Autarchy of the Private Cave

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    How to: install Windows 7 on a recent laptop/PC from a bootable USB drive

    12th June 2016

    If you had ever seen the not-so-descriptive error message
    A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing,
    then you have been trying to install Windows 7 (possibly using a bootable flash drive) on a recent laptop or desktop.

    There are two major obstacles for a somewhat-dated Windows 7 when it sees modern hardware:

    • USB 3.0
    • SSDs and newer disk drives in general

    Fortunately, both problems are easy to fix.
    Just follow the steps below; skip steps 1 and 2 if you already have a bootable Win7 flash drive.

    1. Obtain/buy/create the Windows 7 ISO image.
      On Linux, creating an ISO image is as easy as dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/path/to/image.iso – assuming that /dev/sr0 is your DVD reader.
    2. Create a bootable Windows 7 installation flash drive.
      On Linux, WinUSB can handle this; on Windows, you can use Rufus, or Microsoft’s own tool for this.
    3. To add USB 3.0 drivers to the Win7 on your flash drive, download and use this: Windows 7 USB 3.0 Creator Utility:
      1. Run the utility as Administrator.
      2. Depending on the speed of your USB stick, this may take up to 15 minutes.
      3. Wait for a message along the lines of Creation finished! or Upgrade finished.
    4. The steps above fix the first obstacle: lack of USB 3.0 drivers in the Windows 7 installation image.
      Now we are going to preemptively fix the second obstacle: not recognizing modern HDDs/SSDs.
    5. Go to your hardware manufacturer’s website and locate the (model-specific) SATA/storage driver.
      Using Dell’s hardware as an example:
      1. go to downloads.dell.com
      2. there, click Laptops (or Desktops), then find and click your hardware model
      3. you will see a list of drivers for that model; search for “serial-ata” or “storage”
      4. download the latest version of the driver that you have found (it would be intel storage technology in Dell’s example case)
    6. Depending on the manufacturer, drivers may need to be extracted from the (self-extracting) archive. In the case of Dell’s drivers,
      1. launch the downloaded executable file
      2. it will usually present 2 options: Install and Extract; you should extract
    7. In the downloaded (and, possibly, extracted) drivers folder locate Windows7-specific drivers folder, and simply copy that folder to the USB stick with your Win7 installation.
    8. Be sure to remember what is the driver’s folder name – if Windows fails to see your SSD, you will need to manually browse for these drivers during installation.

    That’s it!

    Sources used:

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