ISO from SysPrep-ed Image not bootable from external disk...


TheMystic

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
7:13 AM
Posts
696
OS
Windows 11
Hi!

I wanted to create an ISO of Windows 11 that includes BootCamp drivers, so that the image when written to an external SSD, can make it bootable from any laptop - PC or MacBook.

I followed the tutorial here.

I could successfully create an image file, make an ISO from it, install it to an external SSD using Hasleo WinToUSB, and can also boot from the external SSD on any machine (both PC and Mac). I can also make an installation disk using Rufus from the same ISO.

However, I wanted to make a few more changes to the setup to make it as close to my requirement as possible.

I'm currently booted from the already SysPrep-ed Windows Installation. I have tweaked the Settings and Programs to my liking and went through the process of SysPrep-ing it again. The process completed successfully, and I can make an installation disk from the ISO using Rufus. But this time, if I use Hasleo WinToUSB to make a bootable disk on my external SSD, I am unable to boot from it.

I have already done this process atleast 3 times. I can create an installation disk successfully that can be used to install my customised Windows on my internal disk and it boots fine. But if I use the same ISO to install Windows on my external SSD using Hasleo WinToUSB, my external SSD fails to boot.

I keep running into different types of errors: either a blank screen that doesn't do anything, or I get an error code Stop Code: BugCode_USB3_Driver, or Stop Code: Inaccessible Boot Device.

Initially I thought it could be a problem with WinToUSB, but if use my earlier image to create a bootable disk, it works fine. So the problem is unlikely to be with WinToUSB.

Please note that I get no errors during installation. That process completes successfully, but the device still fails to boot.

Does anyone know how to fix this?


I have detailed all the steps here.

Some of the things I have tried so far, without success, is here.

.
 
Windows Build/Version
Windows 11 21H2 Build 22000.282
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Crucial MX500 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

NavyLCDR

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
6:43 PM
Posts
820
OS
Windows 11
In regards to making an external drive bootable you might find some hints from this procedure:
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!

TheMystic

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
7:13 AM
Posts
696
OS
Windows 11
In regards to making an external drive bootable you might find some hints from this procedure:
Interesting. I'll give it a try later today. If it works, that would be great.

Even then, can you explain why the ISO can be used to create an installation disk successfully, but not a bootable one on external disk?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Crucial MX500 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

NavyLCDR

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
6:43 PM
Posts
820
OS
Windows 11
No, I've never done custom ISOs.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!

jimbo45

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
1:43 AM
Posts
1,486
Location
Hafnarfjörður IS
OS
Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
Hi there.

@TheMystic

I assume you have created a valid ISO which would normally boot on a standard system. If the ISO image is faulty then "all bets are off" -- you must have a valid iso / install.wim - I assume that's OK. Nothing wrong in using custom "Wims" but they must be correct.

Start with boot normally into a Windows system or PE type system and mount your ISO (file explorer will mount it automatically in W10 / W8.1) . As well as a standard Windows system a Winpe or Macrium Free bootable system is also OK - use cmd line at bottom of screen in Macrium if you don't have Windows system and only have stand alone restore).

Easy way -- use the vhdx method to boot from physical disks - note this is NOT a VM !!!- forget about Hasleo winto usb. You've got the iso image -- mount to say I:

Now follow these instructions in elevated command mode (run as administrator)

ist task set - "prep" external USB drive

1) diskpart
2) list disk
3) select disk xxxx <========== disk nr of the external disk
4) clean
5) convert gpt
6) create partition efi size=100
7) format quick format fs=fat32 label="SystemExt" <===== label optional but it makes finding correct disks easier
8) assign letter=S
9) create partition msr size=128 <=== Ms's MSR partition - don't format it
10)create partition primary
11)format quick fs=ntfs label="MainExt" <===== again label optional easier for finding correct disks
12) assign letter=M

Next task set create a virtual HDD for the target installation -- note this is NOT a VM !!!

13) create vdisk file=M:\Windows.vhdx maximum=85000 type=fixed <==== name of file and size up to you here's 85GB
14) select vdisk file=M:\Windows.vhdx
15) attach vdisk
16) list disk
17) select disk yyyy <===== disk nr of the vdisk attached - easy to find should be the one with size 85GB
18)create partition primary
19) format quick fs=ntfs
20) assign letter=V <============= these vdisks don't (shouldn't be) gpt formatted
21) exit

Now what you do next is to apply the image to the vdisk created and install the boot mgr. I'm assuming your install.wim is in file named sources in the iso you created and there's just 1 version of Windows edition --- so default will be index = 1. If other editions change the index number to the one you want.

So we wiil apply the image from device I to the virtual disk V and apply the boot manager to disk "S" (partition S) on the USB device
again in "elevated command mode".

final task set - apply image and create boot mgr

apply the image

22) dism /Apply-Image /ImageFile:I:\sources\install.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:V:\

Add the boot mgr

23) V:
24) cd V:\windows\system32
25) bcdboot V:\windows /s S: /f UEFI
26) exit

Boot and choose external device and you should see Windows boot mgr and boot into windows which can be installed on this disk which windows will think is "C" !!! It will start up directly with the initial windows set up prompts e.g user account etc -- no need for formatting / selecting where to install windows on !!. After its done all its business you have a full working 100% Windows to go system on your external device.

You can add other windows systems etc to the max space your external USB is on. Just create additional vhdx files and follow same instruction set skipping the first set. Using as SSD is much better if you have spares -- use usb3 or 3.1 ->sata connetor or esata connection to mobo if you have one.

I've got a 1TB external USB device with about 7 or 8 Windows systems on them -- and if you already have a digital license the activation remains for all those editions you are licensed for. Perfectly easy way of managing different Windows versions / options on external device, and can be run on other machines if hardware is not too different as well.

I'm converting my local Internal "C" drive to do this too.

Only 1 disadvantage - your Windows vhdx can't be updated to a big different new build of Windows although easily done via HYPER-V or VIBOOT in Macrium (free). That's for another post though. Note normal updated via WU work of course.

Change / modify / delete entries in the boot manager : use bcdedit.

Have fun !!!


cheers
jimbo
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7

TheMystic

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
7:13 AM
Posts
696
OS
Windows 11
In regards to making an external drive bootable you might find some hints from this procedure:
Thanks for the link.

But unfortunately, it didn't work in my case.

There is something wrong with the boot files in my ISO. Is there a way to fix it?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Crucial MX500 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

TheMystic

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
7:13 AM
Posts
696
OS
Windows 11
I assume you have created a valid ISO which would normally boot on a standard system. If the ISO image is faulty then "all bets are off" -- you must have a valid iso / install.wim - I assume that's OK. Nothing wrong in using custom "Wims" but they must be correct.
I guess my ISO is okay (except something with the boot files).

That's because I created an installation disk with it using Rufus, and used it to do a clean Installation on a partition in my internal disk. It boots fine without a problem.

It is only the external disk that is giving me a problem. I actually tried 3 different things:

1. Installed it using Hasleo WinToUSB.
2. Installed it using AOMEI Partition Assistant.
3. Cloned my existing system using AOMEI Partition Assistant.

In all 3 cases, the disk creation process completes successfully, but I'm unable to boot with it.

I'm not sure how the installation disk made from the same ISO (using Rufus) was able to create a bootable system on my internal disk. It is only the external disk that isn't booting.

As with the procedure you have mentioned, it does look a little more complicated. But unless we address the problem with this ISO, I don't think your method too would work.

But thanks for the detailed steps. I might give this a try next time.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Crucial MX500 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

jimbo45

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
1:43 AM
Posts
1,486
Location
Hafnarfjörður IS
OS
Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
I guess my ISO is okay (except something with the boot files).

That's because I created an installation disk with it using Rufus, and used it to do a clean Installation on a partition in my internal disk. It boots fine without a problem.

It is only the external disk that is giving me a problem. I actually tried 3 different things:

1. Installed it using Hasleo WinToUSB.
2. Installed it using AOMEI Partition Assistant.
3. Cloned my existing system using AOMEI Partition Assistant.

In all 3 cases, the disk creation process completes successfully, but I'm unable to boot with it.

I'm not sure how the installation disk made from the same ISO (using Rufus) was able to create a bootable system on my internal disk. It is only the external disk that isn't booting.

As with the procedure you have mentioned, it does look a little more complicated. But unless we address the problem with this ISO, I don't think your method too would work.

But thanks for the detailed steps. I might give this a try next time.
Hi there

@TheMystic

1) If the iso boots OK on internal disk --simply create a directory C:\zog and copy all the files to zog: from the root. File explorer is fine for that.

2) create vdisk as I have in the post

3) run the dism /Apply-Image from the file c:\zog\sources\install.wim and apply to your vdisk say it's disk v:

4) create the boot image with command run cmd.exe in administrator mode)
v:
cd V:\windows\system32
bcdboot V:\windows /s S: /f UEFI where S is the system partition you created on the external disk (see the section "prep external disk) in previous post.

I suspect you either haven't "prepped" the external disk for first use : (partitions->EFI,MSR,and bog standard EMPTY NTFS data file for inital windows install ), or not run the correct bcdboot -- the bcdboot needs to be run from the windows\system32 directory of the windows image you applied via the /dism /Apply-Image. The bcdboot must be written to the "S" - system efi file on the external disk !!!!! as per the commands shown in previous post.

Ensure that the vdisk is connected before doing the Apply-Image as a proper HDD --- diskpart list disk should confirm that.

No need for rufus, aoemi, hasleo wintousb or anything else for this job. 100% windows bog standard commands.

I've created loads of isos from uupdump and method I've outlined works every time !!!/. just extract the iso files to a directory -- provided the install.wim file isn't hosed up this method CAN'T NOT WORK !!!!!!!!

Check the index nr in the install,wim too to make sure you are installing the required windows version if there are multiple e.g Windows enterprise, Windows pro workstation etc.
Anyway have fun.

Cheers
jimbo
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7

TheMystic

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
7:13 AM
Posts
696
OS
Windows 11
Hi there

@TheMystic

1) If the iso boots OK on internal disk --simply create a directory C:\zog and copy all the files to zog: from the root. File explorer is fine for that.

2) create vdisk as I have in the post

3) run the dism /Apply-Image from the file c:\zog\sources\install.wim and apply to your vdisk say it's disk v:

4) create the boot image with command run cmd.exe in administrator mode)
v:
cd V:\windows\system32
bcdboot V:\windows /s S: /f UEFI where S is the system partition you created on the external disk (see the section "prep external disk) in previous post.

This part above is essentially cloning the current system, isn't it? The current system was installed using the same ISO, but since it is an internal disk, I could do it using the normal Windows installation method.

This is what is confusing me: if the ISO was corrupt or had issues, even installing to a partition on the internal disk should not have been possible.

While that would lead us to think that the boot files too should be fine, but I am pretty sure that the problem lies there only.


I suspect you either haven't "prepped" the external disk for first use : (partitions->EFI,MSR,and bog standard EMPTY NTFS data file for inital windows install ), or not run the correct bcdboot -- the bcdboot needs to be run from the windows\system32 directory of the windows image you applied via the /dism /Apply-Image. The bcdboot must be written to the "S" - system efi file on the external disk !!!!! as per the commands shown in previous post.
When using Hasleo WinToUSB, there isn't anything that one needs to do. The software automatically creates the EFI and Windows partitions to make the disk bootable.

But because there is a problem with some of the files (most likely the boot files/ configuration), the external disk isn't booting. I will have to find the problem and address that first. Otherwise, every thing I do (e.g. your suggested method) will result in the same problem.

Can you explain why the same ISO could make the system bootable from my internal disk, but not so from my external disk?

I have setup the EFI partition properly. Nothing wrong with the setup. The problem lies with the boot files. I must address those first.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Crucial MX500 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

jimbo45

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
1:43 AM
Posts
1,486
Location
Hafnarfjörður IS
OS
Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
This part above is essentially cloning the current system, isn't it? The current system was installed using the same ISO, but since it is an internal disk, I could do it using the normal Windows installation method.

This is what is confusing me: if the ISO was corrupt or had issues, even installing to a partition on the internal disk should not have been possible.

While that would lead us to think that the boot files too should be fine, but I am pretty sure that the problem lies there only.



When using Hasleo WinToUSB, there isn't anything that one needs to do. The software automatically creates the EFI and Windows partitions to make the disk bootable.

But because there is a problem with some of the files (most likely the boot files/ configuration), the external disk isn't booting. I will have to find the problem and address that first. Otherwise, every thing I do (e.g. your suggested method) will result in the same problem.

Can you explain why the same ISO could make the system bootable from my internal disk, but not so from my external disk?

I have setup the EFI partition properly. Nothing wrong with the setup. The problem lies with the boot files. I must address those first.
Hi there

@TheMystic

Just try it and see first -- Cloning an existing system isn't the same by any manner of means - plus the boot loader needs to address the actual vhdx file in the boot system so a pure clone won't work this way.

A "Classical" Windows system will normally have its own UEFI partition / boot partition and all the rest . The vhdx file is essentially a flat file with a single partition on it (non gpt preferred) that is pointed to by the special boot loader on the main "S" (system file) on the external Disk.

Anyway all I can say further on this is that I've actually DONE this -- rather than theorize why it *might not work" -- a bit like my one of old bosses thank god long since gone away who if there was a problem he would insist we spent hours and hours discussing why it happened rather than get the system up and running again for customers ASAP and then do the post analysis.

Anyway I have done enough on this -- perhaps I should start charging 150 USD per hr !!!!!

Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7

TheMystic

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
7:13 AM
Posts
696
OS
Windows 11
Hi there

@TheMystic

Just try it and see first -- Cloning an existing system isn't the same by any manner of means - plus the boot loader needs to address the actual vhdx file in the boot system so a pure clone won't work this way.

A "Classical" Windows system will normally have its own UEFI partition / boot partition and all the rest . The vhdx file is essentially a flat file with a single partition on it (non gpt preferred) that is pointed to by the special boot loader on the main "S" (system file) on the external Disk.

Anyway all I can say further on this is that I've actually DONE this -- rather than theorize why it *might not work" -- a bit like my one of old bosses thank god long since gone away who if there was a problem he would insist we spent hours and hours discussing why it happened rather than get the system up and running again for customers ASAP and then do the post analysis.

Anyway I have done enough on this -- perhaps I should start charging 150 USD per hr !!!!!

Cheers
jimbo
Hello @jimbo45

Thanks for your time and efforts.

You are right that sometimes we must just give it a shot and do the analysis later.

And I have done precisely that. I have actually tried 3 or 4 times already, and also used different methods to make it work. But each time the result has been the same.

The methods I have used are all correct, so I'm somewhat convinced that the problem lies with some of the files in the ISO. Which, in turn, means that unless I identify the real problem, trying out another method to install the same files will most likely not work.

As the wise man said, we should not keep doing the same thing over and over and still expect a different outcome.

Thanks very much for your time, really appreciate it. But $150 per hour for this is too much. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Crucial MX500 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

jimbo45

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Local time
1:43 AM
Posts
1,486
Location
Hafnarfjörður IS
OS
Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
Hello @jimbo45

Thanks for your time and efforts.

You are right that sometimes we must just give it a shot and do the analysis later.

And I have done precisely that. I have actually tried 3 or 4 times already, and also used different methods to make it work. But each time the result has been the same.

The methods I have used are all correct, so I'm somewhat convinced that the problem lies with some of the files in the ISO. Which, in turn, means that unless I identify the real problem, trying out another method to install the same files will most likely not work.

As the wise man said, we should not keep doing the same thing over and over and still expect a different outcome.

Thanks very much for your time, really appreciate it. But $150 per hour for this is too much. :)
Hi there

On these Forums we all do this because we usually enjoy computing etc -- but If I got say a gig at Goldman Sachs -- perhaps I should charge maybe 1,000 USD an hour -- they can afford it !!!!!!!


Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7

TheMystic

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
7:13 AM
Posts
696
OS
Windows 11
THINGS I HAVE TRIED SO FAR THAT HASN'T SOLVED THE PROBLEM YET


1. I tried creating a new image.wim file of my existing installation and used this image to do a clean install on the external SSD. The problem is still there. Not able to boot from it.

Keep getting one of the same 3 errors mentioned in the OP. This led me to think the problem could be with some drivers. That's because the only difference between Windows on the internal disk and the one on the external SSD is how they boot (because the image used for installation is the same). My guess was some corrupt USB driver.

So I tried the next step.

2. Removed all the (3rd party) drivers from the ISO and clean installed it. Same result - unable to boot.

3. Added all the drivers back from the backup and again clean installed. Same result - unable to boot.

I just don't understand this.

At this point, I have wasted a lot of time already trying to figure this out. Had I spent a quarter of that time in redoing everything from the beginning, I would most likely have created a perfectly working ISO the way I want. But in that case, I wouldn't have learnt anything new.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I also did this:

1. Clean installed stock Windows.
2. Added all backed up drivers using DISM.
3. Tried booting from the external SSD.

I can boot on my PC, but not on my Mac. Is it because of incompatible USB drivers for Mac? Are these drivers dependent on the external SSD too? Asking because the original drivers that were downloaded were with Windows installed on a different SSD.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Another attempt: This is to check if the boot problem is specific to the Silicon Power SSD due to driver incompatibility.

My Samsung SSD boots fine from ISO 3. If I clone this image to SiliconPower, it boots fine.

So I installed ISO 4 on Samsung SSD to test. And it fails to boot.

So, definitely something wrong with ISO 4. But since ISO 4 installs fine on my internal disk and it boots fine, it is clear that the problem of no boot via USB port points to a specific issue, that is yet to be identified.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Crucial MX500 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender

TheMystic

Well-known member
Power User
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
7:13 AM
Posts
696
OS
Windows 11
WHAT I HAVE DONE SO FAR IN CREATING CUSTOMISED ISOs

01. Clean installed Windows on external Samsung SSD on Windows laptop using Hasleo WinToUSB.
02. Booted from it, ran Windows updates (which also updates drivers for the device), Microsoft Store updates.
03. Rebooted couple of times to update everything.
04. Then booted from the SSD on a Mac.
05. Using external keyboard and mouse, I installed BootCamp drivers.
06. After atleast 4 reboots, all BootCamp drivers were updated.

Now I have an external SSD which can be used to boot into stock Windows (with just BootCamp drivers) from either a PC or a Mac.

I followed steps 26 to 30 below to create ISO 1.

I then wanted to install and setup a few basic programs, configure Windows settings and create an ISO with it so that I don't have to redo these the next time I install Windows. Let's call this ISO 2.

What I did is this:


07. Uninstalled all Microsoft Store apps that I had installed (except those that come pre-installed).
08. Ran %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /audit /reboot - this rebooted the computer and logged me into the built-in Administrator account.
09. Deleted all user accounts and their files.
10. Removed the Microsoft OneDrive appx package using this command: Remove-AppxPackage -Package
Microsoft.OneDriveSync_21196.921.7.0_neutral_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
11. Ran SysPrep.
12. The process completed successfully and rebooted. The system still had all the BootCamp drivers, which is important.
13. I set up Windows again with my Microsoft account.
14. Installed a few programs (not from Microsoft Store) and configured them.
15. Converted my Microsoft account to a local account (because I don't like the name of the user folder it creates from the email address).
16. Enabled the built-in administrator.
17. Logged out of my account.
18. Logged into the Administrator account.
19. Deleted my user account and all files.
20. Created a new user (with Admin privileges) with a name I like.
21. Logged out of Administrator account.
22. Logged into my new user account.
23. Disabled the built-in administrator.

Steps 15 to 23 can be avoided by setting up a local user right during Windows setup. Beginning Windows 11, Microsoft kind of forces the user to use/ create a Microsoft account during setup. One way to bypass this is by using a fake email (non-Microsoft email) during the setup. In this case, Windows will not recognize the Microsoft account and will allow to proceed with a local account instead.

24. Set up my user account the way I like.
25. Installed a few Microsoft Store apps and configured them.
26. Shutdown and booted from a System Installation disk.
27. Created an image of my current setup using this command (with names and paths corrected): dism /capture-image /imagefile:E:\install.wim /capturedir:F:\ /ScratchDir:E:\Scratch /name:"Name of the image" /decription:"Use the version name and build number here" /compress:maximum /checkintegrity /verify /bootable
28. Once the process completed, I booted back to the system.
29. Created an ISO from this image using this command (with names and paths corrected): oscdimg.exe -m -o -u2 -udfver102 -bootdata:2#p0,e,be: \ISO_files\boot\etfsboot.com#pEF,e,be:\ISO_files\efi\microsoft\boot\efisys.bin e:\ISO_files e:\Windows10Prox64.iso
30. Used Hasleo WInToUSB to install the ISO to my external SSD.

I now have an ISO with some customizations, and an external SSD that allows me to boot into Windows on both a PC and a Mac. Let's call this ISO 2.

At this point I realised that the user profile I created and customised, is not the default user profile. So I wanted to setup the default user profile so that every user created in the system will automatically have a few settings and apps (programs) pre-configured. There is no stratightforward way to copy the current user profile to the default user profile.

So here is what I did:

31. Ran %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /audit /reboot - this rebooted the computer and logged me into the built-in Administrator account.
32. Deleted all user accounts and their files.
33. Removed the Microsoft OneDrive appx package using this command: Remove-AppxPackage -Package
Microsoft.OneDriveSync_21196.921.7.0_neutral__8wekyb3d8bbwe (note the extra '_' after neutral). After doing this, I noticed that OneDrive icon in File Explorer is no longer the blue cloud icon, but instead a generic one. And OneDrive doesn't work after I reboot. This can however be fixed by reinstalling OneDrive though, but later after the process is completed.
34. Configured Windows Settings
35. Configured all apps/ programs I have installed. IS THIS ALLOWED? I read that we must not open any installed programs. But I did that anyway to configure them.
36. Deleted some preinstalled Store apps like Facebook, Instagram, etc. IS THIS ALLOWED?
37. Copied the unattend.xml file to C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep.
38. Ran SysPrep.
39. The process completed successfully and rebooted.
40. I set up the new user account again. But this time, there was much little work to do because most of the configurations I did while logged into the built-in Administrator account before running SysPrep, were applied to the default profile, and therefore to my user profile too. I only had to tweak the Start Menu, Taskbar and a handful of Privacy settings.

I was quite happy with the whole thing. So I shutdown and booted from the System installation disk. Repeated steps 27 to 30.

I now have an ISO with many more customizations, a customised Default user profile, and an external SSD that allows me to boot into Windows on both a PC and a Mac. Let's call this ISO 3.

I thought I am now in control of this process.

So I played around with a few things, programs, etc. Then I clean installed ISO 3 on my system (internal disk) just to check. Everything was near perfect. I now wanted to fine tune it even further (there is never an end to perfection).

And this is where my problem started and I am still unable to resolve it.

I repeated steps 31 to 40 above, followed by steps 26 to 30. I probably did not have to repeat step 33 as far as I can remember because OneDrive appx is already uninstalled.

I also did one additional step now. On my previous system using ISO 3, I had bookmarked a few keys in the Registry as favourites. I exported this 'favourites' key to a file which is about 4 KB. Before running Sysprep for creating ISO 4, I imported the favorites key into the registry. IS THIS ALLOWED?

Now I have an ISO (lets call it ISO 4) that has a strange problem. I can use ISO 4 to create a Windows Installation disk that can clean install Windows on my internal disk with all the customizations and pre-configured apps. The internal disk boots fine.

But if install the same ISO to my external SSD, I am unable to boot from it.

WHAT DID I DO WRONG BETWEEN ISO 3 & ISO 4?

How do I make ISO 4 Bootable from external SSD?
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy dv7
    CPU
    Intel Core i7 3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD Graphics 4000 & Nvidia GeForce GT 635M
    Sound Card
    IDT High Definition
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Crucial MX500 on bay 1.
    1 TB Seagate HDD on bay 2.
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
Top Bottom