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Got there! Gigabyte GA-G33M-S2H now running Windows 7 64-bit

November 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Perhaps the last 3-4 posts I’ve made have reflected the countless hours I’ve spent trying to get 64-bit Windows 7 installed on my Gigabyte motherboard. Now, finally, I’ve managed it.

Win7

In the end, I cheated. What I did was simply:

  • Install an old 64-bit Windows to a new partition (I chose Windows Server 2003 R2 64-bit)
  • Run that 64-bit Windows, and then run the Windows 7 64-bit installer from within Windows  – and install to another partition

The reason for this alternate route, was because my Gigabyte board repeatedly refused to boot from the 64-bit installer media directly. My best guess for the reason, from a lot of experimentation, is that the board disagrees with the bootloader on the newer operating systems (Vista, Windows 7, even Ubuntu), but would still work with the older bootloaders.

Along the way, I found:

  • You can run the installer from within an older version of Windows (mine being XP), but you can only go from 32-bit to 32-bit, or 64 to 64. Since I currently run 32-bit, and wanted 64, this wasn’t a quick option.
  • You CAN boot from USB Flash Drives on Gigabyte motherboards like mine, but you have to plug it in, go to the BIOS, and treat it like an internal HDD – moving it ahead of the others in the HDD Boot Order in Advanced Settings. Selecting USB-HDD, for example, seems ineffective. However, once I got this working, Win7 started to boot, but still failed before it got anywhere useful.*
  • Unplugging and disabling every single peripheral, including AHCI, Virtualisation, Serial/Parallel, USB devices, TV card, PCI cards, RAM, Optical Drive, even all the HDDs!, had no effect on the boot failure
  • You can’t try to run the setup in VMWare instead to do an install to physical disc, since VMWare Server 1.x doesn’t support Windows 7, and 2.x doesn’t support writing to physical discs.**

So, now this is working, I’ll immediately take a clean image using BootIt NG, and then start the long process of building up all my apps to get the same operability as I had in XP.

Notes:
* – Although my initial install from within Server2003 also  failed from the USB stick – and then succeeded from ISO image – so maybe the files did actually corrupt that time round. So this approach might still work…
** – There is a hack to write to Raw disc in Linux. But whether you have the patience to find a Linux distro that will install, then install VMware inside that, then create a VM, and try to install Win7 in it… and then hope it’ll boot successfully direct from that installation despite all the different devices…… is another question.

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Windows 7 on Gigabyte GA-G33M-S2H – not there yet

October 29, 2009 3 comments

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…