How-to Burn a Windows Thin PC Bootable DVD

Following on from our Windows Thin PC launch story, the preview version downloaded in short order. Aimed at low-powered and older machines, there were high expectations of a quick start. However… our test machine is so old that is has trouble recognising newer bootable format DVD’s. It won’t even boot, all we get this error message:

CDBOOT: Cannot boot from disk – Code: 5
Boot Failure.
Reboot and Select proper Boot device
or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device
Press any key when ready

There’s nothing broken in the PC, the DVD drive, controller, motherboard or the AMI BIOS. We can’t boot from USB stick since the BIOS doesn’t support it. The error seems to be an incompatibility of AMI-powered motherboards with the DVD boot sector used by Microsoft in current installation DVD’s…

Researching this problem, which dates back to Windows 7 Beta, we discovered a brilliant free disk-burning program ImgBurn which burns disks compatible with these older motherboards.

ImgBurn does require a proper boot sectorto include in it’s image file. If you have a Windows Vista of 7 boot DVD available, the boot sector can be extracted from this DVD. We didn’t, which led us to a second free program, vLite, a Vista customisation tool. In the installed  program directory of vLite there is a suitable file “boot.bin”, which is a compatible boot sector.

The following detailed instructions for Imgburn are from the SuperUser site. There’s quite a lot going on in this, so take it slowly a step at a time. You may want to run a simulted burn and verify the image first and put the image onto a USB stick so you can test that it boots correctly before burning to physical media.

  1. After starting ImgBurn, choose in the overview “Create image file from files/folders
  2. Insert Windows Vista DVD. On the “Advanced” tab -> “Bootable Disc” -> “Extract Boot Image” select the appropriate DVD drive and then click on the floppy icon.
  3. Give the boot sector file a meaningful name; e.g. “Vista-BootImage.ima”
  4. The next message window will ask whether this file shall be used for the current project;  this saves filling out the above fields manually
  5. The fields under “Make Image Bootable” is automatically filled
  6. On the “Options” tab, select “ISO9660 + UDF” and activate the checkbox for “Include Hidden Files” and “Include System Files”
  7. On the “Labels” tab add the “Volume Label” for ISO9660 and UDF
  8. On the “Advanced” tab -> “Restrictions” -> “ISO9660” activate the checkbox “Don’t Add ‘;1’ Version Number To Files”
  9. On the “Advanced” tab -> “Restrictions” -> “UDF” nothing needs to be changed
  10. Now insert the Windows 7 installation DVD and choose the DVD as source
  11. Choose “Destination” ISO file name
  12. For creating the ISO file click on the large button
  13. After a short analysis the ISO file is created
  14. After completion of the ISO file select the “Ez-Mode Picker”
  15. As final step choose “Write image file to disc” in the overview window to burn the newly created ISO image file to disc
  16. Select the just created ISO file as source
  17. Insert a blank DVD and click the big ‘burn’ button to burn the ISO.

AJS

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