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[Guide] Create a Bootable Windows 7 system Image ISO


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45 replies to this topic

#26
cluberti

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No, there's no workaround. The Win7 and Vista setup routine cannot bootstrap a WIM file that contains anything but Vista or Win7 (or Server 2008 / 2008 R2, of course). What happens is PE boots, you choose the image, and then setup.exe runs to prepare the WIM for extraction, and it requires the WIM to be a Vista or Win7 image. XP WIMs will just hang for awhile, and then complain about the image being invalid or not found. If you want to deploy XP from a WIM, you'll have to make your own custom WinPE (or use something like MDT 2010) to deploy the WIM with imagex.
MCTS Windows Internals, MCITP Server 2008 EA, MCTS MDT/BDD, MCSE/MCSA Server 2003, Server 2012, Windows 8
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#27
wondim

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No, there's no workaround. The Win7 and Vista setup routine cannot bootstrap a WIM file that contains anything but Vista or Win7 (or Server 2008 / 2008 R2, of course). What happens is PE boots, you choose the image, and then setup.exe runs to prepare the WIM for extraction, and it requires the WIM to be a Vista or Win7 image. XP WIMs will just hang for awhile, and then complain about the image being invalid or not found. If you want to deploy XP from a WIM, you'll have to make your own custom WinPE (or use something like MDT 2010) to deploy the WIM with imagex.

Thank you for the info and direction.

Update: there is an old post that talks about .wim and XP.
http://www.msfn.org/...tml#entry659722
And using a third party software like Shadow Protect might be another good option to make a bootable CD backup and install it on different PCs. In this regard the two important feature of ShadowProtect are:
# Hardware independent restore of backup images to dissimilar hardware (P2P).
# Bootable recovery CD provides automatic hardware detection and network support.
For more detail...
http://www.storagecr...ect_desktop.php

Edited by wondim, 08 January 2010 - 12:19 PM.


#28
Sprite

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Fantastic! i was looking for a simple way to cut cornors and found it! Very impressed with the install time i actually think its quicker.

Tried to install on VMWare to no avail. Yet to atempt different hardware but that is next on my list (have a sysprep copy also) will update to let you know how it goes.

On a side note for those of you without USB stick but External HDD just extract ISO to HDD and boot.

Thanks again OP great post.

All i need to do now is create a simple answer file to answer the obvious language settings etc.

#29
hobo

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Fantastic post. This will save me oodles of time! I seem to spend half my life installing Windows for friends, Firefox, Java, Flash, Acrobat etc etc.

I built unattended install for XP, this is so much easier.

#30
slimzky

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Thanks for this greate guide!
Posted Image

#31
IvanHor

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Hi,
tested it and works fine. Bravo, great work!

#32
mchldpy

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hello wondim or ?,
i used the mark russ. app as you suggested, when i try to install i get "can not open needed image for install", or something to that
effect. after that trying to diagnose i tried to open with image manager from waik and it said "no catalog file". later i unpacked the wim with to poke around and there was the vhd i started with. gimagex either didn't turn it into a wim or maybe thats the way it deals with it. apparently i did something wrong. (i got up this morning)

still trying,
michael

#33
wondim

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hello wondim or ?,
i used the mark russ. app as you suggested, when i try to install i get "can not open needed image for install", or something to that
effect. after that trying to diagnose i tried to open with image manager from waik and it said "no catalog file". later i unpacked the wim with to poke around and there was the vhd i started with. gimagex either didn't turn it into a wim or maybe thats the way it deals with it. apparently i did something wrong. (i got up this morning)

still trying,
michael

I am not sure what went wrong.You first download the zip file called Disk2vhd. Then you don't need to install the aplication. It is a portable application. You just need to run it. If the application cannot run, then two or more basic services that are important for Disk2vhd are disabled or removed. These services are:
- Microsoft software shadow copy provider
- Shadow protect service

#34
mchldpy

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hello wondim or ?,
i used the mark russ. app as you suggested, when i try to install i get "can not open needed image for install", or something to that
effect. after that trying to diagnose i tried to open with image manager from waik and it said "no catalog file". later i unpacked the wim with to poke around and there was the vhd i started with. gimagex either didn't turn it into a wim or maybe thats the way it deals with it. apparently i did something wrong. (i got up this morning)

still trying,
michael

I am not sure what went wrong.You first download the zip file called Disk2vhd. Then you don't need to install the aplication. It is a portable application. You just need to run it. If the application cannot run, then two or more basic services that are important for Disk2vhd are disabled or removed. These services are:
- Microsoft software shadow copy provider
- Shadow protect service



i'm sorry i was a-bit misleading,
the error comes during the os install, off of the dvd. after setup is starting screen, error screen pops up ... , i googled, similar problems but nothing definitive.

thanks anyway

#35
wondim

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i'm sorry i was a-bit misleading,
the error comes during the os install, off of the dvd. after setup is starting screen, error screen pops up ... , i googled, similar problems but nothing definitive.

thanks anyway

So from what I understand, you have created the vhd and after converting it to install.wim, you inserted it to the original ISO and tried to install Windows. Then you got "can not open needed image for install". This error message might happen when:
- you insert the install.wim in a wrong ISO - eg. Install.wim is for Windows 7 ultimate and ISO is for Windows 7 Professional
- your Windows 7 ISO or install.wim is seen as a invalid. This happens due to extreme customization.

Solution
- Try your install.wim in different versions of Windows 7 ISO like home basic, ultimate, etc
- install an uncustumized Windows 7, install applications and then create install.wim and create an iso file and customize the ISO to have less size (this might take some time as two applications that customize Windows 7 are at early development phase).
7customize - http://www.msfn.org/...139077-300.html
RT Se7en Lite - http://www.rt7lite.com/

Good luck!

Edited by wondim, 28 March 2010 - 09:08 PM.


#36
Richhawk

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This guide would have been shorter but it became a bit long due to more detailed elaboration to fit all type of user from beginner to advanced. So advanced users can simply skip many simple steps. In this guide you can make a bootable recovery DVD without the need of any expensive backup software. We only need freewares to do this. And once the bootable backup is made, we can use it
for any computer.
It works on both Windows 7 and Vista.

First, any Windows Vista/7 ISO has Install.win file in the source directory. If this Install.wim is mounted, it shows the
actual directories of C drive that we see when windows is installed first. So in short, the thing to be done is to replace original install.win with the one made by windows backup then captured by GImageX. Below is the detail.
Requirements

- The host computer needs to have Windows backup and Restore (with system image creator)
- One of Power ISO, UltraISO, Magic ISO, 7Zip (free), WinRAR, etc

- GImageX 2.0 http://www.autoitscr...gex/gimagex.zip
- Windows 7/Vista ISO file
- 4.7 GB or 8.5 GB DVD - size depends on the newly
created ISO and a DVD writer (with double layer support if size of the ISO is bigger than 4.7 GB) Or
- USB drive - size depends on the newly created ISO (preferably 8GB or more)
- A Bootable USB – a tool to make USB bootable and to install Windows from USB.
http://www.deviantar...ishal_Gupta.zip
The microsoft Windows 7 ISO to USB tool didn't work for me maybe due to the size.

Phase One – Backup your system image with Windows backup and Restore
It is advised to make this backup when your PC has all the necessary softwares and drivers that you need and when the system is in a stable form. Clean up unnecessary files, move documents and any others files that are not need by your softwares of the system to free up space. If you have plan of installing the Recovery DVD on other systems, make sure you deleted all firefox history, bookmarks, etc and private files. You can recover them again using MozBackup. MozBackup - Backup tool for Firefox and Thunderbird
1. Go to Control Panel search for “Backup and Restore” or type it on start menu search
2. When the main page of Backup and Restore appears click on “create system image”
3. Select a drive location where the backup will be saved. Make sure “On one or more DVDs” and On network location” are unchecked. Then Click next.
4. In the next windows, make sure other drives are not selected. Make sure only the system image is checked which cannot be editable. Then click next.
5. Then click on “Start Backup”.
6. Once the backup is over, it asks you to create a system repair disk. For now cancel. But create another time. It is useful in case of booting problem.
Phase Two – Convert the system image file (VHD) into .WIM file
The system image you created in phase one is saved as VHD – Virtual Hard Disk Format with give us chance to mount as an additional partition. This VHD must be converted to .WIM file so that we can integrate the system backup in Windows 7/Vista DVD/ISO.
1. Start > Right-click on My Computer > Manage. Then from the left hand side menu Click on “Disk Management”
2. Now go to the top menu and Click on “Action” and click on “Attach VHD" then you will be promted to "specify the VHD location" so click on Browse, and locate the VHD that is created by Windows Backup and Restore the VHD file is found in X:\WindowsImageBackup\Your Name-PC\Backup YYYY-MM-DD hhmmss. (eg. F:\WindowsImageBackup\Andex-PC\Backup 2009-12-03 192205) Then once you select the VHD and click ok, the VHD will be mounted as a new partition. Observe the driver letter
3. Open GimageX 2.0 from any of the subfolders x86 or x64 depending on which edition of operating system you are recovering.
4. On the main GUI of GImageX for “source”, select the drive which the VHD was mounted to
5. For destination, Click browse and place it in a location where there is more free space. Under “File Name” on the browse window type “Install” without quotes and click on Save.
6. For compression choose Maximum (to save space)
7. For SKU Flag, choose any of the Windows Version you are backed up already.
8. For the description information, just customize it however you like
9. Once done, click the Create button at the bottom of the GimageX
10. GimageX starts converting the VHD file to WIM file (this process will take from few minuites to several minutes depending on the size of your backup).

Phase Three – Integrating WIM file into Windows 7/Vista ISO file and Burn the ISO into DVD or USB
1. Go to your windows 7/Vista ISO folder and Copy it from the original location and Paste it into another location preferably where there is more free space. Doing this is important because the ISO will be edited and keeping original ISO is a wise option.
2. Open the ISO with PowerISO or similar software.
Inside the ISO, there will be a sources folder, so just remove the install.wim file and drag the install.wim file that you made with GImageX into the sources folder. (In other words, you are just replacing the install.wim file that's on the original ISO, with the one that you made.)
3. Finally, save it as an ISO and check the size of the ISO, and use a DVD that has bigger size than the ISO.
4. Insert black DVD and Burn the ISO using Windows Disc Image Burner (as there might be compatibility issue with other burners).
5. For USB Installation - make sure the size of the USB is big enough – and follow the instruction to create a bootable USB using the utility here. First install the utility and follow the instruction on help in left side of the GUI. This application is odd but simple to use. To know it has finished one step, check if the application can be moved. Often when it is performing a process, it locks itself and user cannot click anything. To stop the application without finishing its process, use task manager and end its process.

Phase Four – Recovering Windows
The Recovery has no single difference from a clean windows installation. The major difference is the outcome. All your software and setting will be recovered at the end of Windows installation process. The time taken is almost the same as Clean and new Windows installation. Activating Windows might be needed unless you are using a pre-activated Windows.
Most importantly, the recovery DVD can be used for other systems too. The drivers will be installed at first start. It might be necessary to uninstall driver software of the original PC and changing user name and PC name. I have successfully installed Windows 7 Professional on Acer, Dell and Toshiba Notebook using the created Recovery DVD of an HP Notebook.

Important Note
This note doesn't concern Windows Vista/7 OEM users but it is concerned with those with retail versions. If you are making the recovery ISO from Retail versions, you will be asked to immidately activate Windows once you start the system. Preactivating is also another option which is a bit complicated.

Note: for better understanding of your ISO size;
The size of my C partition before the backup 19 GB.
My Windows 7 Professional backup size (VHD) - 12.2 GB ;
The created Install.wim file size 5.2 GB,
The ISO file after replacing the original Install.wim - 5.8 GB.
So using this info, you can estimate the size of your final ISO.

Any suggestion, question, comment, and rejection is welcomed.



#37
Richhawk

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I don't understand Phase Three,I was stuck there because unable to locate the sources folder. BTW what is Windows7 ISO folder.

#38
wondim

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I don't understand Phase Three,I was stuck there because unable to locate the sources folder. BTW what is Windows7 ISO folder.

Source folder is obtained from Windows 7 DVD disc or downloaded Windows 7 ISO. Windows 7 ISO folder means the folders and files you get Windows 7 DVD disc or Windows 7 ISO online.

Make sure that your Windows 7 DVD or ISO is the same version as your installed Windows 7. To know your windows 7 version just type "winver" without quotes. Then open the found application and see what the top say. E.g Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, etc. If you don't have Windows 7 DVD or ISO of your PCs installed version, you can download the trial version of Windows 7 from here.
http://www.softpedia...oad-118183.html

Edited by wondim, 06 January 2013 - 11:28 PM.


#39
Richhawk

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I thot the system image ISO is the systemimage VHD that created in windows.I made a mistake. Anyway thx again for your assistance.
Rgds.

#40
wondim

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I thot the system image ISO is the systemimage VHD that created in windows.I made a mistake. Anyway thx again for your assistance.
Rgds.

You are welcome! Did it work for you now?

#41
Richhawk

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Hi,
Last few I was not in town. Will try and let u know the result.
Thx.

Rgds,

#42
Richhawk

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I'm using Win7.

#43
wondim

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Hi,
Last few I was not in town. Will try and let u know the result.
Thx.

Rgds,

Have a nice trip. :D

#44
Richhawk

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After a fresh installation of windows7,I notice that there are 2 VHD in my WindowsImageBackup,I believe one of them is from the 100MB system reserved.In this case how to go about it ? must i redo a fresh installation again? Secondly, I have a windows7 Home Premium installation disk,when I open up I did not see the ISO file,it shows many files and folders,can i just replace the install.wim from there and copy the whole thing to save ,then burn it to ISO ? Thank you.
Rgds.

#45
wondim

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After a fresh installation of windows7,I notice that there are 2 VHD in my WindowsImageBackup,I believe one of them is from the 100MB system reserved.In this case how to go about it ? must i redo a fresh installation again? Secondly, I have a windows7 Home Premium installation disk,when I open up I did not see the ISO file,it shows many files and folders,can i just replace the install.wim from there and copy the whole thing to save ,then burn it to ISO ? Thank you.
Rgds.

Of the two VHD's the one you should convert to WIM using GimageX is the system image. It should be much bigger than 100MB system reserved. So just take the bigger one so you don't need to do a fresh installation.

If you have Windows 7 Home Premium disc, your backed up system should also be Windows 7 Home Premium. As you have a disc, you need to use programs like PowerISO or similar softwares to copy the disc file to ISO. Once you image it into ISO, you just need to go to Sources folder, and delete install.wim file and replace it in the same location with the same name "install.wim" that you created using GimageX

#46
Richhawk

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Thx for yr info,will try and let u know the result.
Rgds.




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