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Creating windows 7 boot partition on HD (need help with gigabyte BIOS pls!)

psyck0psyck0 Registered User regular
Hey folks,

just purchased Win 7 download and got the ISO. Would like to "burn" it to a partition in my external drive and boot from that because I am upgrading from XP and want to do a clean install, and don't have any DVDs. There's a utility for doing this but it sucks- it won't recognise my hard drive (formatted NTFS, large enough partition, totally blank) and I can't figure out why. Have gone so far as to reformat and repartition with no luck. All the command line guides confuse me greatly- they aren't explicit enough and I have no experience with command line. I also tried restoring the image using disk utility on my mac, but it gave me a 254 error- couldn't read the source ISO. Any other options?

Update: I have managed to get the ISO onto a partition on the HDD. Then I went into the BIOS (gigabyte, think the most recent one but certainly very recent, it's a brand new mobo) and changed the disk boot order to boot from my usb hdd first. It didn't ask me which partition to use. Then, when I saved and exited, it said "loading operating system" and then on the next line it said "boot from cd/dvdrom :" and then it hung there. I thought perhaps the filesystem was wrong, so I tried putting the ISO on NTFS, FAT32 and FAT partitions, and I also tried booting using the temporary boot-from-this-device-once option by hitting F12 and telling it to boot from USB HDD, whereupon it did the same thing (may have hung after the first line and not mentioned cd/dvdrom). I don't know if this means that my ISO partition is unbootable or what, hence looking for help. For the record, I did not just copy the ISO over but extracted it properly, following guides that worked for other people.

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    Cyd CycloneCyd Cyclone Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    You could always burn it to a USB Key. Microsoft provides the utility for this, and it works fairly well.

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    psyck0psyck0 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    That is exactly what I said I tried to use, and it sucked. Does it HAVE to be a USB key? That could be why.

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    finalflight89finalflight89 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I'm pretty sure it's possible to make a boot HD with the installer on it, but it definitely can't be on an NTFS partition. Most BIOSs require FAT32 partitions when booting off their "USB Memory Key" boot option.

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    psyck0psyck0 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    OK. I FINALLY got the damn thing on a drive using undisker and "extract to". Now how do I boot from it? I go into my bios and change the boot drive to my USB drive, which it sees, and all it does is say "loading operating system ..." and then "boot from cd/dvd:" and then hangs there. It does this when I format the usb partition as ntfs, as fat32 or as fat. There ARE multiple partitions on the drive and it doesn't give me a chance to select from between them. It's a gigabyte mobo running what I think is their latest bios. No idea what is going on.

    Oh, and formatting my hard drive to FAT STILL didn't let the useless Windows utility recognise it.

    Edit: Hmmmm... remembered about the 4gig SD card I use for my wii, backed up the files and the utility WILL recognise that. Now provided that the BIOS will let me boot from it properly, this should work, but I'd still like to get a partition on my HDD to do this in the future, so still looking for some help with the previous question.

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    Cyd CycloneCyd Cyclone Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    That's because you're trying to do something that the utility isn't designed for. Yes, it has to be a USB key.

    As far as installing from an external hdd, try this.

    Cyd Cyclone on
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    psyck0psyck0 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    That is what I did! But then it wouldn't actually boot from the bios. I tried making it an ntfs, a fat 32 and a fat partition, and I tried booting both by altering the drive boot order in the bios and by doing the one-time-tell-it-to-boot-from-this where I told it to boot from USB HDD (also tried USB CD-ROM). It hangs like I described, although sometimes it just hangs after the first part and doesn't say anything about booting from cd/dvdrom.

    Hmmm, the utility just told me that it couldn't make the flash drive bootable.

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    Cyd CycloneCyd Cyclone Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    That seems odd. The Microsoft utility isn't that great. I had to try twice the first time I tried to create a bootable key.
    Try again, maybe. Or buy some DVDs.

    And as far as the first question, I found this, which you've probably already seen and seems to match the other set of instructions.

    Other than that, I'm not sure what more you can do. I gave up when I tried to create a bootable media HDD, but I wish you luck.

    Cyd Cyclone on
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    psyck0psyck0 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    OK- so that makes it sound like a) my USB HDD partition is unbootable after I put the files on, and that is why it fails to boot (unlikely, given that I am following instructions that have worked for others), b) I am doing something wrong in my BIOS, or c) my BIOS sucks (I'll say again that it doesn't ask me which partition to boot from, although that last link implies that I should be able to boot even when I have multiple partitions). Hopefully someone with more BIOS knowledge can help?

    HAHAHA got it to work off my SD card but that's not permanent and I'd still like to solve this for closure, more than anything at this point, if anyone has suggestions. Had to run some thing called bootsector.exe with the windows 7 utility, does it make any sense that that could be required for the HDD as well? If so, I guess I'm screwed because the utility itself executed it and I can't.

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    BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    That would be your ignorance speaking. The BIOS isn't supposed to ask which partition to boot from. The BIOS goes to the Master Boot Record and executes the bootloader from there, and then the bootloader takes over and will boot the OS (or give you a selection of OSes to boot from) and go from there.

    Assuming no other OS on the drive is present, did you remember to mark the partition as active?

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    psyck0psyck0 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I did most of the time, I could have forgotten to do so on the one correct configuration I suppose. If the HDD was formatted by a mac, would it have a correct master boot record and so on?

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    BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    psyck0 wrote: »
    I did most of the time, I could have forgotten to do so on the one correct configuration I suppose. If the HDD was formatted by a mac, would it have a correct master boot record and so on?
    Unlikely, and even then the bootloader is typically installed by a separate tool (the one Microsoft provides to make a bootable flash drive does this) or as part of the OS installation, not by partitioning/formatting. If the partition isn't marked as active when you partition the disk it will usually be done when the OS is installed.

    Simply having a MBR also doesn't necessarily mean that it is set to boot the correct operating system. For instance, if you install Windows on a hard drive with Linux already on it Windows will modify the MBR to bootstrap the Windows bootloader instead of GRUB/LILO.

    It's also possible that right now another partition on your USB drive is marked as active even though it doesn't have a bootloader on it. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that (the first partition is usually active), just not suitable for what you're trying to do.

    Barrakketh on
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    General_WinGeneral_Win Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    With the amount of effort and pain this is causing can you not just go out and buy a 2$ dvd?

    General_Win on
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