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

Discussion in 'Samsung' started by hanime, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. hanime

    hanime Notebook Evangelist

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    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:

      [IMage=320]http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m171/japicon/NBR/image001-1.jpg[/IMage]

    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.

      [IMage=320]http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m171/japicon/NBR/image004.jpg[/IMage]

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

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

      Code:
      DISKPART> [B]list disk[/B]
    12. Enter sel disk 0 to select disk 0 so you can make changes to it.

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

      Code:
      DISKPART> [B]list part[/B]
    14. Select Partition 1 by using sel part 1. Then make it active by entering the command active.

      Code:
      DISKPART> [B]sel part 1[/B]
      DISKPART> [B]active[/B]
    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).

      Code:
      DISKPART> [B]list vol[/B]
      It should look similar to this. Sorry for the blurry photo!
      [IMage=320]http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m171/japicon/NBR/image005.jpg[/IMage]

    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.

      Code:
      X:\Sources> [B]format fs=ntfs quick[/B]
    17. Exit diskpart by typing in exit.

      Code:
      DISKPART> [B]exit[/B]
    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.

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

    20. Your Windows should load normally. Enjoy.

    Extras

    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.

    [IMage=320]http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m171/japicon/NBR/Untitled-2.jpg[/IMage]

    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!
     
    hohum likes this.
  2. hanime

    hanime Notebook Evangelist

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    Alternative Method #1

    Alternative Method #2

    Alternative Method #3

     
  3. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    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.
     
  4. jlrosine

    jlrosine Notebook Consultant

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    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.
     
  5. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    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 ;)
     
  6. nolanta

    nolanta Newbie

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    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. hanime

    hanime Notebook Evangelist

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    Thanks for the guide Dannemand--I have added your guide to the alternative method. Updated guide. :]
     
  8. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    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. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Very useful.

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

    John
     
  10. bball3212

    bball3212 Notebook Consultant

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    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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