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.
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…