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Is it possible to install drivers from a bootable OS?

Posted on 2009-07-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I need to install some drivers in a bootable environment.  

I put an imaged drive in one of our new computers at work and windows needs to be "Activated" however I don't have drivers for the NIC installed for this new computer on the image.  Therefore I cannot activate winows online.  

I could do the phone option but it takes a long time and you need to have the serial for your original license which is long gone on our 5 year old gateways.  However, we have a ton of open licenses (so licensing is not an issue).  I've called microsoft and we fixed it before but it took forever.  

Plus, I think knowing how to install a driver from a bootable environment will be really useful.

Any ideas?

JOe K.
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Question by:ClaudeWalker
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Expert Comment

by:SCCMCanuck
ID: 24873766
Hi Claude.

Easiest method is to use nlite to integrate the drivers and recreate it into a burnable and bootable iso image. It will function exactly like a windows install disc:

http://www.nliteos.com/download.html

Let me know how you make out :)
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Author Comment

by:ClaudeWalker
ID: 24873782
But in order for that to work won't I have to re-install windows?
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Expert Comment

by:SCCMCanuck
ID: 24873883
???

I don't understand what your asking. If you have got the hard drive in the machine and you are able to boot into windows why are you not just installing the drivers from a USB key?

I'm not sure why you need to install them from aa bootable environment?
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Author Comment

by:ClaudeWalker
ID: 24873959
Because before windows loads it says that I have to activate it and if I don't activate it, it then restarts.  I'm able to boot up to windows but not load the OS/Explorer and therefore cannot double click any drivers.

If you change (enough) hardware and transfer an old drive to a new computer then windows wants you to re-activate it because it is not associated with the machine.  Its been a long standing problem with our work image and I have just re-installed windows a number of times but now I am trying to avoid it.

If I can get the NIC drivers installed then I can activate windows via the internet.
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Accepted Solution

by:
SCCMCanuck earned 500 total points
ID: 24874303
While i do not know how to install drivers from a bootable environment i would like to point something out. This is an extremely cumbersome and clunky way of doing things.

1. Your inherent problem lies in how you are building your image. You need to be building the driver functionality into the image itself. This can be accomplished using sysprep anad a preconfigured sysprep answerfile. Also sysprep allows you to reset the grace period for activation when building an image so that you won't run into the problem of not being able to boot into Windows to re-activate. The problem you are having is that your image has reached the end of the activation grace period. If you need more information regarding sysprep i will gladly provide it.
2. I would assume that you are building your image off of either an OEM or Retail copy of Windows XP. This is a bad idea if you will be using the image accross multiple hardware platforms regularly. You should convince your organization to enter a VLK license agreement and that way you will not be subject to constant license reactivations.
3.  You should be doing everythign in your power to try and ensure that your hardware platform stay as consistent as possible. If possible you should try and purchase a single model of computer under a lease agreement from a third party retailer. This would ensure that you could use a consistent image throughout your organization.

Sorry i can't be of more help.
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Expert Comment

by:greg ward
ID: 24874372
Buy a cheap nic from ebay which is supported by windows xp base drivers then you can activate.

Deepdraw
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Author Comment

by:ClaudeWalker
ID: 24886827
@BinaryMime:  Thank you so much for your detailed response.  As to avoid any controversy I said we were using an image but really I was just replacing 1 hard drive from one persons computer to a different computer.  I will look into sysprep because generally we do use an image.  However, that image is a consistent image for all of the computers we have/will purchased.  You were correct to assume that it was an OEM copy of XP.  This was again because I was exchanging an old hard-drive copy to a new computer and then would just re-install the drivers (which I am aware is not the best idea but it has worked in a pinch and no one besides myself seems to care or notice).

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Expert Comment

by:SCCMCanuck
ID: 24930440
My pleasure Claude, if you need any information regarding sysprep i have used it quite extensively in my school division for deployment feel free to drop me an e-mail anytime
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