Monday 12 November 2012

Windows 7 To Go tutorial download updated

I was recently contacted by James Leyden who was running the Installer.cmd script on his Dell M15X Alienware laptop from 2008 to prepare a 1TB USB HDD drive.
The resulting USB drive would not boot:

BOOTMGR is missing
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart

 and indeed did not even have \bootmgr in the root of the drive. Upon investigation, we found that the bcdboot command was not working in the Installer.cmd script and further investigation revealed that James' Dell was in EFI mode (this was confirmed by running the command line utility testefi.exe).
The bcdboot command used in the script was modified to use the /f BIOS parameter but still the bcdboot command did not work. Finally, James downloaded the Windows 8 WAIK files and replaced the Win 7 WAIK version of BCDBOOT.EXE with the Win8 version. At last his Windows 7 To Go now boots!
I have now modified the download in tutorial #43 so that it uses the /f BIOS parameter and also now checks that both the bcdboot and bootsect commands actually complete successfully!
For your reference, the error that the Win7 version of bcdboot reports, if you attempt to use it to prepare a Win 7 USB drive on a system running 64-bit EFI Win 7, is:
BSFVC: Failed to create a new system store. Status = [c000003a]

See Tutorial 47 for the revised download files.

92 - BITS Intel BIOS Implementation Test Suite added

This is a BIOS test suite from Intel. It can be added as an ISO to a multiboot grub4dos USB drive and is useful to test BIOSes for compatibility. It is most useful for testing BIOSes on new or pre-production systems but can be use on any Intel CPU-based system. 

Sunday 4 November 2012

Boot Splash Screen

A user wanted to use the Clonezilla auto-restore tutorial, but did not want the user to see any menu text at all. They just wanted a splash screen and then a 10 seconds delay to allow them to hit F4 if they wanted a restore, otherwise they just wanted the system to boot to Windows as normal. This is similar to the way the Windows 7 F8 key works.
I found you could hide the menu completely and use hotkeys by adding two grubutils utilities, menusetting and hotkey - see here for more details.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Windows 8 install from ISO #43 updated

The technique in Tutorial 43 required the unattend.xml file to be pre-populated with the Windows 8 Product Key. This is OK for volume licence versions where the same key is used each time, however, for Retail versions, a different key is required each time for each different system. I have therefore added a user prompt to the grub4dos menu which asks the user for the Product Key before the installation begins.
Note that the set /p prompt string cannot be over 80 characters and should be less than 70 characters to avoid an error!

If you are prepared to make a small modification to the iso and edit the ei.cfg file in the \sources folder within the iso file, then you can avoid the need for the unattend.xml file needing to contain the product key.