How to Create a Windows 7 Universal Installation Disc Introduction
For Windows users who installed or upgraded Windows Vista, there is one big difference that will be immediately noticed when installing or upgrading to Windows 7: The Windows 7 installation wizard no longer prompts, or asks, for the user to select which edition of the operating system to install. Instead, each Windows 7 DVD disc will automatically install the specific edition which it’s limited to. So a Windows 7 Home Premium disc will only install Windows 7 HP, a Pro disc will only install Pro, etc.
Although Microsoft does not provide any such universal Windows 7 installation media, the function is indeed feasible. (see Screenshot below) A disc such as this can be especially helpful to PC technicians, IT staff, and the like who need to reinstall Windows 7 frequently. Remember you will still need a valid license key specific to the version you are installing. In addition, Microsoft has eliminated the differences between the retail and OEM install discs with Windows 7, so this disc can be used to reinstall Windows 7 on PC’s where the owner has lost, or is unable to find, the OEM restore discs. In order to create such a disc; just delete and remove the ei.cfg from any Windows 7 ISO to convert that image into a universal disc for all editions of Windows 7. STAGE 1 UNIVERSAL DVD - ALL 32 OR 64 BIT ON 1 DVD
For any user who has the Windows 7 install DVD or ISO and wishes to make a universal installer disc now there is an easier way to modify the ISO. Normally this was accomplished by manually unpacking and extracting the contents of the ISO image (or copying files from DVD to HDD), deleting the ei.cfg and then repacking the installation files back into an ISO to burn. Users can now eliminate these tedious procedures by making use of the “ei.cfg Removal Utility”.
The ei.cfg Removal Utility is a simple tool that will disable the ei.cfg from any Windows 7 ISO disc image, thereby converting the image into a “universal disc” that will prompt the user to select their preferred edition during setup. The ei.cfg Removal Utility works directly to patch the ISO image, by toggling the deletion bit in the UDF file table to instruct the operating system to ignore and remove ei.cfg, or treat it as if it does not exist. Best of all, the ei.cfg Removal Utility can reverse the patching to restore the ISO disc image to its original state when the tool is been used to apply on a disc image that previously been patched by the utility.
The ei.cfg Removal Utility is a standalone portable app, and requires no installation. In fact, the program does not have much of a user interface at all. Simply selecting the target Windows 7 ISO, and the disc image (ISO) will be patched right away. So make sure a backup
copy of your ISO is created beforehand.
Download the ei.cfg Removal Utility here:eicfg_removal_utility.zip STAGE 2 UNIVERSAL DVD - ALL 32 AND ALL 64 BIT ON 1 DVD
I was amazed at how easy it is to merge Windows 7 x86 and Windows 7 x64 editions (DVDs) in a single DVD or 4GB USB. The process is pretty simple, you need a copy of both any 32 bit and any 64 bit Windows 7 install DVD or ISO. Either copy the DVD's contents to a folder on a HDD, or extract the ISO's contents to a folder. Run 4 commands from the prompt, then create and burn your new Universal install DVD/USB. Requirements:
- WAIK (Windows Automation Installation Kit) Download WAIK
- Windows Windows 7 x86 and Windows Windows 7 x64 DVDs.
- An application that can extract the files from an ISO (if using a downloaded ISO). I use WinRAR, but many apps can do this extraction.
- An application that allows you to build a new iso or create a bootable DVD/USB. I use UltraISO for this.
- Single Layer DVD, compatible DVD Burner and, of course DVD burning software… or a 4GB USB flash drive.
We will merge the four Windows 7 x64 editions into the Windows 7 x86 DVD contents, because Windows 7 x64 DVD has 64-bit content that can’t run some of the Win32 installation components. Getting Started
1. Install WAIK in your Windows (doesn’t matter you are running Windows 7 or Windows XP)
2. Make two folders, in my examples I use Win7_64 and Win7_32. Now copy both Windows 7 x64 and x86 DVDs contents into their respective folders. Or extract your downloaded ISO’s into their respective folder.
If copying files over from a DVD to the above folders, you actually only need the Sources\install.wim file from the Windows 7 x64 DVD.
3. Run WAIK command prompt (Run as Administrator if UAC enabled):
Start à All Programs àWindows AIK àWindows AIK and PE Command Prompt
4. Each and every Windows 7 edition has an index no. in the install.wim (WIM file), you can check using the following command:
Where G:\Win7_32 represents the location of your 32 bit DVD files
The results will look something like above.
This shows that INDEX=1 denotes Windows 7 Starter and so on… (you may have to scroll down to observe these entries)
5. We will use the Imagex /export command to move our x64 WIM entries into the x86 wim file.
The syntax for this command is:
imagex /export src_file src_number src_name dest_file dest_name
Now execute the following commands with appropriate INDEX no. to export a copy of the specified image to the Windows 7 32bit (x86) WIM file. For Windows 7 Home Basic x64:
For Windows 7 Home Premium x64:
Imagex/export G:\Win7_64\Sources\install.wim 1 G:\Win7_32\Sources\install.wim "Windows 7 Home Basic (x64)"
For Windows 7 Professional x64:
Imagex/export G:\Win7_64\Sources\install.wim 2 G:\Win7_32\Sources\install.wim "Windows 7 Home Premium (x64)"
For Windows 7 Ultimate x64:
Imagex/export G:\Win7_64\Sources\install.wim 3 G:\Win7_32\Sources\install.wim "Windows 7 Professional (x64)"
Imagex /export G:\Win7_64\Sources\install.wim 4 G:\Win7_32\Sources\install.wim "Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)"
6. After execution of above commands Win7_32's WIM file will be the universal WIM file that contains all version of Windows 7. You can export only desired versions into the image. For example you could make a Windows 7 DVD, which includes Windows 7 Ultimate x86 and x64 version only.
7. Now to make bootable DVD image...