22 February 2011

Create a Windows 7 multi edition bootable USB and DVD ISO image - the easy way

This is a bit of an old topic by now but since SP1 has been released for Windows 7, there will be a need to do this again for the slipstreamed ISO.  Before we start here is some terminology. Windows Versions are XP, Vista, 7.  Editions of Windows 7 are Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, etc.

"Unlock" the other editions
To simplify the OS deployment media (DVD / ISO)  - from now on refered to as the image.  Microsoft has made a single image from which any edition of Windows 7 can be installed.  The only difference is that there is a small text file that determines which version is available on that particular image.

The file is called ei.cfg and it is located in the \sources folder of the image file.  If this file is deleted or renamed then the installation will prompt you to choose the edition of Windows.

The easiest way of doing this is to create a bootable USB installation drive.
If however you still want to have an ISO file so you can use it for VM's or burning physical media you, will have crack open the ISO and then recreate an bootable iso, it actually easier than it sounds.

OPTION 1 - Create bootable USB installation drive

Download the Windows 7 USB / DVD Download Tool http://images2.store.microsoft.com/prod/clustera/framework/w7udt/1.0/en-us/Windows7-USB-DVD-tool.exe

  • Insert your 4GB or bigger USB flash drive
  • Start the Windows 7 USB / DVD Download Tool
  • Choose your original ISO
  • Select USB device as your destination

The USB drive will now be boot-able and you can install form there.

  • To make it multi edition you need to delete the ei.cfg file from the sources folder.  

That's it, very simple and easy.

OPTION 2 - Create multi edition installation ISO
This happens in two parts.  I am using two freeware applications to perform this.

These two apps are very useful and I use them all the time, so take the time to check them out if you aren't already using them.

Part I extract the ISO
Once 7Zip is installed you can right click your ISO file and select extract.
This will now extract the entire folder structure.

Delete the ei.cfg file from the Sources folder

Part II create a bootable ISO
Open ImgBurn and from the menu screen select Create image file from files/folders

  • Browse to the source folder where you extracted and edited the original ISO.
  • Select the Advanced tab on the right
  • Select the Bootable disk tab on the right
  • Check the make image bootable box
  • For the boot image browse to the \boot folder (in the extracted iso folder) and select etfsboot.com as the boot image.
  • Add "Microsoft Corporation" in Developer ID
  • Change Sectors to load from 4 to 8 (4 if you for some reason want to do a Vista ISO)
  • Click the big Folder to ISO image on the bottom left and follow the prompts.

Your new ISO will now be bootable and multi edition.

This in no way causes any licensing issues since the version of Windows that you can end up using is dependent on the Key that you provide.  You can of course not enter a key and pick a version , but then you will have to at some point provide a valid key.


Anonymous said...

You can store many Windows Vista/7/SVR2K8 ISOs all on one USB stick and use any of them - see http://sites.google.com/site/rmprepusb/tutorials/multiisoimdiskautounattend

Anonymous said...

puede funcionar con el progama ultraiso????

Etienne Liebetrau said...

Nunca he tratado de crear una imagen ISO con UltraISO, pero, en teoría, cualquier herramienta que te permite crear una ISO de arranque debería funcionar.

Déjame saber cómo va

Anonymous said...

When attempting to install from USB thumbdrive after following this tutorial I am recieving the error: "Windows cannot open the required file C:\Sources\install.wim. Make sure all files required for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error code: 0x8007000D"

Used ImgBurn

J-Claude said...

Et si un de vous à une méthode simple pour faire une clé USB multi versions, ce serait bien.
Les CD multi versions sont faciles à faire, mais pour l'instant personnes n'est capable de faire aussi simple pour une clé USB. Dommage

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