Downloading Windows 7 and Creating a December 2018 Bootable USB with USB 3.0, Storage Controllers and NVMe Support

Windows 7 reached end of life in January 2020 and only has driver support for up to 6th Generation Intel Hardware.

The main Windows 7 guide has been updated to include slipstream of the January 2020 Security Rollup, the Microsoft .Net Framework, USB 3.0 Storage Controllers, the NVMe Hotfixes and for supported Business Models the Dell or Lenovo Windows 7 64 Bit Driver Pack.

45 thoughts on “Downloading Windows 7 and Creating a December 2018 Bootable USB with USB 3.0, Storage Controllers and NVMe Support

  1. Philip, First of all, I want to thank you for all the great information you've put together and made available. I totally agree with you that Dell's support has gone way down the tubes.

    Second, I've been following your instructions, I thought to the letter, but I've been unable to get a fresh installation of Win 7 on my Dell Inspiron N5010. I have also been unable to get media ordered from Dell, and even if I could, my COA is faded, so I don't think I'd be able to activate it.

    So I followed your instructions. I downloaded the ISO from Digital River, converted it to USB using Rufus. After starting the installation process and following the first restart the following error message pops up: "Windows could not parse or process the unattend answer file for pass [specialize]. The settings specified in the answer file cannot be applied. The error was detected while processing settings for component [Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup]." When I clicked on the OK button, the machine rebooted, looked like it was continuing the installation process. But then another error popped up saying "The computer restarted unexpectedly or encountered an unexpected error. Windows installation cannot proceed. To install Windows, click "OK" to restart the computer, and then restart the installation. Clicking on OK at this point just repeated the second part of the process over again in a loop.

    Have you run into this before? Can you offer any help? I'm stumped.

  2. I downloaded the Dell windows 7 x64 sp1 usb3.0 iso you have provided. Is it possible to create a USB 3.0 bootable pendrive with a computer which only has usb 2.0 ? but my pendrive is a 3.0.

    1. Yes but the addition of USB 3.0 support is only needed if installation is being carried out on a computer that has a USB 3.0 port.

      A USB 3.0 drive can be used in a computer with only USB 2.0 ports without the additional modifications.

      1. Thanks a lot Philip. I really appreciate what you do here. This site is a big help. Thanks again.

  3. Thank you for this website. Do you have any recommendations if I have say 10 Dell computers that came pre-loaded with Windows 7 and I want to load my company's own Windows 7 image which I captured form one of these computers on the other 9?

    On the other 9 Windows would need to be activated/validated/whatever and typically in the past I'd just type in the product key from the Microsoft sticker on the computer. For these recent batch of computers though, they didn't come with the Microsoft stickers (not even under the laptop batteries).

    PS: Sorry for double posting this, I didn't see that this site has two comment fields? Reposting here because of the email notification feature.

    1. Officially you should look into volume licensing…

      Cloning and Image wise it would be fine for a Windows 10 OEM license and Windows 10 install as it will automatically recognise the system as a Windows 10 Device and reactivate it (taking the unique 25 digit product key from the UEFI BIOS in each system).

      What will happen for the Windows 7 install is you will have 9 unactivated windows 7 installs as it thinks you have transferred an OEM license… The product key used in each case will be the generic 25 digit Dell Windows 7 Pro OEM SLP key.

      Unofficially you can use the likes of Macrium Reflect… to make your system image (or your preferred program):

      To reactivate you can use the ABR program to rearm the Dell OEM System Locked Preinstallation:

      This will only work if the systems came with Windows 10 Pro OEM and hence have downgrade rights to Windows 7 Pro OEM. It will not work if the systems shipped with Windows 10 Home OEM.

  4. Philip Hi,

    I am texting you here coz I could not login to this Forum below and explain my problem.
    I have a big problem now. I hope you reply as soon as you see this message. I have googled for one week but to no avail …I have a received a DEll Precision 7510, with 256 GB Samsung P951 NVMe SSD drive and 1TBHDD. IT is core i7 with 6820 Hq processor. The laptop has come with win7 originally installed on it in RAID config mode in BIOS. Now My problem is I have to install Ubuntu on it in dual Boot mode and for that we have to enable the AHCI mode in BIOS, So I decided to make a clean installation of win7 by referring to your guide above of converting USB int bootable media. Now in the BIOS I was able to see the USB detect and give it a higher priority for boot, So I managed to get the windows installer.In the installer I had to download the Samsung SSD driver and upload it during installation from another USB to see the SSD listed in the windows partitions. I could also see the HDD ,So I deleted all the partitions of the SSD and installed win 7 on it. So the windows installed successfully, but after installation, now I want to install all the drivers. I downloaded all the drivers on my second machine and when I plugged in the USB in the newly installed windows, the USB ports do not work. Nor does the Mouse.When I go to the BIOS menu, even there the USB is not detected any more, and I only see two option for the Boot "Windows Boot Manager" and " NVME SSD". Now I don't know what to do. I did make a backup image of the Factory installed windows by following one of your guides on Dell Back up and Recovery, and I even made a bootable USB from that using winimage, but to no avail, the Bootable USB is not listed in the BIOS options. Nor did converting to Legacy boot option work. I also tried F12 and then select USB in the Legacy options but that did not work. Now I am stuck I dont know what to do ..? I need the USB bootable to be detected in BIOS for linux installation and also in win 7 install to install all drivers..Can you please help

    My email is and currently my work is stuck because of this problem. Can you please reply on my mail or either here…I am desperately stuck…!!!!

    Edited to remove personal information.

    1. Seems it listing both a legacy and UEFI BIOS.

      For Windows 7 64 Bit you want to install in GPT and not MBR. SecureBoot should be off, Legacy Roms should be enabled. Leave the SATA Operation as AHCI.

      If you do this can your Windows 7 installation boot? If so try following this guide here. Ignore the part about mounting the drive as read only and instead of recovering data, add the drivers to the C: drive so you can install them:

  5. I'm not allowed to make a new file in C: with a back slash ( \ ), or some other characters, so Updates\IE11 isn't happening for me. I'll start looking around for a solution but I thought I'd mention it in case it was of any interest? And if you know a way round it I would, of course be interested. If, by the way, I'm doing something ridiculous, or should be doing something, but I'm not, please forgive my ignorance.
    Many thanks.

    1. You cannot add the backslah to a file name, The backslash \ means the file is in a folder. C:\Updates\IE11 for instance means you have an IE11 folder in the Updates folder and in the C: Drive.

      1. I had a nasty feeling I was being thick, thank you for your time, sorry for wasting it…..

  6. It works great but I still got 100 updates to install from windows update after installing a PC from this installation.

  7. Thanks for the great writeup! This is the first slipstream I've built, and having the specific list of required KB items and commands all packed in a batch file saved me a ton of time and learning!

    One thing that could be added though, when I downloaded the zip files they got the "blocked" status, and I didn't notice. Extracting them then created files with the "blocked" status, and then the install command for those failed. I had to right-click each, and click "unblock" before they were usable. If someone wasn't paying attention to the output of the script they might then end up thinking they created the full slipstream when there was actually a piece missing. To that end, it might be good to add "|| exit \b" to the end of each command in the batch file so that it exits on an error.

    1. Great thanks for letting me know you managed to successfully use the script. I haven't experienced the blocked status what files were these, the Windows 7 setup files, the updates or the Intel drivers?

  8. Hi Sir,is there possible to update window 7 dell reinstallation iso with this method..?Once i install your installation (win7 dell) still asking for about 800mb of updates..?

  9. Hi. First of all thank you for your sharing.
    Is there a way for example add IE11 et-EE; ru-ru, fi-fi in their respective language Windows versions? Since I'm from Estonia and know Russian and Finnish computer users. This would come in handy to know how to add different than en-US IE11 adding method.

      1. Hi Philip,

        oddly there seems to be no for Estonian language. Is there non? And is it possible to do without the file?

        Thank you for your quick and very helpful addition to your post!

        Have a good Holiday time 🙂

      2. I had a look in more details. It seems it is better to download the standalone installer from Microsoft and use the command prompt to extract it. This will give you all the additional .cab and .msu files. For Estonian there is no separate hyphenation as far as I can tell, doing this with the Czech language gave the additional hyphenation file but the Estonian one didn't. Still not fully tested but detailed instructions are here:

  10. Hello Philip.
    My laptop is a Dell Latitude E6330 with win7 Pro, and with a bad HD.
    So i got a new Samsung 500 GB disk which i tried to install win7 pro on. First i did try with Dell's own solution for making a USB installation media, then i made the slipstream media after your instructions but i always get stuck on that the installation program asks for a driver to the cd/dvd palyer. I even tried to install from a original win7 pro dvd 32 bit which is to another laptop i have, then i passed the problem with the dvd driver but got stuck on a missing driver for the HD.

    Are you familiar with the problem? I hope you can point me in the right direction.
    Thank you for a very informative site!
    Mr Jan.

      1. Hello Philip.
        Thank you for a fast reply. I was wrong, the new HD is a Seagate st500LM021 and the size is exatly the same as the original disk.
        i can see the new HD as C: when the installation program asks me for the needed driver so i think the drive is correctly installed in the laptop.

        Yes, i have tried the Dell Skylake Iso but i always end up on the cd/dvd driver issue. I have gone thru the settings in bios and to me it looks like it should perhaps i have missed some point?
        I find it strange that Dells own procedure to make a USB media for installing win 7 not works for me. I had no errors in creating the media with dells recovery tool.

        On youtube there are a coupple of videos showing how to fix the cd/dvd problem but still none have worked for me.
        Best regards.
        Mr Jan

      2. Hello Philip.
        Thank you for a fast reply. My misstake, the new hd is a seagate st500LM021 disk, nothing else. Yes i did try the Skylake iso but with no luck on the needed cd/dvd driver. The new disk is exactly the same size as the original disk and it shows up in the window asking for the driver so i Think it's properly seated.

        I'ts strange that Dells own OS recovery tool not works for me to make a bootable media to install win7. on a empty hd. I had no errors when making the media or downloading the Iso.

        I guess that the CPU an i5-3380M is also ok for the Skylake iso even if it's not listen on Dells web as a suitable cpu for that iso?
        I'm soon out of ideas on how to install win 7 pro on that laptop again, no matter what i try i end up in some missing driver. Can it be som bios setting that i forgot to change?
        Hope i don't doubble post here now, if so i'm sorry. my last reply did wanish somehow…..
        Best regards.
        Mr Jan.

  11. Problem with my Dell Latitude E6330 finally solved!
    After low level format of the new HD and burning a new Skylake DVD with Windows 7 USB DVD download tool from Miscrosoft i finally got win 7 Pro installed. Installing it from a USB-stick is not possible on my laptop. The HD is a 500 GB disk, but when looking on the disk with Acronis i found some strange partitions, one beeing 6,2 TB and another one 7,xx TB and some smaller partitions too.

    Wish you all a happy new year!
    Thank you Philip for this massive source of information!

    Best regards
    Mr Jan.

    1. Strange you have a 6.2 TB partition on a 0.5 TB HDD… I guess Diskpart → Clean All would have helped (giving the drive a wipe before installation).

      Its possible it didn't like your particular USB flash drive but you got the install done with your DVD.

      Thanks for letting me know you managed to complete your install. Happy New Year too. 🙂

  12. Hi. Happy new year Philip.
    Is there going to be a refresher for 2018 January Rollup of your Slipstream method?

    1. I could do it shouldn't take long… All I need to do is change a couple of lines.

      The files area of the Microsoft OS Forum where I posted the script are down however I can put it on OneDrive and Google Drive.

  13. As for Estonian IE11 it does not complete the integration. Errors are showing.

    1. That error messages says it cannot access the image and not an error with the additional Estonian .cab files. The install.wim file itself may be corrupted or it may be mounted previously and not closed.

      1. I took out the Driver integration part because different machines seem to have different AHCI and USB 3.0 drivers. Maybe I did something wrong. Is it possible for you to help with a Ie11 + updates only slipstream script?

    2. I had some time to try it myself on a multi-lingual .iso. I got the same errors with the .CAB files individually specified.

  14. The links for 477475_intl_x64_zip.exe and 486575_intl_x64_zip.exe don't work.
    Could you please provide alternative links if possible.

      1. I used "64 Bit Jan 2018 All (English) Script.bat".
        Followed your guide to the letter and the process completed without an error.
        I repeated the process five times on two computers always using exactly the same Drivers, Updates and Win7 folders.
        The problem is the size of boot.wim and install.wim in the resulted media is different.
        Here are my five results:
        boot.wim – 170608, 170603, 170608, 170608,170607 install.wim – 4236392, 4236093, 4236331, 4236141, 4237101
        Any ideas?
        Could you please try yourself for the experiment sake?
        Thank you

  15. Hi Philip, great guides and thank you very much for providing and updating them. A question about f6flpy-x64…. is there a reason you've linked to version when the latest version is (released 21 Feb 2018)? Would you recommend including the latest drivers? Thanks

  16. Hi Philip, great guide. When I commit changes to the install.wim, the file size is over 4GB, so cannot be copied back to the bootable USB sources folder (fat32 filesystem has file size limit of 4GB) Do you have any suggestions to deal with this? Thanks.

    1. When making your Bootable USB use the GPT Partition Scheme and the NTFS file format. Windows 7 64 Bit does not support Secure Boot and without Secure Boot Enabled a Bootable USB setup this way will Boot.

  17. Phillip. Thank you for all the effort you put in here. I am trying to install Windows 7 Pro x86 on a new Dell inspiron. Thought I followed all steps but still lose keyboard and mouse as soon as the Windows 7 "Install Windows" screen comes up.
    Any idea where I went wrong? I started with the Win7_Pro_SP1_English_COEM_x32 ISO file.

    1. How "new" is "new" and what model of Inspiron? Windows 7 only has driver support for up to 6th Generation Intel Hardware. It will not install on newer hardware.

  18. I've never owned any Dell system but i learned a lot from this blog and your Youtube videos. Not sure why you've nuked everything related to Windows 7. They were great source for updating Windows 7 image 🙁

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the dead link. I actually put all my Windows 7 guides together. I updated the guide to use the program NTLite opposed to manually coding a script. The guide contains the January 2020 Security Rollup as well as the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.7 (which I had issues slipstreaming manually). It also discusses OEM SLP.

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