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.
- 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/sr0is your DVD reader.
- 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.
- To add USB 3.0 drivers to the Win7 on your flash drive, download and use this: Windows 7 USB 3.0 Creator Utility:
- Run the utility as Administrator.
- Depending on the speed of your USB stick, this may take up to 15 minutes.
- Wait for a message along the lines of Creation finished! or Upgrade finished.
- 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.
- Go to your hardware manufacturer’s website and locate the (model-specific) SATA/storage driver.
Using Dell’s hardware as an example:
- go to downloads.dell.com
- there, click Laptops (or Desktops), then find and click your hardware model
- you will see a list of drivers for that model; search for “serial-ata” or “storage”
- download the latest version of the driver that you have found (it would be intel storage technology in Dell’s example case)
- Depending on the manufacturer, drivers may need to be extracted from the (self-extracting) archive. In the case of Dell’s drivers,
- launch the downloaded executable file
- it will usually present 2 options: Install and Extract; you should extract
- 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.
- 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.