In this tutorial we will look at how to go about creating a universal install disk for Windows 7. The process itself is actually very simple to do and will be a very handy thing to have for people who regularly install various versions of Windows. Here is a list of things that you will need to create the disk:
- A Windows 7 install disk (find the download links at the bottom of the article)
- PowerISO (full registered version as the free version won’t edit ISO’s larger than 300MB)
- ImgBurn (or similar) – This version is clean and doesn’t contain Open Candy.
First we will need to get hold of a Windows 7 ISO, which is available for free and legally from Digital River who are Microsoft’s partner for online distribution. Please note that I will be using the Windows 7 Ultimate x64 version for the article, as most of the systems that I install are 64bit. You can find both the 32bit and 64bit versions below:
- Windows 7 Ultimate x64 English (64-bit version 3.1GB SP1 Included)
- Windows 7 Ultimate x86 English (32-bit version 2.4GB SP1 Included)
Once you have downloaded your ISO of choice open up PowerISO and go File>Open and locate the Windows ISO that you have just downloaded and hit OK. You should now see the contents of the ISO:
Now double-click the Sources folder to view its contents:
Scroll down until you see the file named ei.cfg This is the file that tells the disk which version of Windows to install, so deleting this tiny file will allow you to have the choice of installing any Windows 7 OS.
Right click on that file and select Delete. You will be asked to confirm the deletion, so just hit Yes.
Now in PowerISO hit the Save icon (or file>Save) to save the Windows 7 ISO as you originally downloaded only without the ei.cfg file included. You will be asked if you wish to overwrite the disk, so hit Yes.
Now that you have made the necessary edit to the Windows ISO you will need to burn it to DVD, or if you wish to install Windows via USB you can download Rufus. Here is a how-to if a USB boot is what you are after. For this tutorial I will be using ImgBurn as it is the best program out there and it’s free.
Open up ImgBurn and choose Write image file to disk
At the top of the next window you will be asked to choose the source file. Simply select the little yellow folder and find the Windows 7 ISO and hit Open. Make sure that you have a blank DVD inserted and check the Verify button. Also, when burning bootable disks it is advisable to burn them nice and slow, so choose x4 write speed. Now hit the burn button
Now when you come to use the disk, it will perform exactly the same as any other Windows 7 install disk except that you will now have multiple options as to the type of Windows OS you want
If you would like to download a legal and untouched ISO version of Windows 7, then please follow this guide. Note that you will still need a valid licence to activate Windows 7.
Hope that helps.