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Can I use Windows PE on a non booting computer to install Win 7/8/10?


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#1 huntsin2

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 03:13 PM

If I have a computer that won't boot can I use Windows PE to allow me to install a version of Windows via a usb device?

 

Could I also backup files in the Windows PE environment?


Edited by huntsin2, 29 January 2016 - 03:14 PM.


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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 03:39 PM

It depends on if it is a hardware or software issue that is preventing the computer from booting. You do not need a WinPE disk to install Windows 7/8/10. You only need the install disk. If you want to install from a USB, you would use an iso file either downloaded or created from the install DVD and a program called Rufus. 

 

If it is a software problem preventing boot then you can use a WinPE bootable disk or a live linux disk to recover your files. Hirens Boot CD can also be used to recover files as it has a minimal XP OS on the disk.

 

For a hardware problem you would need to pull the drive and attach it to another computer either using a USB external enclosure or USB adapter.



#3 RolandJS

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 04:09 PM

Barring certain big-time hard-ware problems, Puppy Linux usb-boot or DVD boot, along with a few usb sticks for copying data folders and files onto them is another good way to go. 


Edited by RolandJS, 30 January 2016 - 07:12 AM.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

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#4 huntsin2

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 05:47 PM

Thanks for the replies. The reason I ask is that I have a laptop that recognizes a dvd but if something were to happen and I wanted to re-install using a usb I would have to do so while logged on to an operating system. Because I tried testing my known good ISO of Win 7 on a bootable usb and I get an error when trying to install because the USB is not recognized after the initial loading of files.

 

It's more so if it happens to someone else that doesn't have a DVD drive like I do.



#5 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 08:23 PM

What is the make and model of the laptop? Take your iso and use Rufus to make the USB flash drive bootable. Run Rufus. Make sure your flash drive is listed in the first box. Select MBR partition scheme. Allow Quick Format. Leave everything as checked. Select iso image in the dropdown box that shows FreeDos. Click the folder icon and browse to the Windows iso. Press Start. Backup data on the flash drive as it will be formatted.

 

If the computer is a Dell tap F12 at boot with the flash drive attached. If a HP tap Esc and then F9. Select your flash drive as the boot device. You can make your USB flash drive as first boot device in BIOS.



#6 huntsin2

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 12:29 PM

Hi JohnC_21,

 

I have an Acer Laptop. I have used Rufus before, but I used a different program to create the bootable usb. So I don't believe that is the issue.

 

I believe the issue is that Windows 7 does not have driver support for USB 3. So once I get to the install screen of Windows and click on install it gives me an error message like "a required cd/dvd drive device driver is missing". Because it is not recognizing that the usb is still inserted. I tried downloading and installing the usb 3.0 drivers from Acer and after trying them and being unsuccessful I read the readme file and it says that the drivers are only to be used on an existing version of Windows. 

 

I also tried the download at this link which is supposed to account for the lack of usb 3.0 support. But it did not work for me.

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/25476/Windows-7-USB-3-0-Creator-Utility

 

I checked the box that my laptop came in and there are no driver cd's or dvd's.

 

Anyways, the reason I'm posting is just in case I need to install a fresh version of Windows on a non booting computer that doesn't have a cd/dvd drive; I'm wondering if I could boot to Windows PE using a USB and then install a fresh version of Windows?



#7 JohnC_21

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 09:57 AM

Sorry, I missed your post.

 

You are correct, Windows 7 does not have support for USB 3.0 but you should have a USB 2.0 port on the computer. USB 3.0 ports are usually blue and USB 2.0 ports black. Make sure your USB flash drive is attached to a black USB 2.0 port before booting.

 

See this kb from Microsoft. The error could be to bad media.

 

Also see this thread. 


Edited by JohnC_21, 31 January 2016 - 09:58 AM.


#8 huntsin2

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 01:29 PM

Hi JohnC_21,

 

Thanks for the information on the color of the USB ports I wasn't aware of that. After checking my laptop it has two blue ports. I have tried taking it out and putting it in the other port like the second thread suggests but to no avail; which would make sense if they are both USB 3.0.

 

I also have used the iso file to run a Virtual Machine with Windows 7 so I know it works.

 

But you answered my original question, so now I'm just going to go about the process of creating a USB with Windows PE on it.

 

Thanks.


Edited by huntsin2, 01 February 2016 - 01:29 PM.


#9 JohnC_21

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 01:33 PM

Good Luck. Rufus with a Windows 7 iso should work fine. If this computer originally came with Windows 8 installed you will need to disable SecureBoot and possibly QuickBoot/FastBoot if it is available in UEFI.



#10 huntsin2

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 03:09 PM

Thanks JohnC_21. Are you aware of any other boot media like Hiren's Boot CD that might be more up to date as far as the utilities offered on the disk?

 

Do you know anything about ultimate boot cd, like how current it is?



#11 JohnC_21

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 04:16 PM

Hirens is a good diagnostic disk. The utilities may be old but they still do the job. 

 

A couple of others would be UBCD which is current and SystemRescueCD. SystemRescueCD has a bigger learning curve.

 

If you want to put multiple Diagnostic iso's on a USB look at Yumi. I am not sure how it would handle a UEFI computer though. Another multiboot utility is Sardu. I do not have experience with it but it is supposed to support UEFI.



#12 huntsin2

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 06:25 PM

Thank you again for your replies.






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