Well, I’ve managed to get as far as booting from a USB Flash drive into Win7 64-bit, but it’s falling over after the bootloader.
To get this far, I used method 6 from http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm (why isn’t WordPress letting me add links?) to build the Boot USB – using my existing 32-bit Win7 installation. I then copied the entire contents of the Win7-64 ISO onto this USB.
Taking tips from other sites about booting USB drives on Gigabyte boards, I then inserted the USB drive into the rear USB slots (not wire-connected ones at the front), and booted into the BIOS. Going to Advanced Settings, HDD Boot Order, I can see my 3 conventional HDDs, and the HDD Flash at the bottom. I moved it to the top.
I suspect the f12 Boot Menu has no impact if you select USB-HDD, USB-CDROM, or any other; you actually have to go into the ‘conventional’ HDD list in the BIOS with the USB inserted, find the USB drive, and move it to the top.
Anyway – it now boots from USB, but bluescreens with an error about a file in \windows\system32. Since I’m booting from USB, which doesn’t have such a directory, I suspect it’s either going back to my fixed HDDs and getting confused, or its building a RAM disk and falling over there. My next step will be to unplug the DVD drive in case it’s still causing problems, and then maybe move onto playing around with Win7 Boot loader sequences.
OK – just tried a couple more tricks to install Win7 64-bit
First – I tried building a bootable HDD using VMWare, and then boot from that in the GA-G33M-S2H BIOS. Nonstarter. VMWare Server 2.0 can support a guest Win7 OS, using the Win Server 2008 profile, but doesn’t support Physical Discs (and there’s no point building a virtual disc, as I can’t boot from that!). There’s a hack for that for Linux, but not Windows.
VMWare Server 1.x DOES support physical discs… but doesn’t support Windows 7. It stops on booting with a bluescreen error.
I also tried attaching my optical drive as a USB – by using an IDE-USB2.0 cable which I picked up on eBay. Handy, as I don’t even have to remove the drive from the case. However, it experiences exactly the same problems as when using the drive directly connected.
PXE Boot could be possible… but is tricky to set up. It is annoying that the GA-G33M-S2H doesn’t support bootable USB sticks, as this is how I built my netbook.
OK – next attempt is to boot my laptop to Win7, and build an install onto a removable HDD, then try to boot from that on the PC. I suspect it won’t work, since the wrong drivers will be installed… but all I need to do is get to an OS, and then run the installer fresh.
From my recent research, it seems these are a good choice for all-rounders that I can use for listening to music from my Laptop, PC, Media Center, and iPhone. Possible downers are poor reception when running, and high volume with the iPhone.
One annoyance I’ve had ever since SE discontinued the HBH-65, is pairing to multiple devices – ie. not having an ACTIVE connection, but being available to connect to whichever device devices to start firing music at it. I hope this is how these work, but as always, it’s pretty unclear whether this is the case.
OK, so I got Win7 up and running on my Gigabyte board, by installing from within WinXP. It seems the issue is the same boot issue as I had with Ubuntu and XP before this, rather than Win7 specifically.
So – I’m there, right?
Well – not really. Because that test install was using Win7-x86 (32-bit). And when I tried the same trick with 64-bit… you’ve guessed it… the setup program wouldn’t run from within WinXP, as it’s 32-bit.
So… now I need to figure out a way to install the 64-bit version… since I still can’t boot from CD or USB…..
Two possible methods:
1. Network PXI boot?
2. Install it inside a 64-bit VM, but to the physical partition… then boot natively from that partition. (Messy with the drivers!)
3. Run the initial installer (ie. copy over files, setup boot) using the VM – but then run the rest of the install natively, after the first reboot.
Whatever I do, it’s going to be messy…
By chance, I found a solution.
I had just burned a stored ISO on Win7 32-bit to try an install with, and accidentally put the DVD back in, which then autoplayed.
It offered me the chance to install Win7 from within XP. I try to avoid this normally – I prefer to boot straight into the install – but this time I let it run.
It accepted my pointing to an empty partition, installed, and rebooted… And started up within Win7 successfully! It completed the installation, and rebooted a couple of times more. It retained my original XP partition, and correctly handled the boot loader to choose between the two.
So – it seems it’s the same problems that mysteriously stopped me installing Ubuntu or WinXP when I first bought the motherboard. I didn’t work it out then, and I haven’t now, but if it works, that’s good for me!
Now to try 64-bit…
OK, so no joy from a few ‘help’ postings I made in forums, and certainly no reply from Gigabyte themselves from my support ticket logged.
However, I did come across this post that I made myself, when I had similar problems installing XP when I first bought the board. I swapped optical drives, and it suddenly started working.
So – maybe it’s the same again? Maybe I should unplug the drive as well (I’ve already unplugged all external peripherals). I’ll give that a go, as well as trying a 32-bit x86 installer.
Well, I just used Papershow for my first customer webex. So, how did it do?
Actually, pretty well! I had a couple of false starts, because I started out by plugging the USB dongle into a different USB port. That seemed to confuse it a bit with regards to the USB Mass Storage device, Bluetooth Drivers, etc, and it ended up ejecting itself (logically, not physically!). So, plug it into the same USB port as when installed, and it worked better.
Since it’s entirely USB-key based (ie. I assume you can plug into any other PC and keep going with the same pen, files, config, etc), I wasn’t sure how to start it running, since I have autoplay disabled. Running papershow.exe caused it to unplug itself again; Running start.exe proved more reliable, and I was into the presentation.
In terms of reliability, accuracy, real-time update, etc. it was fine: I put it into fullscreen and shared it via Webex Desktop Sharing. The customer said they could see my diagram updating in real-time fine. Operationally, and psychologically, it was quite easy as well – I quickly found myself just looking at the paper and talking to the customer as if he were looking at the pad with me. A quick glance at the screen now and then showed that the digitisation was keeping up. There were a couple of missed colour changes due to my not keeping track of which colour I was on, which looked confused on the diagram – I just changed colour and re-drew over the line. I also found myself gesturing over the pad, which of course the customer can’t see, so I therefore switched to waving the mouse pointer over the screen using my trackpad for those moments.
My drawing and writing were abysmal, but I’ve said that already. I ended up not using any of the ‘assisted drawing’ features such as rectangles, circles, etc. But as a communication tool, it was great.
Oh – and after finishing my presentation, I couldn’t get out of Fullscreen Papershow! Switching to any other app was ignored; no keypress would close it. Eventually, I killed the process, and then removed and inserted the key, and opened it again. To its credit, it had autosaved a backup draft, and it asked if I wanted to open it – and there was my diagram, as if I’d never killed it. Not bad!
Papershow does force a strong link between hardware and software – closing the app will automatically dismount the USB key, even if you didn’t want to. But I can see why they’ve done this for non-computer-savvy users, and it doesn’t seem too obstructive. I still have to play with it a bit to figure out exactly how it’ll behave in certain circumstances, but I’m comfortable that it seems to be a well-finished, reliable product.