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Windows 7: Looking for a program to setup USB multibook installers for Win7

23 Feb 2015   #1
daved31415

Win 7 Po x86/x64
 
 
Looking for a program to setup USB multibook installers for Win7

Hi,

I am looking for a program or process which will assist me in setting up multiple Win7 installations on one USB drive. Ideally I'd like to have several different Win7 installs (x86, x64, with and without updates) along with diagnostic tools and a Linux distro.

I've spent hours trying YUMI but keep getting a "Windows cannot be setup on this hardware" type of error message during the final steps of the installation process. Among other things during hours of trying I did the following:
- switching between AHCI and RAID
- switching USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 during the install (changing physical ports)
- removing the USB drive before the first reboot (saw this recommendation in several places)
- loading only copies of the Win7 x86 and Win7 x64 Dell CD installers on to the drive (as opposed to with loading installers with updates slipstreamed into the installers)

I've decided to abandon until I find other suggestions to YUMI start screen and USB drive setup process are top-notch. The installation process is already a bit difficult with the need to remove the drive before restart but I would be willing to put up with that.

I've also tried WinSetupFromUSB but this program appears to only configure one version of Windows 7, whereas I need at least four total.

Other programs I'm looking at trying are:
- XBOOT
- SARDU
- Easy2Boot & RMPrepUSB
- Win AIO Maker & MS Windows Automated Installation Kit

If the installers need to be strictly Windows (i.e., no diagnostics, no Linux) I can accept that and simply carry two drives.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Feb 2015   #2
daved31415

Win 7 Po x86/x64
 
 

I've had no luck getting past the boot menu with XBOOT and Easy2Boot brought me to the same error. The exact message is:

Windows could not configure one or more system components. To install Windows, restart the computer and then restart the installation.

Now that I've ran into this same error from two different install setup methods I'm thinking it is due to either my hardware configuration (Dell Latitude E6540 laptop) or the fact that I am using Dell Windows 7 installation CDs. However, I can setup a single installation on a USB drive no problem. It is only when I start to venture into multiple installations that I run into this issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Feb 2015   #3
gregrocker

 

I've tried everything and what works for me for years is to format the stick with unlocked 64 bit Win7 ISO using UltraISO Software To Create Bootable USB Flash Drive, then extract the 32 bit unlocked ISO into its own folder on the stick, move all your other tools into the root making sure not to touch the seven ISO folders.

When you want to change from 64>32 bit, sweep the seven 64 bit ISO folders into their own folder, empty the 32 bit ISO folder into the root of the stick which will remain bootable and now install 32 bit. Same for Windows 8.1 or 10 which can all be on the same stick.

For UEFI installs I have another stick which I handle the same way for UEFI Bootable USB Flash Drive - Create in Windows.

Every few months I Update 7 installation media for the versions I use most and replace it's install.wim in Sources folder to have all the latest Updates onboard each stick. This must be done for each OS-version and well as bit-version so it can take time to do more than the versions you use most. The others will need to have Updates run longer once installed.

You will waste more time trying to make a stick bootable for all OS's than you will using the above method. I've never found another method that doesn't fail sooner or later.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Feb 2015   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

How about running all those systems under VMware Player, it's the easiest and most comfortable. I run all those from an external SSD.

Looking for a program to setup USB multibook installers for Win7-2015-02-23_1956.png


And here is my tutorial on how to install and operate those systems. Left click on the tile on the OneDrive website - right click for download of the PDF.

And here is a tutorial specific for Linux.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2015   #5
daved31415

Win 7 Po x86/x64
 
 

greggrocker, whs,

Thank you both for the responses.

I was finally able to create the multiboot USB drive using this process:

1. Download updates using Windows Update Downloader (WUD) (on updated versions).
2. Update7V5 to slipstream updates (on updated versions) and to create ISOs (all versions).
3. RMPrepUSB to format the USB drive (not sure that this is necessary but it was working and I haven't experimented further yet).
4. Easy2Boot to create grub4dos menu and setup ISOs.

Power on to desktop SSD install time is 16 minutes with updates (one goal was to decrease install time). Manually installing office, Dell drivers, configuring desktop and installing remaining updates took another 40 minutes. I'm curious if installing off a second SSD instead of USB2.0 memory would speed things up significantly.

I expect that this method will have issues at some point as you stated gregrocker. I haven't done much with UEFI yet so that is something I will be looking into down the road as well and will be trying your method when I have a chance. Moving a few files around is close enough to multiboot for my purposes.

Regarding the virtual machines, whs, I've run into ethernet problems with VirtualBox and VMware Player in the past. I'm using the systems to network with various high speed data acquisition hardware which sometimes doesn't play nicely with windows updates, other times requires strictly 32 or 64 bit operating systems. Using virtual machines is a long-term objective but I'm not quite there yet.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2015   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Congratulations, your scheme is very ingenious.

I never had ethernet problems with VMware Player. There were some problems with Virtual Box though. That's why I switched to VMware Player.

As you can see from my snip I run a great variety of systems and they all run very well. Maybe you want to try the virtual route again. Mine run from an external SSD that I attach on eSata or USB depending on the system where I run it. eSata and USB3 run more or less at the same speed as if the system folders were on the internal SSD. USB2 is a bit slower - especially for the boot time.

The real challenge was to run a virtual Linux Mint Mate on this little guy that I bought on Black Friday for $99. It has only 2GB of RAM and a C partition of maximum 20GB. I gave Linux 0.5GB of RAM which left 1.5GB of RAM for Windows. The virtual folder is on a USB2 attached 60GB SSD. It takes a good minute to boot but after that it runs like on rails.

I also run Windows and Linux from fast USB3 sticks. Not because I have to but because it is fun to experiment. Those run very well too. Here is a video demo I made with Mint if you like to see how that works.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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