[Guide] Installing Windows 7 on an NVME SSD (from a USB 3.0 thumbdrive)

Discussion in 'Sager and Clevo' started by bfishman, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. bfishman

    bfishman Notebook Consultant

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    I’m going to show you how to install Windows 7 with a USB key onto an NVME-based SSD such as the Samsung 950 Pro.

    Along the way, you’ll be creating a bootable installation partition on this SSD. When we’re done, you can delete that partition and extend the OS partition to reclaim this space.

    Here’s a brief overview of what we’ll do:
    • Format the USB and copy W7 installation files onto it
    • Modify those installation files so that setup has ‘native’ driver support for USB 3.0.
    • Load a set of NVME drivers onto the installation USB
    • Prepare BIOS for the installation
    • Boot from the USB and “F6” the NVME drivers
    • Using the command prompt from within setup:
      • Create the installation partition
      • Copy all files from the installation USB to this partition
      • Make the partition bootable
    • Restart and boot to the installation partition
    • Install windows with no difficulty!
    • Delete and ‘re-integrate’ the installation partition
    Here we go!



    Properly format the USB Thumbdrive

    On your ‘working’ computer:
    1. Acquire a Windows 7 ISO file, and save it to C:\w7install
    2. Take a USB 2.0 or 3.0 thumb drive (3.0 recommended) with at least 4GB capacity and plug it in.
    3. Prepare the thumb drive for files:
      • Note: you can probably just quick format the thumb drive to NTFS, but to be safe, follow the procedure below.
      • Note: This will erase everything on the thumb drive
    4. Open up CMD.exe as an administrator, then enter the following commands (press enter after each line):
    Code:
    diskpart
    
    list disk
    
    *Find the # of the disk corresponding to your USB stick* Then enter:
    
    select disk # (replace # with the appropriate disk number)
    
    clean
    
    convert mbr
    
    create partition primary
    
    select part 1
    
    active
    
    format fs=ntfs quick
    
    assign
    
    exit
    


    Copy W7 installation files onto the Thumbdrive
    1. Go to https://wudt.codeplex.com/ and download and install the “Windows USB/DVD Download Tool”
    2. Launch the Windows USB/DVD tool and follow the steps, selecting the ISO file you placed in C:\w7install, selecting “USB”, and then selecting the appropriate USB disk. Note: the drive letter for your USB thumbdrive may have changed due to the diskpart procedure, select carefully.
    3. The tool will work for a couple of minutes, extracting files from the ISO and copying them to the USB drive. Once complete, close the program.


    Modify the W7 installation files so that setup has ‘native’ driver support for USB 3.0.
    1. Go here: http://www.sagernotebook.com/drivers.php
    2. Select your model number. In my case, NP9758. Accept the License Agreement and press search.
    3. Use Ctrl+F to find “USB 3” (or just scroll down), and download the “USB 3.0 Driver for Windows 7 64 BIT”. As of writing, the file version is 4.0.1.40, released 15 Oct 15.
    Extract the Drivers
    Once you download the drivers we will need to make a folder to place the drivers in. For the purpose of this example lets just call it “USB3 Fix”.

    [​IMG]

    Inside that folder create 2 separate folders: “USB3” and “mount”.

    [​IMG]

    Now extract all of the drivers into that USB3 folder.

    [​IMG]


    Get the “boot.wim” and “install.wim” files

    ** Thanks for all the comments pointing out that you also need to update the install.wim file! **

    Next we need to get the files we need to install the drivers into. Open up your USB thumb drive that has your Windows 7 image on it and go the Sources folder. Move the “boot.wim” file and “install.wim” into your “USB3 Fix” folder we created earlier.

    [​IMG]


    Update the “boot.wim” and “install.wim” Files

    Open up your cmd shell as an administrator. (Click Start on windows 7, or Windows Key + Q on Windows 8, type in “cmd” and then right click on the cmd application and choose Run as Administrator.)

    Once open, navigate to the USB3_Fix folder in the cmd shell, and type in the following commands in this order to update the boot.wim file:

    Code:
    dism/mount-wim/wimfile:boot.wim/index:2/mountdir:mount
    
    dism/image:mount/add-driver:"usb3"/recurse
    
    dism/unmount-wim/mountdir:mount/commit
    
    It should look something like this:
    [​IMG]

    Next do the same thing to the “install.wim” file. This file has a couple different index values depending on what type of windows you are installing. You can list all of the indexes and their contents by typing in:

    Code:
    dism/Get-WimInfo/WimFile:install.wim
    
    It will give you the output of the different installers and their indexes:
    [​IMG]

    If you want to update all of them you will have to repeat the below process for each of the indexes you want to update. For me, I’m just installing Windows 7 Professional, so I’m going to just update that one.

    Code:
    dism/mount-wim/wimfile:install.wim/index:3/mountdir:mount
    
    dism/image:mount/add-driver:"usb3"/recurse
    
    dism/unmount-wim/mountdir:mount/commit
    
    Replace the “boot.wim” and “install.wim” files
    Now you’re done! Simply copy the modified “boot.wim” and “install.wim” file back into the “sources” directory on your Win 7 iso bootable USB thumb drive (yes to overwrite) and you're done with this section!



    Load a set of NVME drivers onto the installation USB

    1. Go to the following page: http://www.win-raid.com/t29f25-Recommended-AHCI-RAID-and-NVMe-Drivers.html
    2. Scroll down to section G – “Samsung NVME Drivers” – and download the appropriate driver for your SSD. As of writing, mine was v1.4.7.16 WHQL.
      • Note: if given the option, get the pure driver files, not the installer set.
    3. Open your W7 thumbdrive and create a folder named “nvme” in the root of the drive.
    4. Copy all of the NVME driver files you just downloaded to this folder


    Prepare BIOS for the installation

    Ok! Now we’re done with the “working” computer and are ready to install windows. On your Sager/Clevo:
    1. *Don’t insert the thumbdrive just yet*
    2. Power-on the machine, and press ‘F2’ repeatedly until the BIOS setup appears
    3. Move to the ‘Boot’ page, scroll down and enter the UEFI Setting menu
      • Note: your BIOS layout may be slightly different than what’s written here, depending on whether or not it’s currently in UEFI Boot mode, or if you have a custom bios installed, so hunt around until you find the right setting
    4. Locate “UEFI Boot” and set it to “Disabled” (this step is strictly mandatory!)
    5. Now, insert your USB thumbdrive into the laptop.
    6. Go to the ‘Exit’ page in bios, and Save Changes and Exit.
    7. The laptop will restart - start repeatedly pressing ‘F7’ to bring up the boot device selection menu.
    8. Manually select your thumbdrive.
      • Note: if you can’t find the thumbdrive, make sure you disabled UEFI and properly formatted (using diskpart) the installation thumbdrive as listed in the first section.


    Boot from the USB and “F6” the NVME drivers
    1. Click through the initial windows setup pages, selecting your language and then press “Install Now”.
    2. After accepting the License Terms, under “What type of installation do you want”, select ‘Custom (advanced)’.
    3. You’ll now see a list of drives and partitions on your computer. If you have a non-NVME secondary drive, it will be listed here – but since Windows 7 does not yet have drivers installed for NVME, it won’t recognize any NVME SSDs. Let’s fix that.
    4. Click: ‘Load Driver’ below the list of drives
    5. Select Browse, and then expand the thumb drive (Likely labeled ‘Removable Disk’)
    6. Select the ‘nvme’ folder, and press OK
    7. You should now see a Samsung NVME Controller. Select this driver and press ‘Next’. The driver will be installed.
    8. Once complete, and you’ll return to the disk selection screen and should see the NVME SSD (you may have to click refresh).


    Create the installation partition & copy installation files

    Note: The majority of the next section comes from the following website (modified slightly to create a separate installation partition to allow for easier removal of the installation files once setup is complete): http://druss.co/2014/07/fixed-setup...installing-windows-8-18-7-vista-etc-from-usb/
    1. From within the Windows setup program, press “Shift+F10” to bring up the command prompt.
    2. Enter the following commands:
    Code:
    diskpart
    
    list disk
    
    *Identify the disk # for your NVME SSD* Now enter the following commands:
    
    select disk #  (replace # with the appropriate disk number)
    
    create partition primary size=30000  (you could increase this number (which represents MegaBytes, but don’t make it any smaller).
    
    select part 1
    
    active
    
    format fs=ntfs quick
    
    assign letter=R (you could change R to whatever drive letter you’d to assign to your installation partition, but from now on when I mention ‘R’, I’m referring to this letter)
    
    list volume
    
    *Identify the volume letter for your USB thumbstick. In my case it’s D, and that’s how I’ll refer to it from now on. Don’t worry, this will be removed prior to installation, so no need to change it*
    
    exit
    
    d:
    
    xcopy d: r: /e /h /k  (again, d: is the temporary letter assigned to the thumbdrive, r is the letter you chose for the installation partition)
    
    cd boot
    
    bootsect /nt60 r:
    
    1. Close the command prompt
    2. Remove USB Thumbdrive from your laptop
    3. Exit windows installation (click the X at the top of each window). The computer will restart.
    4. Upon restart you *should* be greeted by “Windows is loading files”, similar to what you saw before. If not, and you instead receive a message to the tune of “Insert boot media”, do the following:
      1. Restart, and immediately start pressing f2 repeatedly to enter BIOS setup
      2. Once there, go to the boot tab, and explicitly disable every other boot device except for the NVME SSD.
      3. Restart, and the installation partition should be found.
    Congratulations! You’ve now booted from your NVME SSD for the first time!



    Install Windows (finally!)
    1. Again, select your language and agree to the license terms
    2. Select the Custom (advanced) installation.
    3. You will then be greeted by a message asking you to load a required driver.
    4. Re-insert your thumb drive, and select browse.
    5. Locate the NVME folder as you did before, and install the driver.
    6. Once that’s complete, *remove the thumbstick* (important)
    7. You should now see all drives in your computer. From here, perform a standard clean windows installation as normal:
      1. Click “Drive Options (advanced)”
      2. Select the unallocated space on your NVME SSD
      3. Create a new partition (click “New”) and select the size (it defaults to maximum)
      4. Click Format
      5. Ensure the new partition is selected, and click “Next”.
      6. Have a cold one while Windows does its thing.
    Note: Once Windows is done with the first phase of its installation , it will reboot. After the Sager logo, you’ll get a brief 3-second flash of the Windows Boot Manager with two options: Windows 7, and Windows Setup [EMS Enabled]. Windows 7 (the first option) is selected by default. This is the correct option. On subsequent restarts, the selection delay will increase to 30 seconds. If you’re really impatient, go ahead and manually select the Windows 7 option.

    Windows is installed! Hooray!!



    Removing the additional start-up entry

    The Windows Setup startup entry is still lingering around, so let’s clean that up before we remove the installation partition.

    1. Launch cmd.exe as an Administrator
    2. Type ‘bcdedit’ and press enter.
    3. Find the entry for “Windows Setup”. The words “Windows Setup” will be found in its description field.
    4. Select the identifier corresponding with this entry (including the brackets), and copy that text.
    5. Now execute the following command: (replace {id} with the text you copied).
    Code:
    bcdedit /delete {id}


    Removing the installation files and partition

    This final step will allow you to reclaim the 30GB installation partition used during this process. First we must move the ‘Boot Configuration Data’ off of the installation partition and onto the OS partition.

    1. Open cmd.exe as an administrator.
    2. Type the following command (assuming c: is your OS drive letter – and yes, that’s not a typo, you do reference c: twice).
    Code:
    bcdboot c:\windows /s c:
    3. Restart your computer.

    Now that we can safely boot without the installation partition, we’ll remove it and reclaim its space:

    1. Download and install ‘MiniTool Partition Wizard Free’ from here: http://download.cnet.com/MiniTool-Partition-Wizard-Free-Edition/3000-2094_4-10962200.html
    2. Launch the Partition Wizard.
    3. Locate your installation partition. It will be ~29 GB, and on the same disk as your C: drive.
    4. Right-click and delete volume. It will become unallocated.
    5. Now Right-click on your C: volume, and select “Extend”
    6. Move the slider all the way to the right to consume the entirety of the free space, then select Ok.
    7. Now press “Apply” (Top-Left of window)
    8. The tool will not be able to perform the extension without restarting the laptop. Allow it to do so.
    9. Once the tool completes it’s magic, you’ll return to Windows. If you’d like to confirm the operation was successful, do the following:
      • Start Menu > type ‘Create and format hard disk partitions’, and select the listed item
      • This opens the Disk Management interface. You should see your OS Disk as having a single volume which completely occupies the disk.
    10. Congratulations....You’re done!

    Sources:
    Download locations:

    I genuinely hope this guide will help out some people. It has taken me several hours just to write, on top of figuring out how to install the dang OS, so I'd like to keep it visible and accurate. If you find any egregious typos or areas which could be improved upon, please don't hesitate to post or send me a PM, and I'll keep the OP updated. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
  2. zexel

    zexel Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for your work, much appreciated. Gonna need this real soon.
     
  3. bfishman

    bfishman Notebook Consultant

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    Awesome! Please post back and let us know how it went.
     
  4. jaybee83

    jaybee83 Biotech-Doc

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    nice guide, thx for the work uve put into this :)

    although im still wondering why the heck people would go through so much hassle to be able to stick to windows 7.... o_O i mean, that OS is almost 6.5 years old now...
     
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  5. Support.3@XOTIC PC

    Support.3@XOTIC PC Company Representative

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    Awesome Guide, thank you!
     
  6. Prostar Computer

    Prostar Computer Company Representative

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    It's crazy how much of a process this is, but this guide appears right. We have a similar guide, though we can install 7 for end-users too to save them all of this.
     
    ajc9988 likes this.
  7. bfishman

    bfishman Notebook Consultant

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    It really is wild, isn't it? I kept thinking that I must be doing something wrong, that there had to be an easier way, but several others have validated that this is very similar to the process they had to use.

    TBH, because I strongly disagree with MS's 'user telemetry' data collection practices that were implemented into Windows 10 (and back ported into 8 and 7, although you can remove the spyware in 7), and the lack of transparency surrounding this decision. I can't conscionably support their product - even if free, I'm sure they're keeping a count of how many folks are using W10. I guess this is my form of civil protest.
     
    Scerate, hmscott and Prostar Computer like this.
  8. Cathydoesmith

    Cathydoesmith Notebook Enthusiast

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    Excellent, excellent guide!!!!

    I have been lurking and exploring a similar setup. I cannot thank you enough for the time and effort you put into this. This will help me tremendously. Thank you again.
     
  9. bfishman

    bfishman Notebook Consultant

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    ;-) worth it!
     
  10. jaybee83

    jaybee83 Biotech-Doc

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    just use O&O shutup10 and problem solved :)

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
     
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