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How to install Windows 7 from a USB 3.0 port

How to install Windows 7 from a USB 3.0 port
Installing Windows 7 through a USB 3.0 port has caused people problems for too long! Our trusty engineer Ben has been working hard to create a fix for this issue which Microsoft seem to ignore.

How to install Windows 7 from a USB 3.0 port

Even with Windows 8 just around the corner we feel many users will be sticking with their solid editions of Windows 7 for the near future.

A laptop recently came in for repair where we needed to install Windows 7 through a USB port, unfortunately for us this laptop only had USB 3.0 ports and were not being detected by the Windows 7 installation resulting in the following error.

USB 3 Error

After hours of research I found that I was not alone and could not find a single reliable fix, so I decided I'd better make my own! 

These instructions are only to be followed if you are fairly competent using computers. If not you should seek assistance. It is presumed that you will be using Windows 7 throughout.

You will need the following:


1.       Install your free copy of WinRAR

2.       Extract your copy of WAIK to a folder of your choice and install. This may take a while.

3.       Extract the contents of to C:\USB3Fix\

4.       Extract the contents of your Window 7 image to C:\USB3Fix\Windows7\

5.       From C:\USB3Fix\Windows7\sources\ cut and paste the boot.wim file into C:\USB3Fix\

Your folder contents should now look like this:

Folder contents

6.       Depending on whether you are using 32bit or 64bit run the appropriate USBDrivers batch file. This will inject all the USB 3.0 drivers into your boot.wim. This will take a while and the command prompt may look like it has stopped responding - it hasn't! When the process is complete the command prompt will close itself.

7.       Cut and paste your boot.wim back into C:\USB3Fix\Windows7\sources\

8.       Extract Folder2Iso or IsoCreator (in this instance I used Folder21so) and run the exe. Select C:\USB3Fix\Windows7 in the top box and save the .iso where you wish in the second box. Leave the Charset as default. Once the iso is built it should be ready to use with your USB device.

All being well you should now have a fully working Windows 7 image compatable with Windows 7 installation. For any questions and IT Support please call us on 0114 299 4050.

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  1. David

    Thanks a lot, this worked for me, I also wanted to add that there are number of other USB 3 drivers from other vendors that can be added in case the above three lists don't cover them. I also recommend to add the drivers to install.wim in case you want the windows installation also to have USB 3 drivers installed with the particular flavor.


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  2. Kalp

    What was the point of downloading the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) then?

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  3. tk

    An operating system wasn't found.... I'm broken ;(

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  4. Shazbot

    @Kalp: I believe WAIK is needed to provide the dism tool the batch files use.

    I tried this technique with a new Skylake laptop but no cigar. From what I understand this chipset is very win7-unfriendly. Also, any win7 I manage to install will only receive non-critical updates until mid-2017 apparently, so might look into setting up a Hacbook or linux flavour on it. I currently feel like the pre-installed win10 is a cancer after suffering significant data loss when the OS decided to restart the machine during installation by a game installer of a visual c++ redist!

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  5. Rinane

    Shazbot I realize you probably won't read this as it has been a while since you commented. But for others in that position:

    I have succesfully installed Windows 7 with USB3 on a Skylake

    There are a few added steps but if you have come this far in your search you can probably do these extra steps.

    Before you run the batch file. Go to the website of the manufacture of your motherboard.
    Find your motherboard on the site and download the USB3 drivers for Windows 7 (32/64 bit depending on what you are installing)

    It is often a zip file, extract that, inside you will find a setup and some folders. Now the hard part, go through the folders manually, inside there will be a folder containing the driver files. For usb this folder can usually be identified by the fact that it has two .inf files.
    One has hub in it's name and the other xhc. This varies from vendor to vendor
    Intel as an example called iusb3hub.inf and iusb3xhc.inf<

    If there is multiple folders containing these files grab the ones fitting your system x64 for 64 bit and x86 for 32bit

    Put the content (the inf files and all the others in the folder) of this folder into a new folder called Custom in the USB3fix folder.

    Right click the batch file and select edit
    Add the following line

    dism /image:.\mount /add-driver /driver:.\custom

    in a seperate line before the line:
    dism /unmount-wim /mountdir:.\mount /commit

    You can now run the batch file and follow the rest of the guide.

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  6. adi

    i dont understand,
    where can i get the

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  7. Sarah Ward

    Doesn't work.

    Error 2: cannot find the file specified.

    Error 2: Unable to access the image.

    It would have helped if you had explained the batch file (.cmd) and how to adjust it to fix these path errors.

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  8. Sarah Ward

    I found a working method here:


    This adds drivers to a despoke ISO but it works equally for a Windows BOOT.WIM file.

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  9. Shazbot

    Rinane, others: I've just managed to install win7 (finally!!!) by using a util scored from my laptop manufacturer's site. This util copied the contents of a win7 DVD to a USB stick, and presumably injected the appropriate USB3.0 support along the way. Alas, the very same site fails to offer any win7 drivers for my recently-released laptop, so I suspect the fun really begins now - can I even get wireless networking going I wonder? Fingers crossed...

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  10. Matt

    Awesome. I can't believe I haven't had to do this until now. But you saved my bacon. Thanks.

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  11. Andreas

    when i begin to open the bach file, the cmd pops up for half a second, then nothing happens... the boot.wim file has still the same size.. what i have done wrong? Or is the process that fast?

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  12. Tolda

    I hit the same issue. Try to run the script from already launched console (cmd) not double-clicking the script file a you will see what happens. I had not the dism from WAIK in the PATH, so Windows cannot find it.

    By the way, I try to install Windows 7 from DVD and have only USB 3.0 ports for keyboard and mouse. By altering the iso as mentioned above, I have enabled the keyboard and mouse at the first stage of installation; however, in the second stage (when I need to input user name, etc.), neither keyboard nor mouse work anymore. Do anyone know some solution? I have altered both and

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  13. brork

    thanks a lot for this information, it worked for me but after many tries, i think the most important step is put the right drivers (the especific drivers for your pc or laptop) in the folder custom and try until it works, also try to put just the drivers that you need if it is not working

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  14. Saikez

    Just to note, I had to run Command Prompt with Admin privileges, then navigate to the folder and run the batch file from there before it actually worked.

    cd C:\USB3Fix

    I had to add `pause` to the cmd file before I realized it wasn't working from just running the file on it's own.

    I'm running Windows 10 just to clarify.

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  15. jp

    I have written a guide for doing exactly this. I just installed Windows 7 on a z170 motherboard with Skylake, with only USB 3.0 ports.

    How to Install Windows 7 on a New Laptop with a Blank Harddrive (September 29, 2016)

    [The least complicated guide for installing Windows 7 on a new laptop that has only USB 3.0 ports. This guide can be equally applied to desktops as well, however there are

    other workarounds that may be less time-consuming for desktops: installing a CD-rom drive, swapping harddrives with another computer, etc]

    Windows 7 is great. No Metro suite, and in real world settings all high end games run at just about the same speed on Win7 as on Win8 and Win10 (despite dubious benchmarking

    to the contrary). Win7 even achieves higher fps on some of the latest games, though other games do run just a bit slower.

    One problem with a fresh Windows 7 install is that the Windows 7 boot loader lacks a number of modern drivers, such as USB 3.0, as well many others. Therefore, many people get

    stuck in Windows 7 install screen or even BIOS while trying to instal Windows 7 on a computer that only has USB 3.0 ports.

    Microsoft does not and will not add modern hardware compatibility to Windows 7. And since Microsoft also tightly regulates the copyright on all Windows products, you will have

    to edit the bootloader yourself, using Command Prompt, aka CMD. The steps are very easy, but it took me a lot of digging to make this finally work.

    This process is safest with 2 computers, but I have made the instructions as clear and as safe as possible so that if you desperately wish to risk installing an OS with only

    one computer, it (probably) won't be the end of the world. In case you have only one computer, you will NEED 2 USB drives, each with 4gbs minimum capacity: One loaded with

    Windows and one with UBUNTU. Even if you have 2 computers, using 2 USB drives will greatly expediate the process. The instructions are written as if you have 2 USB drives, but

    you may, if you must, use just one.

    Stage A: Create an UBUNTU bootable USB drive. You will need this!

    1) Download the latest stable Ubuntu ISO from the official website

    2) Download RUFUS

    3) Insert USB drive into computer.

    4) Open RUFUS and make bootable drive using the Windows 7 ISO. This will format the USB drive, so save whatever you want beforeahand.

    5) This is now "UBUNTU BOOT USB DRIVE"

    6) Set aside UBUNTU BOOT USB DRIVE for now.


    Stage B: Loading a clean, unaltered copy of Windows 7 onto a USB

    1) Download a Windows 7 ISO. You will need a Windows 7 product key as well, which sell for ~$30-40 at the moment.

    2) Download RUFUS

    3) Insert USB drive into computer.

    4) Open RUFUS and make bootable drive using the Windows 7 ISO. This will format the USB drive, so save whatever you want beforeahand.

    5) This is now "WINDOWS 7 BOOT USB DRIVE"

    6) Set aside WINDOWS 7 BOOT USB DRIVE for now.


    Stage C: Find USB 3.0 Drivers

    1) Download USB 3.0 Drivers here:


    1.2) If those links have died, they are easily found via search engine.

    1.3) If the folder containing the drivers you have downloaded is compressed, de-compress/unzip it.


    Stage D: The trickiest part: Using Command Prompt/CMD to insert USB 3.0 Drivers into WINDOWS 7 USB BOOT DRIVE

    1) Retrieve USB drive and plug it into computer.
    1) Now that you have the USB 3.0 Drivers, follow these instructions exactly:

    NOTE: Place your folders in C:\ as per the video. It appears he is manipulating the files and folders on the desktop, but these files and folders are actually located on C:.

    Name you folders the same as in the video. This steps avoid complications and confusion!

    2) After completing these steps, you should have a larger XX file on the WINDOWS 7 USB BOOT DRIVE which now contains the USB 3.0 Drivers. This will allow you to install

    Windows 7 in the Windows boot loader.


    Stage D: Install Windows 7

    The following section assumes your harddrive is blank/formatted.

    1) Turn OFF the computer on which you wish to install Windows 7.

    2) Insert WINDOWS BOOT USB DRIVE, start your computer and load into BIOS.

    3) In BIOS, find the Boot Priority list, and select your WINDOWS BOOT USB DRIVE as #1.

    4) Save settings, and Exit and Restart.

    5) The computer should now load into Windows 7 boot loader, and be able to install Windows 7 properly, since it can now detect the USB Drive in the USB Port.

    6) Windows 7 is installed.

    7) Reboot into BIOS (NOTE: spam the F2 key while restarting the computer, if F2 fails, try F10, DEL, F3, F1, F7, F11, F8--- in this order. Motherboard manufacturers have not

    agreed upon which key to use!!!!)

    8) Set priority to the hard drive partition with Windows 7 on it. :-)

    ------End of Part One------

    ------Part TWo: Nothing works------

    The USB 3.0 ports still don't work? That's what happened to me too! The previous process loaded the USB 3.0 drivers into the Windows 7 boot and installer. HOWEVER, they were

    not installed into your drivers folders in your hard drive. The easiest work-around I have found for this is to boot into UBUNTU and drag and drop the appropriate drivers from

    the USB drive into C:\ (which you can acccess from UBUNTU).

    Since UBUNTU is extremely lightweight and natively supports almost all new hardware, you can re-prioritize BIOS to boot to a USB drive with your UBUNTU BOOT USB DRIVER. Boot

    into UBUNTU ("Try out Ubuntu, don't install"), and download all the drivers you need from Firefox (preloaded on the UBUNTU desktop). Simply download all the drivers you need,

    and drag and drop them into the Windows C:\ folder, which should be available via the "Files" icon on the menu bar. After you download ALL the missing drivers (ethernet,

    bluetooth, camera, sometimes even keyboard and touchpad, and even power supply), just drop them in C:\ somewhere and shut down.

    Reboot in BIOS, reprioritize to boot into Windows 7, find all driver files, install and enjoy.

    ------Part Three: Windows Updater-----

    Since this week, Windows Updater is bugged. This is now how to fix it:


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