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Installing Windows 7 on Lenovo X220 Laptop

Posted on 2013-11-17
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I'm trying to re-install a clean OEM version of Windows 7 onto my Lenovo X220 laptop. My existing installation with all of the Lenovo bloatware was giving me some trouble (in particular, the computer kept waking up out of standby and draining the battery, the fingerprint reader was intermittent, etc.) so I wanted to just wipe it and start fresh.

This is normally a pretty smooth process... but I'm having some aggravating issues getting it working this time around.

When I boot from my good Win7 Home Premium OEM SP1 64-bit installation disc, I get the message "A required CD/DVD device driver is missing".

Error
Basically, it's asking for the AHCI drivers. Okay no problem, I downloaded them and put it on a USB stick

... And it detected it, as "Intel Mobile Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller" which gave me some hope.

AHCI detected
... but after about 30 seconds of thinking, it comes back with the error "No new devices could be found. Make sure the driver files are correct and located on the driver installation media".

Still doesn't work
I tried downloading the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver Windows 7 (64-bit), Vista (64-bit), XP (64-bit) - ThinkPad drivers from here and putting that on the USB key:

http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/research/hints-or-tips/detail.page?&LegacyDocID=MIGR-77280

And then I also tried a multitude of "Intel Rapid Storage Technology" drivers from Intel's website. They all appeared to have the same INF files inside.

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/SearchResult.aspx?lang=eng&keyword=%22Intel+Rapid+Storage+Technology+(Intel+RST)%22&OSVersion=Windows+7+(64-bit)*

I tried using a USB 3.0 stick, and also a native USB 2.0 stick
I tried multiple different Windows 7 installation discs that have worked in the past - Win 7 HP OEM 64-bit, Win7 Pro OEM 64-bit, even a Win 7 Pro 64-bit Volume License ISO
I reset the bios to factory defaults. I also tried putting it in "Compatibility" mode
I tried with a regular hitachi SATA hard disk, and also with a Kingston HyperX Solid State Drive

I'm out of ideas... what do I do now?
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Question by:Frosty555
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by:Frosty555
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UPDATE - it appears that my Windows 8 64-bit installation media DOES recognize the hard disk without any issue and without requiring me to use the USB stick to load any special drivers.

So at least I know that the hardware is working.

...but I really don't want Windows 8 on this laptop.
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by:aadih
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Contrary to what you hear, Windows 8 is good.  Use classic shell to boot up to desktop directly and use Windows 7 style menus. Windows 8 starts and shutdowns faster; it's more secure and uses a bit-less RAM.

< www.classicshell.net >

Believe you me, you'll not regret it (after using it only for a week or two) and will not miss Windows 7.

(Soon or later, one is forced to move forward. Why not now? It's as good a time as it ever will be.)
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by:JeanPoL
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Just turn off a setting on BIOS , don't remember exactly its name I think it was to make AHCI to IDE then it will work.
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rindi earned 500 total points
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The error you get I think is for the DVD drive's controller, and not the HD drive's controller (although it will be likely that you will also need those drivers for the installation), and it has problems with the installation source. You say something you tries USB 3 and USB 2, was that just for the drivers or was that from which you started the installation?

If you haven't yet tried that, I suggest starting the installation from a USB stick, and not from the installation DVD. There are several ways and also tools to make installation USB sticks, a good tutorial for which you don't need any additional tools is shown in the Link below:

http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows-7vista-from-usb-drive-detailed-100-working-guide/
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by:Frosty555
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Well I'll be darned.... that was it!

I did a usb installation (and also used RT 7 Lite to slipstream the drivers in), and it recognized the disks and installed without a hitch.

Was it the dvd drive controller like you said, or was it the slipstreaming of the drivers... I don't know, but either way it doesn't matter. I'm converted! USB installs from now on for me!
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by:rindi
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I also use rt7lite to customize my installation media, a really good tool. I've seen the issue you had, and it always was a problem of the DVD drive, maybe it has to do with how yours is attached to the PC. I guess it is an external USB drive, and those can sometimes give issues, but not always. I've successfully installed windows 7 from USB DVD's but not on all PC's.
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