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Windows 7: Create a "Generic" Win7 Boot Drive?

19 Feb 2017   #1
Shenzie

Win7 Home Premium X32
 
 
Create a "Generic" Win7 Boot Drive?

Hello, all—

I'm looking for advice and counsel on how best to get an associate's venerable PC able to use Win7. The challenge for me is to configure a quite generic Win7-bootable drive here (on the west coast) that is ignorant of my system config (hardware, drivers, et al.) and send it to him (on the east coast) so that he will be able to start his PC and have a minimal—but usable—environment that can then be tweaked to suit his actual hardware.

Let me state emphatically that there is no goal of making a pirated Win7 installation. He will have a legal Win7 SP1 installation disk and product code number. What I would like to avoid is having to coach him through the installation via telephone...and instead require him only to connect the generic Win7 boot drive I will send and start the system so that I would then be able to configure it from here via TeamViewer. (I'd have the TeamViewer "quick support" exe file on the drive and ready for launch.)

To be able to configure the generic boot drive remotely, I'd need for his basic hardware, including router and on-line access, to be able to function enough so that TeamViewer can effect a connection between our PCs. Safe mode would work for that, but I'm not confident that all the hardware driver tweaks necessary can be done in Safe mode. I've operated remote PCs in Safe mode via TeamViewer, but on my own system I've sometimes not been able to install or reconfigure this or that in Safe mode. Chipset and network drivers could be a problem, yes?

Since our hardware is so dissimilar, a drive I'd configure here would need to avoid recognition of and drivers for any/all of my hardware. My PC is a custom one (Asus mainboard, Radeon display adapter, Dell monitor, mainboard-based network adapter, yadda-yadda). My associate's PC is a Dell desktop running Vista. I have the Dell driver files that purportedly allow his model to run Win7, and my plan is to use the usual method of updating drivers to suit his actual hardware.

FWIW, the installed Vista on the east coast PC is 32-bit Home Premium, and the generic drive would have Win7 32-bit Home Premium. The Vista drive would not be connected during Win7 configuration, and dual-booting would not be used. If necessary to start in Vista again, the appropriate key would be used to select the Vista drive.

It would also be almost imperative for my generic drive setup (before sending east) not to be involved at all in entering the product code or any other Microsoft action that would tie this drive to my hardware. When the drive is delivered and can at least do a minimal startup, it will be no trouble at all to activate with the legal product code.

Any comments and advice that experienced installers care to offer will be much appreciated. I did search the Installation forum but didn't find any information that seemed to apply. I can experiment with configuring a generic drive here, but I can't really test its ability to boot into Win7 usefully on completely different hardware.

Can I get there from here?

Thx in advance...and sorry for the wordy problem description.

Shen


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Feb 2017   #2
johnhoh

Win7 pro x64
 
 

What are the model numbers of his motherboard and your motherboard?

But regardless, once you have win7 installed on the hard drive on your machine, put the exe files for all his drivers right on the desktop so that he can run them himself just by clicking on them once he gets the hard drive. And before you shutdown the machine for the last time on your end before unplugging the hard drive to send to him, make sure to go into windows device manager and manually update the hard drive controller device to the one called "standard ahci serial ata controller". You will have to coach him into checking to make sure it shows ahci and not ide or raid for the hard drive type within his own bios, otherwise he won't be able to boot the new drive. He may need to use an external usb 2.0 mouse for that first boot to the desktop when he clicks on the driver files you put there. I recommend you make sure he does not have any other hard drives installed on his machine as well, to make it simple on the initial install. I do not see any issue with having the drivers for your own machine loaded as part of windows - they will not become part of his system once he boots on his hardware. Those are some thoughts for starters, not knowing the motherboard types.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2017   #3
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

You can look into building a sysprep'd drive to send him.
Here is a tutorial:
Windows 7 Installation - Transfer to a New Computer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

20 Feb 2017   #4
Shenzie

Win7 Home Premium X32
 
 
Create a "Generic" Win7 Boot Drive?

Thx for the rapid reply, johnhoh.

My system is built on an Asus P7P55D-E Deluxe mainboard—the target system is a Dell Inspiron 530. (Mainboard nomenclature is tough to find from Dell—is the PC model sufficient for your use?)

I had intended to have the driver files already on the "new" drive, ready for installation. It's almost certain that I'll be doing the driver tweaking remotely, unless a gent in my associate's area returns early from his vacation and can be eyes-on. Please don't get the impression that my associate is un-sharp—in his areas of expertise, he is a bona fide expert. When it comes to his PC, though, he regards it as a tool that he uses only when necessary—terms such as SATA, EIDE, PCI-e, etc. have no meaning or interest to him. That's why I want to go the way of sending a SATA drive that he can plug in and use to start the system minimally...and let me assure that all his hardware is recognized and deal with drivers et al. At the appropriate time, I'll have him activate his new Win7 setup.

FWLIW, one of the reasons I want to get him into Win7 is that OS's Libraries construct. He has many project-related files in many folders—somewhat disorganized, unfortunately—and locating them is a chore at times. A set of libraries that I'll set up for him will ease the hassle, I'm sure.

When you say that you don't see any issue of drivers from my system being present on this new drive when it's connected to my associate's PC (as the only HD), do you mean just the presence of the driver files themselves in the \System32\ folder (and perhaps elsewhere)? I had intended to uninstall much of my system's hardware via the Device Manager before final shutdown...with the goal of requiring the first startup under Win7 to recognize the "new" hardware and seek appropriate drivers for it. If you'd expand a bit on how you think I can best handle this aspect, I would appreciate it.

Best,

Shen


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by johnhoh View Post
What are the model numbers of his motherboard and your motherboard?

But regardless, once you have win7 installed on the hard drive on your machine, put the exe files for all his drivers right on the desktop so that he can run them himself just by clicking on them once he gets the hard drive. And before you shutdown the machine for the last time on your end before unplugging the hard drive to send to him, make sure to go into windows device manager and manually update the hard drive controller device to the one called "standard ahci serial ata controller". You will have to coach him into checking to make sure it shows ahci and not ide or raid for the hard drive type within his own bios, otherwise he won't be able to boot the new drive. He may need to use an external usb 2.0 mouse for that first boot to the desktop when he clicks on the driver files you put there. I recommend you make sure he does not have any other hard drives installed on his machine as well, to make it simple on the initial install. I do not see any issue with having the drivers for your own machine loaded as part of windows - they will not become part of his system once he boots on his hardware. Those are some thoughts for starters, not knowing the motherboard types.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2017   #5
Shenzie

Win7 Home Premium X32
 
 
Create a "Generic" Win7 Boot Drive?

Thx for the idea, David. I looked at the tutorial—hadn't considered an approach like that—but in this case I think it will be more efficient to send the drive with a few key applications (TeamViewer, browser, e-mail client, etc.) already installed, get remote control of the system, and do any other application re-installs as needed.

Best,

Shen


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidE View Post
You can look into building a sysprep'd drive to send him.
Here is a tutorial:
Windows 7 Installation - Transfer to a New Computer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2017   #6
johnhoh

Win7 pro x64
 
 

your motherboard has the intel P55 chipset and his has the Intel P33 chipset. The fact that are both intel and not too far apart in vintage increases your odds of this working out, is why I asked.

The reason you do not need to uninstall your drivers (other than the hard drive controller) is that windows won't load your drivers at boot up when it finds that your hardware is gone.

Regarding your comment about locating files is a chore at times, I suggest you put Search Everything on the new machine and have it load at startup. Its great at finding files instantly. Like if I know there is a doc file on my machine that has the word presentation in the filename, I just click the Everything icon, type "doc pres", and it finds the file instantly. Way better than windows search imo. just fyi.

Downloads
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2017   #7
samuria

win 8 32 bit
 
 

You simple create an answer file for the installation and it will load drivers etc you specify
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2017   #8
Shenzie

Win7 Home Premium X32
 
 
Mission Accomplished!

FWLIW, the project of a partial install of Win7 and some applications onto a drive, followed by the connection of the drive by a novice user (on the other side of the country) and his completion of the installation, went very smoothly. I've got a few tweaks left to do to make the new Win7 user environment look like the old Vista environment...but 95% of the job is done.

Sincere thanks to all those who posted their ideas and advice. I'm not sure that an "answer file" would have worked in a partial manner...but I'll do my homework to learn more for the next time the same challenge comes up.

Shenzie
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Create a "Generic" Win7 Boot Drive?




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