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Install Windows 7 without a DVD Drive OR a Flash Drive

Posted on 2010-11-10
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Looking for a method to install Windows 7 from a set of HP Recovery Discs, to a bare hard drive inside a netbook, without using a Flash Drive. 1st disc alone is 7.44gb, and I dont have any thumb drives handy higher than 4gb. Hadnt made it to the second one yet.....

Was going to consider an install to a .vhd, and then clone it once the file copy was done, before the actual driver installs etc....

Any known methods to copy the contents of the recovery discs to the bare drive, and launch the install from say a WinPE environment?

Need more info, please ask....

Thanks..
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Question by:johnb6767
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by:johnb6767
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K, installing to a VHD didnt work, installation detected it as a NON HP.... Darn you HP.....
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FYI, ill get a USB DVD Drive if needed, but am trying to do this tonight.....
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Anyone ever tried the USB Methods using multiple disc images? Guessing the first one is the main install....

Even building a smaller image off of the recovery disc to fit on a 4gb drive might be nice......
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by:Wolfhere
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Here ya go, right from technet (Microsoft) - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd535816.aspx
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While the technet process works fine for a Windows 7 DVD, it may or may not work with the HP Recovery disks -- and in any event isn't very useful for you tonight, since the size of the DVD exceeds the capacity of your largest USB key.

The best alternative -- as you already know (but again doesn't help for a "right now" solution) -- is to simply get an external USB DVD drive ... I don't use mine often, but when I need it it's a lifesaver !!

As for something that may work tonight ... since you have a WinPE USB flash drive (at least I assume so since you mentioned using a WinPE environment), I'd try the following:

(a) Note the size of the complete collection of recovery disks.
(b) Create a partition on the Netbook (using WinPE or any good partition manager you can boot to) that leaves enough unallocated space for the partition size noted in (a) plus a few GB of work area (perhaps an extra 4GB).
(c) Create a 2nd partition with the rest of the space -- then delete the first partition (its purpose was simply to leave as much unallocated space as possible at the beginning of the drive for the actual recovery).
(d) Now copy all of the files from the Recovery disks to the 2nd partition by copying a group-at-a-time to a USB flash drive; then (using the WinPE environment) copying them from the flash drive to that partition. Repeat until all are copied.
(e) Now try to run the recovery executable (you'll have to look to see what it's called ... could be Setup.exe, Restore.exe, Install.exe, etc.) from the PE environment. It may or may not work -- if it runs, all's well; if not, you'll likely need to make the Netbook drive bootable -- you can probably just create a bootable initial partition with Format /s from a WinPE DOS prompt ... and then try to run it from within that environment.

If that doesn't work, there are other things to try -- but I'd be inclined to just wait until tomorrow and use a USB DVD drive :-)
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by:johnb6767
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Yea, I started off with a similar article same process, then realized the size of the discs I was dealing with...... USB Drive might be the best thing to wait for....

Id have to get a partition manager, and transfer the BartPE to a thumb drive, just seems too much like work....  :)

I do like the idea. I have my own netbook I might try this with, down the road. Least with mine, I have technet licenses to deal with for a standard .iso file, instead of the recovery stuff....

I was going to start playing with WDS for that one, but this is interesting enuff to try as well...

Thanks!!
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by:garycase
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Since you don't have BartPE already on a thumb drive ... and can afford to wait until tomorrow and just use an external DVD drive, then that's clearly the best option here.

It'd be interesting to know if the Recovery Discs will work if booted from a thumb drive;  but clearly you'd need a spare 8GB thumb drive to determine that.
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by:johnb6767
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What other ideas did you have? Curious to pick your brain......  :-)

Sitting here watching Ghost hit 124% completion on a 49gb image dump, thinking I might be up a while..... Not sure why thats happening..... Nother question though...
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by:johnb6767
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Although I am not going to test this, and will just get a USB DVD Drive, I think it holds enough merit to have included in the db.....
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Thanks as always Gary, you always have good information....
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by:garycase
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My brain's about "picked out" for the night :-)      Wife wants me to watch a movie with her ... so I'll be offline for a few hours.

The next thing I was going to suggest was to set up a PXE boot IF the netbook supports a network boot AND if you happen to have a TFTP server already set up.    It's been ~ 3 years since I did this, so I'm VERY rusty on how to set it up ... I "played" with it and set up an automated network install of XP a few years ago, but no longer have the system set up to do it.     If you happen to have a TFTP server, and set the first recovery disk as the initial boot image, I'd expect it will work very nicely.     But if not, then waiting for a USB DVD is still the best choice :-)       Here's a basic tutorial on setting up a TFTP server, if you want to "play" a bit with the concept:  http://www.devshed.com/c/a/Administration/Network-Booting-via-PXE-the-Basics/

I'll check back in a couple hours ...
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