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Thread: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

  1. #1
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    Default GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    This guide was first inspired by: How to do a clean install of Windows 7 or 8 on Samsung Chronos laptops | Arktronic.com

    This guide may work with other Samsung Series 3, 5, 7, and 9 laptops with iSSD/ExpressCache as well. Give it a try and report back. I will add to this list:

    - NP700Z5C-S01US
    - NP530U3C

    The Problem

    You installed Windows 7 or 8 on this nice laptop via a bootable USB drive, but Windows won't load up. What gives?

    My theory (after testing over and over) is that the iSSD gets in the way of the installation process. While Microsoft is to be blamed for not letting us choose where to install "system reserved" files to during the installation, Samsung is to be blamed for adding another layer to that with the iSSD. Normally, when you install Windows on a partition of a drive, the "system reserved" files are created automatically on a new partition on the same drive of the OS. With the iSSD in the game, the "system reserved" files are created on there instead. When booting up, the system cannot find Windows because it cannot boot up from the iSSD.

    So my solution is to do just that, but then copy the "system reserved" files to its proper location afterward. The process goes like this. Create two partitions on a drive (Drive A), one for the "system reserved" files and the other for the OS. Install Windows on the OS partition and the "system reserved" files will be written on the iSSD (Drive B). Use the command line to copy over the "system reserved" files from Drive B to Drive A's "system reserved" partition. Restart and the laptop should boot up from Drive A.

    If you are in any of these situations, then this guide may be for you:

    • I installed a HDD caddy in place of the ODD (DVD drive) and don't have a DVD drive to install Windows with. So my only option is to install via a bootable USB drive. But it won't work--Windows does not boot up on my HDD.
    • I tried installing a fresh Windows 7 or 8 with a USB bootable drive and got an infinite boot loop after Windows installed (restarts after Samsung logo)

    This guide assumes:

    • This will be a CLEAN install. Your recovery partitions, everything will be erased.
    • You have a main hard drive (HDD or SSD) and the iSSD on board.
    • You do not have a DVD drive available and booting from a USB bootable drive.

    WARNING: By following this guide, you take full responsibility for any action you perform to your laptop. I take no liability for your own actions or damage caused here within.

    Guide/How To

    WARNING: There appears to be issues with UEFI/GPT mode models, as these models are giving users errors when formatting their drives (e.g. trying to format UEFI/GPT drive while in BIOS/MBR mode). Since this guide assumes a clean install, it would be wise to use BIOS/MBR (legacy) booting mode. If you are trying to format or cannot see a UEFI/GPT drive in BIOS/MBR mode, you should first switch to UEFI/GPT mode, format the drive, then switch back to BIOS/MBR mode. More information in this post.

    1. With the laptop turned off, insert the bootable USB drive onto the USB 2.0 port (USB 3.0 port will work too, I tried it).

    2. Turn the laptop on and press F2 key to go into BIOS menu. Turn off Fast BIOS Mode under Advanced tab. Everything else can be set to their defaults. Make sure your boot order is set correctly (SATA HDD [your main HDD] first, USB HDD [bootable USB drive] second). Exit and save changes. Laptop will restart.

    3. On restart, press F10 (repeatedly) to go to the Boot Menu and boot the USB HDD drive and begin Windows installation process.

    4. On the partition window, you should have a list of all drives/partitions. Drive 0 should be your main hard drive for the OS. Drive 1 should be your ExpressCache's iSSD drive. All others are other drives you have connected. We will only focus on Drive 0 and 1 in this guide.

    5. Delete partition(s) on Drive 0 that you don't need (I delete all partitions for simplicity). Delete Drive 1 partition. So now yours should look something like this:

    6. Create a new 100MB (for Win7) or 350MB (for Win8) partition on Drive 0. Then format it.

      Now you should have the following (we are going to assume this setup for the rest of the tutorial):

      Drive 0 Partition 1........................350MB (for Win8)
      Drive 0 Partition 2........................Windows OS (sizes will vary depending on your HDD)
      Drive 1 Unallocated Space..................iSSD drive (7.5GB on my NP700Z5C)

    7. Install Windows onto Drive 0 Partition 2. In the process, Windows will install the "system reserved" files onto the Drive 1 (iSSD). After installation the system should restart.

    8. Once again, press F10 and boot from the USB HDD drive to begin Windows installation process.

    9. This time, use the Repair your computer function and get to the command prompt.

    10. Once in command prompt, type diskpart to enter the disk partition mode.

      X:\Sources> diskpart
    11. Enter list disk to list all disks on the system. We are interested in the Disk 0 (HDD) and Disk 1 (iSSD) only.

      DISKPART> list disk
    12. Enter sel disk 0 to select disk 0 so you can make changes to it.

      DISKPART> sel disk 0
    13. Enter list part. You should see two partitions of interest: Partition 1 (350MB) and Partition 2 (Windows OS).

      DISKPART> list part
    14. Select Partition 1 by using sel part 1. Then make it active by entering the command active.

      DISKPART> sel part 1
      DISKPART> active
    15. List all volumes by using list vol. Take note of the drive letter for your 350MB partition (mine was C), the temporary iSSD's 350MB partition (mine was D), and your Windows OS partition (mine was F).

      DISKPART> list vol
      It should look similar to this. Sorry for the blurry photo!

    16. If your 350MB partition file system is RAW, you need to convert it to NTFS first by entering the command format fs=ntfs quick.

      X:\Sources> format fs=ntfs quick
    17. Exit diskpart by typing in exit.

      DISKPART> exit
    18. Now you want to copy the system reserved files from the temporary iSSD's partition over to the 350MB partition. Note, that this process actually uses the Windows partition, not the iSSD's. Type in bcdboot f:\windows /s c:. You should get a "Boot files successfully created" prompt if successful.

      X:\Sources> bcdboot f:\windows /s c: (make sure f and c drives matches YOURS)
    19. Remove your bootable USB HDD and exit command prompt and restart.

    20. Your Windows should load normally. Enjoy.


    Once in Windows, you should see two drives of interest:

    - Local Disk [C:]
    - System Reserved [D:] <--this is the iSSD system reserved partition. We want to remove this.

    Run diskmgmt.msc

    Right click on the System Reserved [D:] and delete volume. You may do whatever you like with it now (enable ExpressCache on it, use as storage, etc.).

    I hope this guide was easy to follow and helpful in some way. Please let me know if you have questions by posting below. Have a good day!
    Last edited by hanime; 5th December 2013 at 12:50 AM. Reason: Resize images
    Dell XPS L521X - Windows 7 Professional x64 | i7-3632QM | 16GB DDR3 | NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M | Killer Wireless-N 1202 | 500GB mSATA + 2TB HDD + 2TB HDD (all inside)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    Alternative Method #1

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannemand View Post
    @newcastle: First of all, make sure you remove the USB from which you installed Windows, when it is about to restart the first time (after copying files). If it still won't boot your new installation then yes, it's probably because Windows Setup sees the iSSD (ExpressCache) as the boot drive and places it's 100MB SYSTEM partition on it.

    Here's the easiest fix if that happens:

    1) Let it boot into Windows Setup again (ie leave that USB in). Once you get past the welcome screen, hit Shift-F10 to get a command prompt.

    2) Use XCOPY /E /H /R to copy everything (including hidden files) from that SYSTEM partition (on the iSSD) to the partition where you installed Windows.

    Before copying, use DIR /A commands to determine what the drive letters are for those partitions: DIR /A C: and DIR /A D: and DIR /A E: etc. The SYSTEM partition (on the iSSD) should contain a BOOT folder and a bootmgr file. The partition where you installed Windows should contain, you guessed it, a Windows folder

    So if your SYSTEM partition (with the boot files) is drive C, and your Windows partition is drive E (for example) use the following XCOPY command: XCOPY /E /H /R C:\ E:\ Make sure you get the forward and backward slashes right, they're important.

    3) Now that the Windows partition contains the necessary boot files, we have to make sure it's flagged Active (bootable). Enter the command DISKPART.

    4) At the DISKPART> prompt, use LIST DISK to determine the disk number of your HDD (or SDD). Obviously, it's the big one (xxx GB) while the small one is the iSSD (xxx MB). Now use SELECT DISK to select the big disk, say SELECT DISK 1.

    5) Still at the DISKPART> prompt, use LIST PARTITION to determine the partition number of your Windows partition. If you installed Windows on a blank disk, it's probably the first partition. Now use SELECT PARTITION to select the Windows partition, say SELECT PARTITION 1

    6) Still at the DISKPART> prompt, use DETAIL PARTITION to verify you got the right partition.

    7) Still at the DISKPART> prompt, use ACTIVE to flag your (now selected) Windows partition Active and bootable.

    8) Use Exit to leave DISKPART. Exit again to leave the command prompt. Close down Windows setup. Remove the USB. Reboot.

    (Sorry for the detail, I didn't know if you're familiar with DOS/Windows command syntax. And even if you are, it may help others).

    I've done this several times, works like a charm and only takes a few mins extra. You won't have a separate SYSTEM partition -- which I prefer not to have anyway. But if you use BitLocker (Win7 Ultimate) I think it needs that.

    Let me know how it goes.

    Update: I see comments from yourself and others indicating this might be a hardware or IRQ problem. I apologize if I missed an earlier context and your problem is a different one.

    It is a very common problem when installing Windows from USB onto Series 5 and Series 7 that Windows Setup mistakenly assumes the iSSD (ExpressCache) to be the boot drive, which causes it to fail booting. The above steps are (in my opinion) the simplest solution to this -- although there are others.
    Alternative Method #2

    Quote Originally Posted by ameridian View Post
    These steps assume your laptop/ultrabook has no DVD drive and has an iSSD.

    1. Click the link below and download Partition Wizard CD ISO file (pwhe7.iso) under "Free Download Bootable CD Now!";

    Free download Magic Partition Manager Software, partition magic alternative, free partition magic, partition magic Windows 7 and server partition software - Partition Wizard Online

    2. Click the link below then click the "Download for Windows" button to download the UNetbootin executable (unetbootin-windows-581.exe);

    UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads

    3. Execute UNetbootin (no installation required), after reading instructions at the above link, and create a Partition Wizard bootable flash drive. Test it to make sure it works. No input is required while it boots.

    4. Click the link below, follow the instructions and create your Windows installation flash drive (FD);

    Configure a USB flash drive to be a Windows 7 installation platform | TechRepublic

    5. With Windows installation FD inserted, go into BIOS setup and ensure that "Fast BIOS Mode" is disabled at the "Advanced" screen. Also, change the boot order at the "Boot Menu" so that "USB HDD" is the first boot device.

    6. Save, exit BIOS and start the installation. Choose your HDD or SSD as the installation target.

    7. Windows will eventually restart and boot from the installation FD again unless the boot order is changed in the BIOS.

    8. If Windows is able to boot from the HDD/SSD then the installation can proceed as normal and the steps below can be ignored.

    Steps below would be followed if Windows fails to boot from HDD/SDD due to System partition being created on the iSSD;

    9. Remove the Windows FD, insert the Partition Wizard FD and boot from it.

    10. Confirm that a 100 MB "System Reserved" partion exists on the iSSD.

    11. Highlight the partition chosen for the installation and click on the "Move/Resize Partition" operation to the left of the screen.

    12. Resize the partition so that 100 MB of unallocated space is made before the partition.

    13. Choose the "Copy Partition Wizard" to copy the 100 MB "System Reserved" partition on the iSSD to the unallocated 100 MB above.

    14. Right click the copied partition then choose modify to make it both primary and active.

    15. Delete the "System Reserved" partition on the iSSD.

    16. Switch off, remove the flash drive then boot. Make the HDD/SDD the first boot device in BIOS setup. Windows installation should continue without any further need of the installation FD.
    Alternative Method #3

    Quote Originally Posted by asprobourboulis View Post
    First, some background. This laptop comes with a 1TB HDD and an 8GB iSSD, which is used as a cache to speed up
    Windows and apps. Samsung uses Diskeeper's ExpressCache software for that purpose. This SSD causes a rather large
    problem to the Windows installer. For whatever reason, Windows refuses to install its "System Reserved" partition
    on the HDD, downright refusing to proceed with the installation if the SSD is already partitioned for ExpressCache.
    But, repartioning the SSD and just letting Windows install itself, doesn't make things easier. In fact, it causes
    major troubles. It appears that the BIOS really doesn't want to boot off the SSD, which is where Windows decided
    to install its boot partition. So, here's the thing- how to get the HDD into a state where both Windows and
    Samsung's BIOS were happy, and the SSD free for ExpressCache use.

    Before installing Windows and things to keep in mind

    1. For your convenience, you might need to print this guide and read once before proceeding.

    2. Backup your drivers to an External Flash Drive or DVD, using Samsung Recovery Solution. (Bear in mind that you
    don't have any network connection after a clean install and neither a backup partition at your pc)

    3. Make sure your BIOS are set to boot from DVD or USB Drive, by changing priority. If you choose to use a USB,
    you have to disable "Fast BIOS Boot" as well.

    4. In case of using a bootable USB for the installation, a message might emerge, implying that drivers are not
    installed and cannot proceed further. Just click "Cancel". Then, you will be brought back to the welcome screen.
    At that moment, remove the USB drive and plug it back in, to a different USB port this time. Click "Install Now"
    again. The installation should proceed as usual.

    Installing Windows

    1. Insert the istallation media on your laptop.

    2. At the Windows Setup Wizard, select "Custom Install" to view all disks.

    3. At the "Advanced" option, choose to format all disks (even the SSD).

    4. Press "Shift+F10" to launch cmd. Otherwise, reboot into the Windows Setup wizard and choose the "Repair" option,
    in the bottom left corner, and in the tools menu choose cmd.

    5. Type in diskpart to get into the partition tool.

    6. Use the commands list disk and list part to determine which disk is what (check size parameters). For me,
    Disk 0 was the HDD and Disk 1 was the SSD. The following instructions assume this.

    7. Select the HDD: sel disk 0

    8. Delete all partitions on it: clean

    9. Create a 100MB partition for Windows 7 (or 350MB for Windows 8): create part primary size=100 (or size=350)

    10. Format it: format fs=ntfs quick

    11. Assign it a letter: assign letter=f (if F: is in use, pick another one. Use the list vol command to see all
    volumes and their letters)

    12. Create a partition that fills the rest of the disk: create part primary

    13. Type: format fs=ntfs quick

    14. Assign it the letter C: assign letter=c

    15. Exit both Diskpart and cmd.

    16. Reboot back to Windows Setup Wizard to install Windows into the large partition that was just created.
    !!CAUTION!! When Windows restarts your machine to complete the installation, do NOT change priority at the BIOS
    menu as usual, but instead boot from the installation media, once more, and choose the "Custom Install" option.

    17. There is a great chance that Windows installed its System Reserved partition on the SSD, so choose the
    "Advanced" option and format the SSD. Launch cmd (Shift+F10) and type diskpart.

    18. Use the commands list vol and assign to ensure that both the system ( F: ) and the boot partition ( C: ) still
    have drive letters.

    19. Select the system partition (sel vol f) and mark it as active: active

    20. Exit diskpart and at cmd type the command: bcdboot c:\windows /s f:

    21. Reboot and you're good to go.

    After the installation

    1. The easiest way to have Samsung's Easy Settings and ExpressCache installed to your machine is through the backup
    created by Samsung Recovery Solution, since you don't have an internet connection after the clean install.
    (Even when you get to have one, do not connect during this proccess (because of Windows Update interference) and
    wait till it finishes)

    -->a. Browse the DVD or External USB Drive to find the "SystemSoftware" file and launch the "SecSWMgrGuide.exe".

    -->b. Install "Easy Software Manager".

    -->c. Install everything from the "Drivers" tab.

    -->d. From the "Miscellaneous" tab, install "Windows 7 SP1 Critical Updates" and "Windows 7 SP1 common patches".

    -->e. From the "Utility" tab, install "Easy Settings" and ExpressCache".

    -->f. Finally, choose any other software you might need.

    -->g. You are ready to connect the internet and install Windows Updates.

    2. In case you didn't backup your drivers using Samsung Recovery Solution, you need to manually download and
    install these drivers from the Samsung's website.

    3. To find out if ExpressCache is working, run cmd as administrator and type ECCmd -INFO. If it's marked as
    mounted and gives you the application's information then you're fine.

    : The above instructions are not 100% mine . This information comes from various sources and it's what worked for me!
    I do not seek for credit; I am just trying to help!!!
    Last edited by hanime; 30th December 2012 at 01:06 AM.
    Dell XPS L521X - Windows 7 Professional x64 | i7-3632QM | 16GB DDR3 | NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M | Killer Wireless-N 1202 | 500GB mSATA + 2TB HDD + 2TB HDD (all inside)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    Making this guide is a good initiative, lots of people seem to be having problems with USB install. I've been away for several weeks and only reading up on this forum tonight. Otherwise I would have responded to your other posts about it.

    I find the easiest way to install from USB is to just delete the partition on the iSSD and let Windows Setup make its 100MB SYSTEM partition there. Of course when Windows Setup tries to boot after copying files, it will fail, because the iSSD isn't bootable.

    What you do is boot back into Windows Setup (on the USB), use a command prompt to copy the boot files from the iSSD to your Windows partition on the HDD (or SSD), then make that partition Active (bootable). Simple as that.

    I described the steps in some detail in this post a few weeks ago. I notice you were posting about it in the same thread, but you may have missed it.

    Another way is to create your own 100MB dummy partition on the HDD during Windows setup, then (again) let Setup do its thing and create a 100MB SYSTEM partition on the iSSD. Once it's done copying files and fails to boot, use Acronis or some other imaging program to copy the SYSTEM partition from the iSSD to the HDD, overwriting the dummy partition. Flag it active (bootable) and you're good to go. That's how I did it the first time on a Series 5 this summer. Now I prefer the first method. Both work on Series 5 and Series 7.

    Either way, delete the partition on the iSSD before installing ExpressCache (using Disk Manager in Windows). That way EC will create a new HFS partition on the iSSD when you install the software.

    My experience is only with Windows 7, haven't tried Windows 8 yet on the Sammy.

    Again, great initiative with this thread. Let me know if I can help in any way.

    Update: Of course these procedures assume you're installing Windows from a USB2 port. Installing from a USB3 port requires either adding USB3 drivers to the Windows setup image or (easier) copy them to an SD card and load them during Windows Setup.
    Last edited by Dannemand; 27th November 2012 at 09:57 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    You can boot from the usb3 ports, I always use these ports with paragon and usb drive/win8 usb install. (I have the latest NP700Z7C 17.3.

    One issue I've had with this laptop is that my windows 8 pro usb key isn't the same media as what the laptop has certificates for. You need to go in to the bios, disable the certs, install windows 7 in non UEFI mode, then use the usb key for win8 pro to install the OS.

    Insanity but it works.
    Samsung 17.3 series 7

  5. #5
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    Default Re: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    Quote Originally Posted by jlrosine View Post
    You can boot from the usb3 ports, I always use these ports with paragon and usb drive/win8 usb install. (I have the latest NP700Z7C 17.3.
    You can boot from USB3, yes, but you won't be able to complete installation of Win7 from USB3 unless it has access to USB3 drivers. Once it finishes loading and switches to WinPE for the actual installation, it won't be able to see the USB3 anymore.

    Again, the easiest solution is to unpack the USB3 drivers on an SD card before starting setup. Windows Setup will say "A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, please insert it now." At this point, just click Browse, navigate to the SD card and select the driver.

    For my NP700Z3A Sandy Bridge, it's the ASMedia XHCI Contoller. For Ivy Bridge models, I assume it's Intel USB. On my model, loading this driver is not enough, I have to also load the Generic USB Hub driver, which is shown by unchecking "Hide drivers that are not compatible with hardware on this computer".

    Still, it only takes a minute, and USB3 speeds up installation tremendously. That said, installing from USB2 is easier (though slower). And installing from DVD is even easier yet, as it gets the boot drive right from the start

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    Default Re: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    I have an issue that brought me to this thread, maybe you guys know something. I got the Windows 8 version of this laptop, the np700z7c-s01ub. Great. So I make the recovery disks, no problem, then swap out the 1TB drive with 256GB SSD. Restore to the SSD, all is well. Then today, for some reason when I close the lid, it shuts down improperly rather than sleep. It does this a few times, annoying, but not a big deal. The last time, it won't boot back up. After tinkering for a bit, it seems maybe the boot record is invalid or something. I can boot from a plain jane windows 8 image I have handy from another purchase, but no recovery tool will fix the boot record. AND SINCE THE WINDOWS 8 LICENSE/PRODUCT KEY IS EMBEDDED IN THE BIOS, I CAN'T REINSTALL FROM THIS MEDIA I HAVE, in an attempt to fix the boot issue. I did grab a copy of the bios license, but the media Windows 8 just says "The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key."

    But there's no way to enter a new product key, it will continue to find the one in the bios. This laptop didn't come with any recovery media, so basically right now I think I'm screwed; at best I am downgrading to Windows 7, which seems to be my only option without sending the laptop back into Samsung.

    Anybody seen anything like this? This model doesn't have anything in the bios about certificates to disable.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    Thanks for the guide Dannemand--I have added your guide to the alternative method. Updated guide. :]
    Dell XPS L521X - Windows 7 Professional x64 | i7-3632QM | 16GB DDR3 | NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M | Killer Wireless-N 1202 | 500GB mSATA + 2TB HDD + 2TB HDD (all inside)

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    Default Re: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    Quote Originally Posted by hanime View Post
    Thanks for the guide Dannemand--I have added your guide to the alternative method. Updated guide. :]
    Great job, hanime, very nice guide! And great idea to use bcdboot instead of copying the files from the iSSD. I think it's a better approach!

    I tried to rep your OP, but it won't let me because I already repped you for another post not long ago. I'll give it another try in a week or two.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    Very useful.

    I've added this thread to the sticky list to make it easier to find.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: GUIDE: How to install Windows 7 or 8 via USB on NP700Z*

    If I want to simply install windows 7 from a cd, would I follow this? The problem I run into is it freezes at the windows logo once it loads the files of the installation cd,


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