Windows 7 Installation with Notes on UEFI and SecureBoot


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It is recommended to use the semi-official Windows 7 “SP2” Media Refresh 2016 Installation Media with USB 3.0 support opposed to official outdated Windows 7 SP1 Media Refresh 2011 Installation Media. Using updated installation media will reduce the hassles of Windows 7 Installation Failure due to lack of native driver support for systems with a UEFI BIOS and greatly reduce the installation time due to the inefficiencies of Windows Update.

If you have not backed up your data and do not have the installers for any software of system drivers i.e. are not ready for clean installation take your time and see the steps to prepare in A Clean Install of Windows 7.

A complimentary tutorial video is available demonstrating installation using the GPT partition scheme for a Dell UEFI BIOS with Dell Windows 7 64 Bit SP2 Professional using Dell OEM System Locked Preinstallation.

Part 1: Determining whether your System Supports UEFI and SecureBoot

The UEFI BIOS and GPT partition scheme should be used where possible with Windows 7 64 Bit. You may or may not have these technologies depending on the age of your system. The easiest way to determine the date of your system’s model is via the Dell FTP Website:

http://downloads.dell.com/published/Pages/index.html

Look at the date of the earliest BIOS revision (usually A00 but in some cases A00 may be in-house only and not released to the public). Take for example the OptiPlex 760 which was released in Late 2008. As hardware with a UEFI BIOS was made mainstream in about Late 2011, this system doesn’t have a UEFI BIOS.

bios

Variant A: Systems Newer than 2012

These systems will have the newer security technologies associated with a UEFI BIOS. In order for a successful install the installation media and UEFI BIOS settings need to be altered accordingly.

Windows 7 64 Bit UEFI BIOS optimal settings (see UEFI/SecureBoot Enable/Disable):

  • Enable Legacy Roms
  • Enable UEFI
  • Disable SecureBoot – Windows 7 64 Bit doesn’t support SecureBoot

Windows 7 64 Bit Bootable USB settings (see Converting your Windows 7 Reinstallation DVD into a Bootable USB 3.0 Flash Drive):

  • GPT partition scheme (for UEFI BIOS) using Rufus
  • NTFS Formatted using Rufus
  • USB 3.0 Drivers Added using Intel Windows 7 USB 3.0 Creator Utility

Windows 7 32 Bit UEFI BIOS optimal settings (see UEFI/SecureBoot Enable/Disable):

  • Enable Legacy Roms
  • Disable UEFI – Windows 7 32 Bit doesn’t support SecureBoot
  • Disable SecureBoot – Windows 7 32 Bit doesn’t support SecureBoot

Windows 7 32 Bit Bootable USB settings (see Converting your Windows 7 Reinstallation DVD into a Bootable USB 3.0 Flash Drive):

  • MBR partition scheme (for Legacy BIOS or UEFI) using Rufus
  • NTFS Formatted using Rufus
  • USB 3.0 Drivers Added using Intel Windows 7 USB 3.0 Creator Utility

Variant B: Systems Older than 2012

For a legacy system BIOS that is a BIOS older than 2012 you will not have a UEFI compliant BIOS. Therefore UEFI and SecureBoot won’t be enabled.

Windows 7 32/64 Bit Bootable USB settings (see Converting your Windows 7 Reinstallation DVD into a Bootable USB Flash Drive):

  • MBR partition scheme (for Legacy BIOS or UEFI) using Rufus
  • NTFS Formatted using Rufus

Part 2: Booting from a Bootable USB/DVD

Power down your computer. Hold F12 while powering up your computer (at the Dell BIOS screen).

Dell BIOS Screen

Variant A: UEFI BOOT

If your system is newer than 2012 its recommended to use a UEFI Boot and a GPT partition scheme; this is faster and more reliable. Windows 7 does not support SecureBoot however and this should be disabled. The boot manager should mention a UEFI Boot similar to below.

Note UEFI may not work with a DVD and you should Install from a USB.

Press the ↓ arrow and select your Windows 7 Bootable USB Flash Drive and press [Enter]

vlcsnap-2015-02-26-02h57m24s55

Variant B: Legacy Boot

For systems older than 2012 you will have to just use the legacy boot with the MBR partition scheme which will be listed by default. There will be no mention of Legacy or UEFI Boot but the boot option will be legacy.

If you wish to install Windows 7 32 Bit (unrecommended) on a 2012 or later system you will need to disable SecureBoot and enable legacy boot options.

Press the ↓ arrow and select your Windows 7 Bootable USB Flash Drive or DVD and press [Enter]

vlcsnap-2015-02-26-02h53m10s76

Select boot from CD/DVD or from USB respectively.

Press any key when prompted such as “h” when it says Press any Key to boot from CD/DVD.

Part 3: Early Installation

You will get a black screen that says “Windows is Starting Files” then one that says “Windows is Loading Files.” These should disappear pretty quickly. Next one that says Starting Windows.

starting windows - windows 7

You will then be prompted for your language, time and currency format and keyboard settings. If you use an English .iso it’ll be set by default to US English:

1

Mine are all set to the united Kingdom (proper English) as shown below, amend for your own preferences.

2

Select Install Now.

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3

Read the license, check to select and then select Next.

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Next select Custom (Advanced).

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Note select Custom (advanced) even/especially if you are “upgrading” from Vista to 7. There are always some bugs when selecting “Upgrade” on this screen and this seriously hinders your systems performance.

Part 4: Loading SATA Drivers and Deleting Partitions

For newer systems you will likely need to load SATA drivers. Windows 8.1 should have the inbuilt SATA drivers for old installation media. You’ll need to then decide how you’re going to partition the drive. I recommend clean installation but you may preserve your files with a Windows.old folder.

Loading SATA Drivers

If no drives are listed on the “Where do you want to install Windows?” screen then you must select Load Driver and select the SATA drivers from a USB stick. The SATA drivers essentially allow Windows to recognise the hard drive controller on the motherboard and thus allow Windows to view the drive letting you proceed with the install.

win7-4

See Downloading, Preparing an Loading SATA Drivers if you haven’t prepared the SATA USB stick in advance. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 with Media Refresh has many SATA drivers inbuilt particularly for older systems and hence many systems don’t need SATA drivers loaded during installation.

Ensure that “Hide drivers that are not compatible with hardware on this computer is ticked” (it should be set like this by default). Select all the drivers listed and then click next. It will take you back to the “Where do you want to install Windows Screen?” this time showing the hard drive.

You can then select “Drive Options” which will allow you to delete or format partitions if any are present aswell as create new ones if there is unallocated space on the hard disc.

win7-5

Win7-6

Variant A: Clean Installation Recommended

If performing a clean install on a drive that had Windows XP/Vista/7 or 8.1 factory installed you will encounter several factory installed partitions.

I recommend selecting and deleting all these partitions as they are a waste of hard drive space and non-functional after manual Windows installation. This will also need to be done if you wish to install Dell Backup and Recovery at the end of your clean install as it may not work if you leave old partitions behind.

Note 1: There may also be a small diagnostics partition on older systems for the F12 preboot diagnostics which can be deleted. These diagnostics can be launched from a bootable USB/CD. If you ever need to launch these diagnostics you can follow my instructions in F12 preboot diagnostics

Note 2: After all of these are deleted you can select new to create a new partition on the hard drive and select next for installing Windows. When you install Windows 7 it will make a small system reserved partition of 100 MB, don’t worry about this as it is normal operation.

Note 3: If you have securely wiped your systems HDD with DBAN or replaced the hard drive/solid state drive (recommended) you can directly select new to create a new partition on the hard drive and select next for installing Windows.

Variant B: Preserving Files in a Windows.old Folder

Note if you have not backed up your files (unrecommended) and want to later restore them don’t opt to delete or format the drive, just select the largest partition and select next.

All the folders/files from the former Windows installation will be relocated to a Windows.old folder. The desired files can be copied from Windows.old to their desired location after Windows installation.

Variant C: Dell Systems with Media Direct

If you are installing on a Media Direct system select the largest partition and select next, do not delete partitions as the Media Direct disc has set them up.

Part 5: Middle of Installation

You will then a screen telling you the progress of the install.

win7install

If after the start you get an error message saying “Partition Table not Found” this is because your boot sequence is incorrect.

The computer has used the Legacy boot which can only recognise the MBR partition scheme instead of the UEFI boot which can recognise the GPT partition scheme.

You need to amend the settings in the BIOS setup so the system boots to UEFI only.

Type in your “username”, by default the PC name will be “username-PC” but you can change this as desired.

Win7-7

Next type in your password, retype it and leave yourself a hint.

Alternatively just select next (to have no password – not recommended but optional). Personally for convenience I tend to leave the password blank and add one after the installation of Windows 7, drivers and updates as you will be prompted to restart your computer several times.

Win7-8

Part 6: The Product Key

This is a part which has led to much user confusion, mainly to difficulties made by enforcing OEM Media Reduction and currently having a terrible Digital Deployment. Your key should automatically be input if you have an OEM license or you have to manually type it in for a retail license. There are some complications with the “Upgrade Only” license and complications when trying to install an OEM license with Retail Media often done due to the OEM Media Reduction policies Microsoft enforced and no Digital Deployment for the OEM license.

Variant A: OEM with OEM Reinstallation Media

If using a Dell Windows 7 Reinstallation DVD or a Dell Reinstallation DVD converted into a Bootable USB, Dell OEM SLP Activation will automatically be applied. That is a generic key is input from the installation media and activation occurs if the system has valid markers embedded in its systems BIOS.

Variant B: Retail “Full” with Retail Full Media

If using Retail media you’ll be prompted to input your Retail “Upgrade” product key and it’ll automatically activate when you are online.

Win7-9

Variant C: Retail “Upgrade” with Retail Media (Unofficial)

If using Retail media you’ll be prompted to input your Retail “Upgrade” product key and it’ll automatically activate when you are online.

However often in the case of a complete “Clean Install” it’ll inform you the license is Upgrade Only and won’t allow you continue the install without inputting a “Full” Retail key. To bypass this uncheck “Automatically activate Windows when I’m online” and select skip to initiate a 30 day trial.

activate

Product activation can be made by inputting the Upgrade key through the Command Prompt and Activating via the Command Prompt Later on see Product Activation of a Clean Installation with a Windows 7 Upgrade Product Key.

Variant D: OEM with Retail Full Media (Unofficial)

If you are using retail media or have deleted the EI.cfg file the OEM SLP activation won’t automatically be applied. The setup will instruct you to input a product key. I recommend not inputting one because they are usually difficult to read from the COA (as they fade) and this activation mechanism will require a phone call to Microsoft.

Uncheck Automatically activate Windows when I’m online and select skip this will initiate a 30 day trial.

activate

The Activation Backup and Recovery program can be used with Dell or HP OEM Cert files to apply the OEM SLP activation which won’t require inputting your product key or calling Microsoft activating in the same mechanism as the OEM factory settings. See the Activation Backup and Recovery Program.

If you are not using a Dell or HP and have not backed up the OEM SLP using ABR and can read your COA then follow Variant C which will save the need to call Microsoft.

Variant E: Trial

Uncheck Automatically activate Windows when I’m online and select skip this will initiate a 30 day trial.

activate

Part 7: End of Installation

You will then be asked about Windows Update settings its generally best to go with recommended.

Win7-11

Then select your time and date settings.

Win7-12

The next screen(s) should be about connecting to the internet and/or connecting to a wireless network. In this case the system is a home desktop connected to a router via an Ethernet cable. Therefore I selected Home network. You may alternatively be asked about connecting to a wireless network.

Win7-13

Note the above screen should show only if your system can connect to the internet. Often the network drivers are needed to be installed before connecting to a network so this step may not show or if it does skip it if you cannot connect.

The setup will Finalise and restart taking you to the Windows Desktop.

Win7-14

You should now look to using the WSUS Offline Update to patch Windows 7 and then start to installing your system drivers starting with the Chipset drivers. After the system drivers are installed, Dell Backup and Recovery may be installed to make a new Recovery Partition from the Clean Installation. See the full A Clean Install of Windows 7 for more details if you need additional guidance for these steps.

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15 thoughts on “Windows 7 Installation with Notes on UEFI and SecureBoot

  1. I am a dell using costomer if any one help my problem my laptop inspiron 1545 i go to my restall my windows7 system he is not done my laptop is telling me boot manager is missing and i go in repair ways but not resolve and will chek my system setup utility cd or dvd disc is break and damage in bad condisition how i do my setup file in copy cd or dvd and iam a first time in dellsupport site we are confuse how i go my servicetags no is cdqm4bs so plz help me 10 days i am not use my laptop give me my download links

  2. I have a Latitude E6410 with Win 7 Home and I’m trying to upgrade to Win 7 Professional 64. The E6410 is running BIOS A16 and appears to have UEFI but no settings for secure boot. I’ve placed the iso on a USB stick and that appears in the boot list when UEFI is enabled. It loads the installation files from USB no problem but then hangs at the Starting Windows screen. This is exactly what it does with a DVD install. I was hoping that the USB install would work but no luck. Any ideas …?

  3. Helo?
    Sir my system Dell GX520 is not install for sound driver in windows7 64bit.plece help me.

  4. ‘Often the network drivers are needed to be installed’ – thats indeed a problem after my clean install…apparently cant update windows without the internet connection. the network drivers are on the Dell installation drivers&utilities cd, however, when i’ve nstalled them my laptop still fails to locate any wifi connections. is it the problem be with the wifi driver (dell wireless 1702 802.11 b/g/n..?) – i even downloaded the latest version of it from the dell website yet it still says ‘no connections are available’. any advice, Philip?

    1. oh yes finally success – there were no Wireless connections..in fact, one of the oldest network drivers worked (not the most recent one!). the dell site drives me crazy – too many drivers available for my service tag and not all of them work, so one only finds out ‘by trial and error’.

      1. Thank, you very much, super—- but: WIN7-32 doen’t handle USB 3.0

        I’d like to have a clean install on a E7470 Latitude, but after WIN7 boot process started USB 3.0 makes it impossible to go on.

        Thank you for help

  5. Many thanks for the great work you do here. It is extremely helpful. I really appreciate what you do here Philip. I can see how bad the Dell support is according to the things I have learned here. I bought a Dell Inspiron 15 5559 i5-6200u laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed couple of days ago. I installed windows 7 following your guide here, adjusting the BIOS as you instructed here, from a bootable DVD I already had. It is not downloaded from links of this site (the .iso). I cannot remember where I downloaded that ISO exactly. I had it for some time with me. That ISO contains this file name “en_windows_7_ultimate_with_sp1_x64_dvd_u_677332”. I can remember that the site where I downloaded it say it is an untouched iso.

    So I installed windows from the dvd and skipped the activation part & the windows got installed without any problem. But when I tried to activate windows with Windows Loader by Daz v2.2.1 & v2.2.2 both gave me messages that keys have been successfully installed and to restart. When I restart windows comes to the loading point and crashes giving a blue screen. I re-installed windows from the same dvd & also tried to activate with the ABR Program. Even though the command prompt looked like it did the trick, after restart windows is still not activated. Tried to activate 2-3 times. No fruition. Activate period only 3 days remaining. Thank god the ABR program did not crash windows.

    Question 1 – Will I be able to activate this installation? The installed windows gives the product ID “00426-OEM-8992662-00400”.

    Since the above installation failed to activate I have downloaded “Dell Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit SP1 USB3.0 OEM Reinstallation.iso” you have provided in another guide on this site. Now I have a windows 7 usb 3.0 ISO & a usb 3.0 pendrive.

    Question 2 – Will i be able to create the windows 7 bootable usb 3.0 drive, using a desktop computer which only has usb 2.0 ports?

    Question 3 – Provided that I am able to create the bootable usb 3.0 drive from Dell ISO, using a usb 2.0 computer, will i be able to activate windows from the ABR Program?

    You have mentioned in another guide that some people download the ISO’s with less capacity. Example: if the ISO should be 4.3GB, the downloaded ISO is only 4.1GB. Yo have mentioned that this is not the full ISO’s and some parts missing in those ISO’s with less capacity.

    Question 4 – “Dell Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit SP1 USB3.0 OEM Reinstallation.iso” you have given in another guide on this site, according to you, have 5.4GB. But what I downloaded is only 5.23GB. Is there an issue in the capacity of the ISO here?

    Thank you for your help.

    1. The Dell Windows 7 OEM System Locked Preinstallation from a Dell Windows 7 Reinstallation DVD or ABR program will not work on your Dell as the system is not shipped with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1/10 Pro. The UEFI BIOS therefore doesn’t contain the markers and won’t activate.

      The USB can be made on a computer with USB 2.0 ports.

      The Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium and Professional .iso are 5.23 GB.

      1. The .isos don’t have USB 3.0 added despite the names. The WinImage program did something different than expected (essentially copying the DVD to a .iso again opposed to the USB). They are however all the correct Editions.

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