Install Challenge


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I am trying to install Windows 7 on an older laptop, which does meet the minimum requirements. The problem is that the laptop cannot boot from DVD. I have tried a few things thus far, like:

1. Connected an external DVD drive via USB only to find that the laptop is not able to boot from USB either.
2. Used an IDE to USB cable to connect the laptop HD to another PC and install that way. However, the W7 installation tells you that it doesn't support installing to USB drives and the install crashes.
3. Set up a FOG server on my Ubuntu server and tried to PXE boot the laptop and push the image that way, however, the FOG server would not accept W7 as a valid disk image.

I would love to run this beta through the gauntlet by testing it at home, however, this is the only spare laptop I have at the moment. If anyone has any ideas, I would love to try them.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Ian

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It's very strange that it can't boot from USB (I guess it doesn't have an internal drive?). Have you taken a look through all of the BIOS options to see if there's any other way to get it working? I've not heard of something not able to do this for years.

Do you need to be able to dual boot, or is this the only OS on the laptop? If you have an old install of Vista/XP on there you could try doing a fresh install of W7 through that (over the top, within Windows).

Or, you could use VirtualBox in your old OS to run W7.

I've not tried it, but can you partition the drive in 2 using the IDE>USB cable on another CD and then copy the windows installation files (inc boot info) over to one of the partitions? Then, boot from that one when it's back in your laptop (you'll need to get the bootsector working though).
 
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It's very strange that it can't boot from USB (I guess it doesn't have an internal drive?). Have you taken a look through all of the BIOS options to see if there's any other way to get it working? I've not heard of something not able to do this for years.

Do you need to be able to dual boot, or is this the only OS on the laptop? If you have an old install of Vista/XP on there you could try doing a fresh install of W7 through that (over the top, within Windows).

Or, you could use VirtualBox in your old OS to run W7.

I've not tried it, but can you partition the drive in 2 using the IDE>USB cable on another CD and then copy the windows installation files (inc boot info) over to one of the partitions? Then, boot from that one when it's back in your laptop (you'll need to get the bootsector working though).
The laptop currently runs Fedora 10 as I was testing that when it first came out. I'm also surprised it wasn't able to boot from my USB drive, and nothing in the BIOS let me to believe I could turn this functionality on.

However, the partitioning the drive idea is brilliant. I could shrink the F10 partition and copy the DVD contents to a new partition. All I would need to do would be to edit the grub menu to let me boot to the second partition and the install should take over from there.

I'll try that tonight and let you know how it goes. Appreciate the help.
 
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A laptop with a DVD drive and it can't boot from it? Very strange!
What make of laptop is it?

Are you sure that you have tried all the options in BIOS?
 
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A laptop with a DVD drive and it can't boot from it? Very strange!
What make of laptop is it?

Are you sure that you have tried all the options in BIOS?
Yeah, it's bizarre. When I installed Fedora I had to use the LiveCD install because it wouldn't boot that DVD either. It is a DVD-ROM drive, not a DVD-RAM or DVD-R/RW, and I read somewhere that a read-only DVD drive cannot boot DVDs. Not sure how much credibility there is to that, though...
 

Ian

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Yeah, it's bizarre. When I installed Fedora I had to use the LiveCD install because it wouldn't boot that DVD either. It is a DVD-ROM drive, not a DVD-RAM or DVD-R/RW, and I read somewhere that a read-only DVD drive cannot boot DVDs. Not sure how much credibility there is to that, though...
I've booted from a DVD-ROM drive plenty of times, so it might be worth going through the BIOS and checking the boot order :). I think there will be a way to get it working, it will just need a bit of tinkering with.

What model is the laptop, and I'll see if I can find any info on it?
 
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Solution

I got it working last night. I'll explain how I did it so it may help someone else out.

First I booted the laptop from a gParted CD (still odd to me that it will boot CDs but not DVDs), and wiped out every existing partition on the drive. I connected it to another PC running windows and use Fixmbr.exe to wipe GRUB from the drive. Then I created a 10gb FAT32 partition, and a second NTFS partition with the rest of the drive. I mounted the W7 DVD, and copied the contents to the FAT32 partition. When I booted from that partition the bootloader ran and I was able to install W7 to the blank NTFS partition. After that I wiped out the FAT32 partition and expanded the NTFS one to the whole drive.

The only issue I have now is that after playing with it for an hour or so, I got the well-known NTDLR missing message upon bootup. That should be a pretty easy fix ... if I remeber correctly I just need to repair the MFT and that should take care of it.

Thanks everyone for their assistance and suggestions, and hopefully anyone else with this issue will be able to get up and running a little faster now. :)
 

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