB/s ) ?

#504 wimb

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:10 PM

IMG_XP_Update.exe is used after booting with XP Image file from RAMDISK, to Update the Image file that you just booted from.
The Total Update option should do the work.

I don't know about the ssd speed measurements

#505 i

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 11:57 AM

Hi :huh: Quick question: does IMG_XP_Update.exe update something.IMG.GZ??? because here is what i do (to currently update my image)
01. Extract image,
02. Run ccleaner to clean garbage
03. Run IMG_XP_Update.exe
04. run defrag app to defrag files AND "compact"
05. run ccleaner to wipe out free space
06. run gzip.exe -1 myFile.img

If you can automate these actions for *.img and *.vhd,... thanks in advance

#506 wimb

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:30 PM

Hi :huh: Quick question: does IMG_XP_Update.exe update something.IMG.GZ

No (not yet ...).
What is the advantage for you of using gzip ?
AFAIR the file will may be Load faster in RAM, but for booting you need more time. :unsure:

NTFS Compression was used already to limit the size.

Cleaning and Wiping is anyway a task better done with other programs.

:cheers:

#507 i

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:01 PM

No (not yet ...).
What is the advantage for you of using gzip ?
AFAIR the file will may be Load faster in RAM, but for booting you need more time.


My 4GB image (which has 2.8GB unused) takes too much time getting mapped into memory, when I gzip the image, the size is 513MB. For the first GB (optimally "compacted" used space) gets mapped slow (at 'XX' MB/s) but then it SKY Rockets :D (at 'XXX' MB/s on hdd) basically saving me time. Beyond that, i don't see any delay from NTLDR's start.


NTFS Compression was used already to limit the size.

NTFS compression gives me some micro delays showing desktop and starting apps. Sadly, i noticed it on my ATOM processor computer so choose to turn it off. I'm not sure if NTFS compression on image hosting partition helps grub4dos mapping faster or not (if thats what you mean). :huh: The compression inside the image disk does not help decrease size of *.img

Cleaning and Wiping is anyway a task better done with other programs.

If empty space is not cleaned, the gzip compression takes time AND the compressed *.gz file become BIG. If a lame defrag program is run, it will defrag files all right but, it will leave too much empty space in the middle of sector blocks. This, at the time of mapping image to ram, slows (for some time). Yes, it is done better by other progam(s) so far but i was hoping one more "checkbox" :P in your update app, doing all these...



as always its up to you :) Ultimately, for me, gzipping image gave me more usable GBs after windows started and used the unused area of RAM. Sometimes, people choose to keep smaller image (1.xGB) so grub4dos maps it faster on ram. (because they don't want go through above steps, requiring many apps)

#508 wimb

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:30 PM

Thanks for the explanation.
Now I know why you have benefit from gzip since you have a lot of empty space in quite a large Image file.

I have not that much RAM and my Image files have typical size of 1.6 - 1.0 GB
The NTFS Compression just allows me to use slightly smaller sized Image files.

I am afraid that the extra checkbox will not yet appear ......
I think in your approach other programs can do better the optimization of your Image file.

How about booting as FILEDISK instead of as RAMDISK
FILEDISK is booting quite fast and you don't need to Update, since it is done automatically
In that case you can make use of EWF write filter to protect and only Update when desired.

#509 i

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:39 PM

Thanks for the explanation.
Now I know why you have benefit from gzip since you have a lot of empty space in quite a large Image file.

I have not that much RAM and my Image files have typical size of 1.6 - 1.0 GB
The NTFS Compression just allows me to use slightly smaller sized Image files.

These days many laptops comes with 4GB (which people can upgrade to 8 or 16GB). RAM is so cheap :)

I am afraid that the extra checkbox will not yet appear ......
I think in your approach other programs can do better the optimization of your Image file.

yes they do, i was merely hoping that you add some apps in your IMG_XP package that helps...

How about booting as FILEDISK instead of as RAMDISK
FILEDISK is booting quite fast and you don't need to Update, since it is done automatically
In that case you can make use of EWF write filter to protect and only Update when desired.

:w00t: FileDisk vs RamDisk in speed? :hyper: no way anything can beat RAM in speed... (not even ssd)

edit: A possible TO DO for you:...
00. function to know which file user selected to update (*.img | *.vhd | *.img.gz | *.vhd.gz | *img.lzma | *.vhd.lzma)
01. function to extract *.gz | *.lzma
02. function to remove garbage files after mounting with imDisk (*.log,*.tmp,*.bak,*.old, %windir%\ERDNT, etc ccleaner files and registry entries? :P etc)
03. after updating, remove newly created %windir%\erdnt and defrag files inside image...
04. look for a compact.exe out there and use it to tightly compact (and place all files at beginning of image drive)
05. re-create .gz with gzip -1 *.* (using -9 will slows compression time and possibly decompression time :huh: )

edit2: img_xp_create.exe can detect BIOS reported RAM size and subtract it with x86's reported RAM AND suggest user(s) to create remaining large X GB img.gz

#510 sambul61

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:37 PM

i

I think, wimb is correct: instead of reading a large image into RAM and then booting from it, it may be faster to directly boot OS from file-disk. You would know that, if visit the forum more often. :) Besides, upon boot you'll have a lot more free RAM to play with.

#511 i

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:45 PM

i

I think, wimb is correct: instead of reading a large image into RAM and then booting from it, it may be faster to directly boot OS from file-disk. You would know that, if visit the forum more often. :)

The purpose of creating gzip here is to give user(s) many GBs of free space after windows is loaded. Large file no longer remains large once it is gzipped (as already show in above post, my 4GB image is 513MB) which is like compressing image AND used space (regardless of NTFS compression ON or OFF) :)

This also saves life of hard disk. Using a giant filedisk.img is same as booting normally from hdd (without grub4dos). Its the speed that matter here :P

#512 sambul61

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:54 PM

Even better when booting it as file-disk... still faster than the 2-step process above. Having Atom proc with 4Gb RAM is already on edge, increasing it doesn't seem to provide benefits compare to overall PC upgrade. I mean, running OS from RAM delivers questionable advantage, since once booted the main PC load comes from apps, not OS. Extra RAM would help in running several VMs and other apps, yet most of these are also processing power hungry.

#513 i

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:09 PM

Even better when booting it as file-disk... still faster than the 2-step process above. Having Atom proc with 4G RAM is already on edge, increasing it doesn't seem to provide benefits compare to overall PC upgrade. I mean, running OS from RAM delivers questionable advantage, since once booted the main PC load comes from apps, not OS. Extra RAM would help in running several VMs and other apps, yet most of these are also processing power hungry.

Take a look at this computer, these days atom proc computers don't just stay there for downloading purposes... it also comes with powerful features (while still saving energy). BTW i've 8GB :P 3.x given to OS, 4 given to RAMdisk and rest to unknown system reserves :)

graphics hungry apps get served in this... and also in this new atom computer.

edit: edited my last reply post to wimb
good day/night... everyone in your respective regions...

#514 gbrao

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:30 AM

:w00t: FileDisk vs RamDisk in speed? :hyper: no way anything can beat RAM in speed... (not even ssd)


what transfer rates do you get from drive c: for xp booted from ramdisk ? i used hdtune & crystal diskmark. rates were not that good.
http://reboot.pro/98...post__p__148589

#515 sambul61

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:24 AM

i

I actually like the trend of offloading video decoding to GPU via DXVA & CUDA that allows to overall decrease a media device cost due to cheaper less able CPU. Increasing RAM size may indeed allow some speed boost given slower hard drive models commonly used in laptops. Overall such design strategy targets consumer and student markets. It doesn't seem to be suited for general and commercial apps with large computational workload.

I also wonder how such devices perform in popular games? It usually requires supporting extra effects and more GPU power than movie playback, while targeting the same segment of users.

Given RAM cost is relatively small compare to retail laptop prices, it might make sense for an owner to try using RAM instead of HD in consumer apps. In fact, large PC Case form factors may be destined to disappear soon enough altogether with mechanical HDs. Yet keep in mind, this forum is more oriented to PC Enthusiasts with very limited budget rather than ordinary Blue-ray watchers. In fact, they may have a hard time figuring what wimb's tools are for. :)

Why do you need using XP, when Win7 Embedded may deliver better user experience in a small footprint? Consider using VHD features of wimb's tools to maintain software balance with your advanced Atom hardware... :D

#516 Dynthor

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 05:25 PM

I agree Sambul, at least when it comes to 32bit. These applications and ramdrivers really won`t show much benefit untill development starts focusing on the 64bit os, or somehow tap into 32bit unmanaged memory. Can`t wait to see a IMG_7x64. Even if ya gotta run the annoying test-sign mode, these applications running on a 64bit without the memory limitations of 32bit will really have some practical benefits. Especially with how cheap ram is these days and the only real bottleneck in modern pc today still seems to be hard drive transfer I/O speeds, even with SSD`s nothing can compare to access speed of data in memory. Come on fellas, its time to let go of XP , were all waiting for you :poke:

#517 sambul61

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 05:50 PM

If you want to run Win 7 from a virtual IMG disk, WES7 is small enough and natively supported for boot from VHD - no Test Mode needed. Of course, 64-bit signed driver versions of WinVBlock & FiraDisk would be nice to have in theory, but in practice WES7 is a good substitution and can be run from RAM. There are separate discussions about it on the forum - just look for WES7 & ThinPC threads. ThinPC though is 32-bit. :)

#518 i

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:49 PM

...Come on fellas, its time to let go of XP , were all waiting for you :poke:

its a matter of user's comfort, preferences and getting the job done. why go for a BIG gun when you can get the job done with small :P


one must not abandon fixable things to garbage simply because new one just came out.

#519 wimb

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:29 AM

-
*** Update IMG_XP package Version 4.5 ***

  • Update - New User Interface for IMG_XP_Create.exe to make XP Image file for direct Install of XP
  • Update - USB_XP_Fix.exe and USB_W7_Fix.exe - Making Grub4dos Boot Menu and adding VHD BootManager Menu
  • Added - MBR_Backup Portable App in MULTIPStartProgs - Launched from PStart Menu
    - to Backup the Bootsectors of all your drives - Handy when needed in case of computer disaster
  • Added - Rufus USB Format Utility for USB-sticks - Thanks to Akeo - http://reboot.pro/16374/
  • Added - Install of XP or Windows 7 from USB by using WinNTSetup2_x86.exe and Setup ISO file in Virtual drive
    - Help_Info in file XP-W7-Setup.txt - Thanks to JFX - http://www.msfn.org/...-winntsetup-v2/
  • Changed - All programs of IMG_XP package can run now in path with spaces
  • Changed - Program Version - latest version is 4.5

Download - IMG_XP

Run IMG_XP.exe to Extract to simple path

BOOT_USB.exe was tested with XP and Windows 7 with User Account Control Off (also x64 version)

:cheers:

#520 i

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:26 PM

downloading, storing...



Got so many versions of you app now, i've created "old" folder to paste old versions there as soon a new one comes out :) GBs are cheap (RAM or HDD) :P


edit: though it sucks to see nothing new in *.gz area :P (guess i'll have continue doing it the long way)

#521 wimb

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 07:55 PM

Latest Version 4.5 of IMG_XP package is a Major revision with lots of improvement.

However, it does not have (yet ....) *.gz support, but it might be that next version has some support to use gzip compression.
That may help you already to reduce the work, but I think that the full Image optimization as you have in mind
will also involve using other specilized programs for Cleanup and Defragmentation.

Have a try, the Mini Version of 32-bits Windows 7 as made with VHD_W7_Compact.exe is Running here in 1.2 GB RAMDISK where the OS is taking only 700 MB :)
For that case you need to Install WinVBlock (or FiraDisk) driver in the Source as described in WinVBlock_Install.txt of folder Help_Info.
The program will create the needed BootManager Menu inside the Mini 7 VHD and makes the Grub4dos entry to Launch it as RAMDISK or as FILEDISK.
It think this Universal Mini 7 is quite handy as Service and Rescue OS and is working much better than 7 PE

:cheers:

#522 i

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:00 PM

Have a try, the Mini Version of 32-bits Windows 7 as made with VHD_W7_Compact.exe is Running here in 1.2 GB RAMDISK where the OS is taking only 700 MB :)

I must've missed the 700 MB mark :huh: my last attempt was with removal of components from ISO and using NT6.x fast installer/winNTsetup from usb app.

... full Image optimization as you have in mind will also involve using other specilized programs for Cleanup and Defragmentation.

for cleanups invisible scripts are cool :) for DeFrag, winContig will not do the job? :huh: but i'm not sure of "compacting used space sector blocks" which is important for gz. (i use multiple defrag app and sometimes randomly one app does the job of defrag+compact)

#523 gbrao

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 03:03 AM

one or two noobish comments/suggestions :
- if you want a very small ( say 400MB ) .img of XP, install XP on a larger size .img first and then copy all files to a smaller .img. - learned this the hard way. even if the final size of all files in the installed XP is less than 400MB, the installation process seems to require more space. eg. i think installation of driver-packs fails and it does not give a error message.
- wish there was a tool to clone compressed .imgs - afaik IMG_Copy takes uncompressed file size to determine if the files will fit in the new .img.
- wish VHD_XP_Create allowed vhd sizes < 1GB.

#524 wimb

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:08 AM

VHD_XP_Create.exe - vhd size < 1 GB can be added as option, but for fresh Install of XP in VHD you need in general more than 1 GB

IMG_COPY - I assume you want to clone gzip compressed files ?
The program allows to select the NEW Image Size. Does that option not fit for your purpose ?

Did you try to use IMG_XP_Compact.exe to make Mini XP ?
There is a checkbox which you can Select to Add the WINDOWSDriverPacks folders specified in file IMG_XPIMG_XP_Cdp_xp.txt
That is the default location for the Keep The Drivers option of DPsBase.exe

:cheers:

#525 sambul61

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:32 AM

gbrao

How much space did you save by installing XP to a larger image and then coping files to a smaller one? Was it standard XP Pro? I have 250Mb XP running on an old Vaio... :)





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