For Dell Systems, this guide has been superseded with the following three guides making March 2019 Installation Media:
- Download Dell Windows 7 Pro ISO (Media Refresh January 2016) from Dell and Make a Bootable USB
- Slipstream Updates (Media Refresh March 2019) and Drivers to the Dell Windows 7 Pro Bootable USB
- Convert Dell Windows 7 Pro Bootable USB to another Edition e.g. Dell Windows 7 Home Premium
This guide will instruct in making your Windows 7 Bootable USB Multi-Edition and slipstream the Installation Media bringing it up to Date until December 2018.
Note that Windows 7 Reaches End of Life in January 2020 and it is advised to migrate to Windows 10 Version 1903. Your Windows 7/8.x OEM/Retail Product Key will work with Windows 10 Version 1903 Installation Media giving you a Free Upgrade to Windows 10*. For more details see Windows OEMs and FAQs.
* During launch Microsoft stated the Free Upgrade to Windows 10 would work between August 2015 and August 2016 however I have verified that it still works with Windows 10 March 2019 Installation Media.
Download a Windows 7 ISO from Dell or Microsoft
The most reliable way to Download Windows 7 is to use the Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool which will generate a direct download link from Microsoft’s or Dell’s servers. Launch the Application.
If using a Dell System select “Dell” and if using a non-Dell system select “Windows 7” then OptiPlex 7040 (the ISO is the same for all Dells):
If you have Dell Hardware (Intel 6th Generation or Less) with a Windows 7 Professional OEM License, Windows 8.x Pro License (Downgrade Rights) or Windows 10 Pro OEM License (Downgrade Rights) you should use the Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation ISO. This ISO has been updated in 2016 for basic driver support required for this hardware although you can optionally slipstream additional updates or drivers as instructed below.
If you have Dell Hardware (Intel 6th Generation or Less) with a Windows 7 Home Basic OEM License you should use the Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation ISO. This ISO has been updated in 2016 for basic driver support required for this hardware although you can optionally slipstream additional updates or drivers as instructed below.
If you have Dell Hardware (Intel 6th Generation or Less) with a Windows 7 Starter (32 Bit Only) OEM License, a Windows 7 Home Premium OEM License or a Windows 7 Ultimate OEM License the Dell Windows 7 Starter Reinstallation ISO, Dell Windows 7 Home Premium Reinstallation ISO, Dell Windows 7 Ultimate Reinstallation ISO are not available. It is advised to use Windows 10 Installation Media instead. Otherwise you need to use the Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation ISO. This ISO is multi-edition but locked to one Edition. The other editions may be accessed by removal of the EI.cfg file but are outdated (2011). We can make modifications to slipstream all the updates and drivers into the outdated images.
If you have Non-Dell Hardware with a Windows 7 OEM/Retail Any Edition License or Windows 8.1 Pro OEM License (Downgrade Rights) or Windows 10 Pro OEM License (Downgrade Rights) it is advised to use Windows 10 Installation Media instead. If you want Windows 7 you should use the Microsoft ISO but this ISO is outdated (2011) and locked only to one Edition. We can remove the EI.cfg file to unlock all the other Editions and then make modifications to slipstream all the updates and drivers into the outdated images. Activation mechanisms will be discussed below.
No other License is supported here.
Select your Edition (the Edition you select really doesn’t matter as we’ll delete the EI.cfg file and instruct how to apply OEM SLP) and then Language:
Select Copy Link for 64 Bit (or 32 Bit):
Paste the Link into Chrome, you will get a Link Direct to Microsoft’s Servers. The end of the link is a time-limited token (24 hours):
There are an assortment of Models and Images. In general for Windows 7 there is only an image for Windows 7 Professional for select Models including Models supported for Downgrade Rights from Dell Windows 10 Pro OEM and Dell Windows 8.x Pro OEM. Despite the list of Models, most of the Windows 7 Pro ISOs are the same and hence not system specific. I am going to select the OptiPlex 7040 as it is one of the last Dell Models Supported to run Windows 7. The ISOs are multi-lingual (so larger in size than the Microsoft Image). The ISO includes, Dell Logos in System Properties and the Dell default wallpaper. The Dell Windows 7 Pro Reinstallation ISO has Updates until January 2016, Basic Driver Support for up to 6th Generation Intel Skylake Hardware and applies OEM System Locked Preinstallation.
This time the image is stored on Dell’s Servers and once again the end of the link is a time-limited token (24 hours):
Creating a Bootable USB
To Create a Bootable USB you will need Rufus. Launch Rufus:
Accept the User Account Control:
Optionally Check for Updates (there may be little point as you just Downloaded the Latest Version):
Then load your ISO.
ISO Checksum Lookup
Press the tick button to lookup the ISO Checksums:
If using the Dell Windows 7 Pro Reinstallation ISO check that the SHA256 matches what the Windows ISO Download Tool states. If it does not your ISO is corrupt. If using the Microsoft ISO Google Search the MD5. If Google doesn’t find it than your ISO is unique and is hence corrupt.
If your computer is manufactured before 2010 or you are using 32 Bit Windows, the Partition Scheme should be set to MBR.
If your computer is manufactured after 2011 and you are installing 64 Bit Windows, the Partition Scheme should be GPT. If you are unsure, you will need to check whether or not you have a UEFI BIOS and select the correct option accordingly.
For the File System, we must use NTFS as our install.wim will exceed 4 GB, the maximum size for FAT32. This will fail to pass Secure Boot (which will have to be Disabled in the UEFI BIOS setup) however Windows 7 itself doesn’t support Secure Boot so it will have to be Disabled Anyway.
Making the Bootable USB
You require a 16 GB USB Flash Drive.
I advise changing the Volume Label so it makes more sense to you. I am using MWin7 (so I know it is the Microsoft Windows 7 ISO):
You will get a warning telling you, you will Format your USB. Select OK:
When it is done it will warn you about Secure Boot. Select Close:
Rufus will say Ready. You can now Close Rufus:
Do I Need to Slipstream?
The slipstream part of my guide is more advanced and slightly time-consuming which is why I recommend using Windows 10 media which is up to date.
The slipstream needs to be carried out on a clean install of Windows 7. You may use a keyless install of Windows 7 in a Virtual Machine in VMware to perform this slipstream. See Virtualising Windows 7.
Optional: The Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation ISO has Basic Driver Support for up to 6th Generation Hardware (for the Windows 7 Professional Edition only). You can use it to clean install Windows 7 now. Alternatively you can slipstream a few updates or if using a Dell Business Model such as a Latitude, OptiPlex, Precision or XPS you can slipstream the Dell Driver Pack to it.
Mandatory: For any other Edition of Windows 7 on Dell Hardware or for the Microsoft ISO on Non-Dell hardware, the installation media is out of date and installation will fail on 2nd generation to 6th generation Intel Hardware due to lack of driver support.
This guide is designed with two sets of Windows 7 Installation Media in mind:
- The Microsoft Windows 7 Installation ISO Last Updated in 2011
- For the Microsoft 2011 ISO the
boot.wimfor drivers and
install.wimmust be updated for drivers and updates.
- For the Microsoft 2011 ISO the
- The Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation ISO Last Updated in 2016
- For the Dell 2016 ISO the
boot.wimalready has the drivers required and we don’t need to update it. The
install.wimcan be updated to include the convenience rollup and the security rollup for Windows 7 Professional. The
PROFESSIONALindex has been updated by Dell for Drivers and IE11. There is also a separate script file which only updates the
- For the Dell 2016 ISO the
If you start off with a different ISO than the ones above that has been tampered with/modified before the scripts in this guide may not work.
In this guide we use Microsoft Windows Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) to slipstream USB 3.0 drivers, Storage Controller Drivers, the Convenience Rollup, Internet Explorer 11 and the November 2018 Security Rollup to make up to date Windows 7 Installation Media of all Editions covering all Editions of OEM and Retail licenses. Opposed to manually typing in all the commands, I have put them in a batch file which when ran as an administrator will carry out the slipstream. Note this guide will only work on up to 6th Generation Intel “Skylake” Hardware. It will not work with anything newer as newer hardware has no Windows 7 Driver Support.
In order for this to work however you must recreate the folders and use the default file names of the updates, otherwise the script will not be able to find the boot.wim, install.wim or updates and drivers to be slipstreamed.
Tutorial Video 1: Microsoft Installation Media and Dell Reinstallation Media – All Editions: Basic Driver Support
Tutorial Video 2: Dell Reinstallation Media – Pro Edition Only: Full Driver Support “Factory Like Image”
Install.wim and Boot.wim
There are two .wim files in the
Sources folder of your Bootable USB.
boot.wim as the name suggests is the boot file and has to have USB 3.0 Drivers so it can recognise the Bootable USB and Mouse/Keyboard during Windows 7 Installation. If it doesn’t you get stuck as soon as Windows 7 Boots. It also requires drivers for the Storage Controller so it can read the Drive during installation. This is out of date for the Microsoft ISO but already updated for the Dell ISO and does not need to be updated again.
install.wim as the name suggests is used to install Windows 7. It also needs to have the USB 3.0 and Storage Controller Drivers. In order for Windows 7 to Boot on a SSD it requires – the NVMe hotfixes. Without these Windows 7 will continuously having a BSOD when installed on a NVMe SSD. The
install.wim only has driver support for the Dell Windows 7 Pro Edition of the Dell ISO and lacks Driver Support for all Editions of the Microsoft ISO. It is out of date for all Editions of both ISOs lacking the Convenience Rollup, the Latest Security Rollup. IE11 is missing in all Editions of the Microsoft ISO and only present in Pro on the Dell ISO, IE11.
Open two instances of Windows Explorer, to one side open your C:\ Drive and to the other open your Bootable USB.
If a Drivers, IE11, or Updates Folder are present, delete them:
Open the Sources Folder in the Bootable USB:
boot.wim (Microsoft ISO only) and
install.wim to C:\ directly:
You may need to select Continue to get permissions to copy directly to C:\
Here the guide will deviate slightly, use the Download Links under Pro Edition only for a Dell Windows 7 Pro OEM License, this slipstream will include all the drivers required for your Dell system. Alternatively use the Download Links under All Editions for a Dell non-Pro Windows 7 OEM License or a non-Dell Windows 7 OEM or Retail License. This slipstream will slipstream the updates and basic drivers required for Windows 7 Clean Installation. You will need to install system specific drivers for your hardware obtained from your OEM.
You will need to Download the Following:
Pro Edition Only (Dell ISO)
You do not need the IE11 Folder or the Drivers Folders and you only require three Updates in the Updates Folder. An additional folder called DellDrivers will be made which includes all the drivers required for your Dell Model.
|64 Bit (x64)||32 Bit (x86)|
|Save in C:\Updates||Save in C:\Updates|
|Slipstream Script for Dell Skylake ISO (Pro Edition Only)||Slipstream Script for Dell Skylake ISO (Pro Edition Only)|
C:\ Drive you should recreate the following from the downloads above. If you need more details click Show More (shown after All Editions).
All Editions (Microsoft and Dell ISO)
You need the IE11 folder, Drivers Folder and Updates Folder. You don’t need the DellDrivers folder discussed later.
|64 Bit (x64)||32 Bit (x86)|
|Save in C:\Updates||Save in C:\Updates|
|Gigabyte Windows USB Tool||Gigabyte Windows USB Tool|
|Extract Only and open Packages Folder. Copy the following to C:\Updates||Extract Only and open Packages Folder. Copy the following to C:\Updates|
|Save in C:\IE11||Save in C:\IE11|
|Extract and save x64 Drivers to C:\Drivers||Extract and save x86 Drivers to C:\Drivers|
|F6 SATA Drivers||F6 SATA Drivers|
|USB 3.0 Drivers||USB 3.0 Drivers|
|Slipstream Script for Dell Skylake ISO||Slipstream Script for Dell Skylake ISO|
|Slipstream Script for Microsoft 2011 ISO||Slipstream Script for Microsoft 2011 ISO|
C:\ Drive you should recreate the following from the downloads above. If you need more details click Show More.
On the C:\ Drive you should have your
You should have three folders. Drivers which contains:
IE11 which contains:
And Updates which contains:
You will have KB4471318 (December 2018 Security Rollup) opposed to KB4467107 (November 2018 Security Rollup).
Dell Business System (OptiPlex, Latitude, Precision) and Windows 7 Pro Only
You need to download the Dell Command Deploy Windows 7 Driver Pack for your Model from Dell. Then you need to extract it’s contents using 7zip. You need to then select the x64 (64 Bit) folder or x86 (32 Bit) folder and rename it
The Update Slipstream Script should run uninterrupted. It may take a few hours to complete so ensure your power settings are set so your computer never automatically shuts down or sleeps. If you need more details on doing this, click Show More.
Running the Script
Copy the script to your Desktop.
For those who want to understand what’s going on in more detail click Show More.
Right click the Script Batch file and select Run as Administrator.
Accept the User Account Control Prompt:
You will be told the details of the
Press any key to continue… This script takes approximately 2 hours to completely run through, on a Dell OptiPlex 7040 Micro with a M.2 SSD. You will see the folders
STARTER(32 Bit only),
ULTIMATE appear on your C:\ Drive when you run the script. Essentially what DISM does is extract the second index of the
boot.wim to the
BOOT2 folder, add the USB and SATA drivers to the folder, then repackages the 2nd index of the
boot.wim and then deletes the
BOOT2 folder. It then goes through the 1st index of the
install.wim, for Windows 7 64 Bit this is
HOMEBASIC, it extracts the content to the folder
HOMEBASIC and adds the updates and drivers to this folder and then repackages the 1st index of the
install.wim and then deletes the
HOMEBASIC folder. It then continues this procedure on all the other Indexes of the
When it is done, you will be told the updated boot.wim and install.wim information. Press any key to exit the script. You should they are larger to the right hand side:
Updating the Bootable USB
Open your Bootable USB and go to the
Sources folder and rename the
boot.wim (if using the Microsoft 2011 ISO) and
installold.wim respectively (alternatively delete these
Now copy the updated versions to
Unlocking All Editions on the Bootable USB
EI.cfg file automatically selects the Edition of Windows 7 to install. To access all the other 4 Editions during installation the
EI.cfg file must be deleted.
EI.cfg present you will get the ballot box during installation:
OEM Cert Collection
If you are using a system with an OEM License (including OEM Downgrade Rights from Windows 8.x Pro and Windows 10 Pro) on a computer manufacturered by a major OEM such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, ASUS, Acer, Compaq, Gateway, Packard, Fujitsu, IBM, MSI, Samsung, Sony or Toshiba you are best to install Windows 7 without a Product Key and activate post installation using OEM System Locked Preinstallation – the same BIOS based Product Activation mechanism of factory settings. Doing so will save you from having to call Microsoft to activate by phone. I have put together the OEM Cert Collection along with an associated 2 line script to install the Cert and Apply the associated OEM SLP Key. After Installation copy the OEM folder containing the cert and OEM SLP key to your
C:\ Drive and then run the script file.
Dell Factory Like Image
If you have Securely Wiped your computer using Dell Data Wipe or Parted Magic and used the Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation ISO with the added Updates and Drivers, for a Dell Business Model. You can install Windows 7 up until this stage. Then you can power off the Dell Business Computer and remove your Bootable USB.
At this stage it is very similar to a Dell Factory Image: Windows is Up to Date, All the Dell Drivers are Installed, Dell OEM Logos and Background are applied and Dell OEM SLP Activation will be Applied.