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Question about different ISO versions of Win-7


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I seem to recall with Win-9x and maybe even XP that you needed to have specific install CD's or ISO's to validate with a matching product key (OEM, retail, system-builder, etc).

I've got technet keys for Win-7 and I'm wondering if I need to find a matching technet downloadable ISO image - or is there just a generic ISO image for each of the various flavors of 7 that Microsoft has made available for download usable for all the various classes of keys (corporate, OEM, retail, technet, etc) that exist?   

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So I've been comparing various win-7 SP1 ISO's and CD's that I have, and it does seem to be the case that they are identical except for ei.cfg.

Except for a couple of files - install.wim and setup.wim.  They're always different.

So that puts the lie to the often-told story that Win-7 distribution media is essentially identical except for ei.cfg.

I've been looking into this because I've been struggling with RT7 Lite and it's generating installation images that always leaves me with a system that (a) has no "Libraries" and (b) gives me an "item not found" message when creating new folders or renaming folders.  I've now used a different source for the base win-7 SP1 image and have managed to use RT7 to generate an install image that *works* and does not have those issues.  The only difference in the source images is these .wim files.  I'm going to use reg shot and see if I can find a difference in the registry between the installs.  Otherwise I'd like to know more about the reasons why these .wim files are different.



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A .wim file is nothing but a container, think of it as you would of a .zip, .rar or .cab archive, *anything* different in the contents would make any two of them different, you need to open them (among the GUI tools 7-zip will do) or mount them (via DISM or similar) and compare the contents.


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Methinks you don't have "matching sets".

OEM's will "strip" and/or modify the WIMs, leaving only the Edition they installed.

The only difference between Retail and OEM is the EI.CFG, otherwise they're exactly the same.

Enterprise is Volume License and the EI.CFG is also different.

Be aware that x86 and x64 are definitely different between each other.

Wiki gives a (kind of) pretty good basic explanation.
Also here. Note the "electronic" also.

My OEM Install DVD is binary exactly the same as the Retail except for that single file.

As jaclaz said, if you want to see what's going on, open them up. Better yet, the EI.CFG will tell you what it's set up for. Indeed, see if there's an XML inside the INSTALL.WIM. If not, there's probably only one edition for that DVD's architecture (x86/x64).


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At the time I started this thread, I did not realize that RT7 made permanent changes to the 2 wim files that are, basically, the entirety of a win-7 distribution / install package.  I thought that when you pointed RT7 to your source files (either the source directory or an ISO of your win-7 original CD) that it performed an integration of various items and allowed you to save your work in a config file but that it did not alter your source image.  Hence my confusion as to why I was seeing wim's of different sizes.  When I thought I was "going back" to my original win-7 CD image it turns out it was far from it.

So I've made successive copies of various trials using RT7 to integrate various kb's in stages, starting with what I know to be an original MS distribution of Win-7 ultimate SP1 32-bit.  What I have now is an image with 525 kb updates rolled in, and I am not seeing the "item not found" error when creating new folders, and the "Library" thing is fully populated with the 4 items (music, video, etc).

(I would like to create a win-7 install image where libraries and control panel are totally removed from file explorer. God I hate Windoze 7.)

I was using whdownloader and the pre-made lists available for it to download the kb files, and it turns out that there are at least 60 kb's that the current lists include that are *not* present or flagged by MS-update as available.  So for anyone trying to use RT7 and Whdownloader to create an up-to-date win-7 install image (and bypass the "Conveinence" update which includes some "bad" kb's) then I believe there is a problem with the inventory of kb's that the whdownloader people would have you obtain and integrate into your image.  

My image contains all the dot-net 3.x and lower patches, plus the dot.net 4.61 distribution and all available patches for it.  It also contains IE-10 offline install (I'm holding off integrating IE-11 into this image for the moment).

So at this point my image, when installed and when it performs the first Update-check, comes back with this as being available:

Important Updates:

3120388 security update
3075226 security update
3086255 security update (this is on the "bad" list)
3167679 security update
3138612 just "Update" for win-7 (this is on the "bad" list)

optional updates:

2506928 (bad) 2545698 (bad) 2592687 (bad) 2660075 (bad)
2830477  (don't know) 2923545 (bad) 2952664 (bad) 2970228 (bad)
3021917 (bad) 3068708 (bad) 3075249 (bad) 3078667 (bad) 3080149 (bad)
3092627 (bad) 3102429 (bad) 3118401 (bad)
3140245  (too new / don't know)
3161102  (too new / don't know) 
3172605  (too new / don't know)


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> rt7 offers 2 things
> 1. changes to WHOLE source (all images) or
> 2. change to single edition
> so beware what you choose

After you point RT7 to your source files, the first question it always seems to ask is what version you are interested in (it throws up a menu window). Sometimes I get the whole list (home, home premium, ultimate, etc) and sometimes I just get a single choice (Ultimate). So I don't understand what governs that, or its implications.

And yes, there is the radio-button choice to "Build current image" or "build all images". I've always chosen "Build current image" because, after all, since it asked you to choose an image at the very start, wouldn't that make the "build all images" option redundant or stupid?

But at this point, as I mentioned in the other thread, I'm now getting the "Please choose a valid Windows 7 Installation" message after I point RT7 to my installation files and select my choice of Ultimate when the choice box pops up (a box that gives Ultimate as the single choice). Even a virgin set of unaltered win-7 sp1 ultimate from technet is giving the same message.


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Yes I know about ei.cfg but I don't "mess" with it when I work with RT7.  I assume that RT7 knows about ei.cfg too and can easily choose to disregard it or follow it (or modify it or re-create it) as it builds the image that you want it to build.

When you go through an RT7 use-cycle, where you start it, point it to a set of source files, answer the basic first-question "which version?" and then perform what-ever integration (drivers and/or KB's), and then get to the create-ISO/Boot point (where I "burn" the resulting image to a bootable thumb drive), I then exit RT7 because it really doesn't allow you to do anything else at that point except maybe burn another ISO.  So when you exit RT7, your source files are now modified.  Permanently.  So I make a copy of the entire source directory and I point RT7 to the copy, perform integration, perform USB burn, take thumb drive to target machine and perform installation by booting thumb drive (always formatting target drive first).

If I like the install, but want to do more to it, I copy the install files to a new directory, point RT7 to the new directory and continue.  I did this about a dozen times over the past week.  Each time I documented which KB's I was adding to each image, and which KB's were being reported as installed by wmic after installation (the numbers don't always jive).  I was close to finding out which KB, when integrated by RT7, gave me an installation of Win-7 that, when trying to create a new folder in explorer, gave me the "Item not found" error.

But yesterday, RT7 wasn't loading any of my previous images.  I was being stonewalled by the "Please select a valid Windows 7  operating system" message.


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RT7 is working for me again today.  Maybe it helped when I added 2 gb of ram to the system I'm using RT7 on to bring it from 2 gb to 4 gb of ram...

In any case, I have determined which KB, when integrated into a Win-7 Ultimate 32-bit installation package created by RT7, will result in the system (a) not showing (not having) any Libraries, (b) not being able to create new libraries, and (c) giving an "Item not found" message when creating new folders or renaming existing ones.

The KB responsible for that behavior is 958559.


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I've created about 20 install sources using RT7, starting with a vanilla MSDN ISO of Win-7 SP1 32-bit and incrementally adding sets of KB's downloaded by whdownloader.  I got to the point where an image, with 525 installed updates, works fine with regard to the issues I mentioned above (Libraries issues and "Item not found" when creating new folders).  Taking that image as the next starting point for RT7, and integrating kb958559, immediately gives a system that has the issues when the new install is performed.  Now whether this issue is caused by 958559 in conjunction with one (or more) of the other 525 KB's, I don't know.

On a slight tangent, I notice that one source has the number of KB's rolled into the 3125574 Convenience Rollup Package as 123.  When I scan that list against my list of "bad" KB's to avoid, there are 15 matches:

2660075 2726535 2882822 2923545 2970228 2994023 2999226 3068708
3075249 3078667 3080149 3081954 3092627 3102429 3118401

My "good/working" Win-7 install image with 525 integrated kb's does not have any of the above 15 updates rolled into it.  Conversely, of the 108 KB's rolled into 3125574 that are "good", I only have 39 of them integrated into my good/working install image.

Now I don't know if the list of 123 KB's in 3125574 is the count for the 64-bit version, so maybe the number is different for the 32-bit version.



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Today I took my base install image (which is a virgin Win-7 SP1 technet image with drivers for an old Dell Latitude rolled in) and added 958559 with RT7.  That's it.  Burned the resulting image on a thumb drive, took it over to the Dell and went through yet another install cycle (always format the drive first).  Bingo - right off the bat, no Libraries, can't create any libraries, can't create or rename any folders without getting "Item not found" message.  Connected the machine to the internet, did a windoze-update check.  It wanted to download something first (which I expected) before it could _really_ check for updates.   So it does the download, but then is just wasting my time after that trying to check again.  I reboot.  It does some re-configuration before shutdown and again after booting back up.  I tell it to check again.  It's checking.  I'm waiting.  I go and open explorer - and the Libraries are back!  I can create new libraries too.  But still get "Item not found" when trying to create new folders.   Update list finally comes up.  I think about 150+ important and over 100 optional updates.  I'm going to go through that list and see how many of these are rolled into 3125574.

Bottom line- there is something wrong with 958559.  Don't think I'll ever need it though, not for the systems that are going to end up getting the Win-7 install image I'm perfecting.  (or maybe 958559 can't be integrated properly into an install image using RT7 ?)


Edited by Nomen
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 13. kolovoz 2016. at 3:20 PM, Nomen said:

And yes, there is the radio-button choice to "Build current image" or "build all images". I've always chosen "Build current image" because, after all, since it asked you to choose an image at the very start, wouldn't that make the "build all images" option redundant or stupid?

you do realise it was in BETA stage then and never updated ?
yet it is still best tool to edit win7 (combined with 7zip)

Edited by vinifera
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