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Windows 7 install error: "A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing" #

While attempting to install Windows 7 on a Dell Optiplex 3040 Micro, the following error appeared:

A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, please insert it now.

Note: If the Windows installation media is in the CD/DVD drive, you can safely remove it for this step.

Browse | OK | Cancel

(As it turns out, the problem is caused by a missing USB 3.0 driver, so installing via USB floppy, CD/DVD, flash drive, etc was not possible.)

Browsing for a driver on the virtual X: drive returned:

No device drivers were found. Make sure that the installation media contains the correct drivers, and then click OK.

Reports online did not sound promising, e.g.: 'No device drivers were found' error when installing windows 7 on new computer "FINAL EDIT - If you're here for answers, while nothing here worked for me, that doesn't mean it won't work for you, so I suggest you try everything here if you can. What I ended up doing is giving up on windows 7 and instead installed windows 10.").

Coming up with a working solution took more time than anyone else should ever have to invest in this issue again. Here's what worked for me:

  1. Format a USB drive as NTFS. If necessary, use diskpart.exe:

    1. list disk

    2. select disk x, where x is the number assigned to your USB drive

    3. clean

    4. create partition primary

    5. select partition 1

    6. active

    7. format fs=ntfs quick

    8. assign

    9. exit

  2. Copy files and folders from Windows 7 ISO or DVD to USB drive

  3. Download Intel(R) USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller Driver and extract contents

  4. Download, install, and run NTLite

  5. Click "Add" > "Image folder" > select drive letter of USB drive (E: in the example that follows) > click "Select Folder"

  6. Under "Operating systems | install.wim", right click the version of Windows that corresponds to your license and then click "Load":

  7. Once loading has completed, click "Drivers" in the left-hand column:

  8. Click "Add" > "Folder with multiple drivers" > browse to the folder containing extracted driver(s) > click "Select Folder"

  9. Click "Apply" in left-hand column > click green "Process" button at top left > "Yes"

  10. When processing is complete, click "Source" in the left-hand column to return to the main window

  11. Repeat steps 6 through 10 for the two entries under "Boot/Setup | boot.wim" (in the screenshots above, they are "Microsoft Windows PE (x86)" and "Windows 7 Setup")

  12. If desired, make an ISO image of the USB drive (for burning to DVD-R, etc) by right clicking E: under "Image history" and then clicking "Create ISO"

  13. The USB drive or ISO image can now be used to install Windows 7 on the affected computer (see below for a list of all affected Dell models)



  • How to Install Windows 7 with only USB 3.0 Ports outlines a similar process using dism, but assumes a preexisting USB-based Windows 7 installer.

  • /windows | Aug 21, 2016

    All empty boats #

    If a man is crossing a river
    and an empty boat
    collides with his own boat,
    he won’t get offended or angry,
    however hot-tempered he may be.
    But if the boat is manned,
    he may flare up, shouting and cursing,
    just because there’s a rower.

    Realize that all boats are empty
    as you cross the river of the world,
    and nothing can possibly offend you.

    From chapter 43 of Stephen Mitchell's The Second Book of the Tao

    /misc | Jul 19, 2016

    Missing photos after upgrading iPhoto 6 to iPhoto 9.6.1 or Photos 1.5 #


    1. Old Mac running OS X 10.6.8 with iPhoto 6 library containing 5,238 items
    2. Imported data, including iPhoto Library, to new Mac running OS X 10.11.5 and Photos 1.5. via Migration Assistant.
    3. Photos Library displayed only 1,794 photos (through September 2010), even though all photos were found in ~/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/Masters and ~/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/Previews.
    4. Deleted Photo Library and iPhoto Library, manually copied iPhoto Library from old Mac again, relaunched both iPhoto and Photos - same result.
    5. Attempting to run iPhoto Library Upgrader 1.1 (which "prepares libraries from iPhoto 7 or earlier so they can be upgraded with the current version of iPhoto") on yet another copy of the original iPhoto Library returned "Your library can open with the current version of iPhoto and does not need to be prepared with this tool."
    6. Rebuilding the iPhoto library on both the old and new Mac (by holding down Command and Option while starting iPhoto, etc) did not help.
    7. Opening yet another copy of the original iPhoto Library in iPhoto Library Manager showed only the same 1,794 photos and misidentified the library as an iPhoto 8 library.


    1. Copied original iPhoto Library to a third Mac running OS X 10.6.8 and iPhoto 6 (all 5,238 items appeared in iPhoto).
    2. Installed iPhoto Library Manager 3.8.6 (for Mac OS X 10.5.8 and iPhoto 7.1.5 and earlier).
    3. iPhoto Library Manager.app > File > Rebuild Library. As Christoph Bartneck explains, "The software has a tool to recover corrupted libraries. But it works differently from Apple’s approach. It starts with a fresh clean library and imports all the photos, including their meta data, such as location, faces, date. It also manages to rebuild albums and folders."
    4. Copied rebuilt iPhoto Library to new Mac running OS X 10.11.5.
    5. Ran iPhoto Library Upgrader 1.1 (which now ran normally intead of returning "Your library can open with the current version of iPhoto and does not need to be prepared with this tool" as above).
    6. Opened the upgraded iPhoto Library in iPhoto 9.6.1, which reported "This photo library needs to be upgraded to work with this version of iPhoto." After the upgrade process, all 5,238 items (including albums, metadata, etc) appeared intact!
    7. Opened Photos.app which imported the entire iPhoto Library successfully.

    /mac | Jul 18, 2016

    Copy actual URLs from Google search results, not nested nonsense #

    Redirects in Google search results are not only a privacy concern, but also a major pain when trying to simply copy and paste links: These two extensions/add-ons (via HackerNews) help reduce needless suffering:

    /misc | Jul 10, 2016

    Stop ransomware process and dump memory to extract key #

    Anti Ransom v3 "creates a random decoy folder with many useless random documents (Excel, PDF) and then it monitors the folder waiting for changes. When a change is detected, AntiRansom tries to identify which process is the responsible of such change and then stops it and dump the memory process (hopefully the key or password that is being used by the ransomware is inside)".

    /windows | Jul 09, 2016

    Music of the gears #

    Paweł Zadrożniak makes beautiful music with an orchestra of hard disks, floppy drives, and scanners:

    /misc | Jul 08, 2016

    Extract passwords and more from memory #

    mimikittenz "is a post-exploitation powershell tool that utilizes the Windows function ReadProcessMemory() in order to extract plain-text passwords from various target processes".

    Basic usage:

    1. Run Windows PowerShell as administrator
    2. cd to directory containing Invoke-mimikittenz.ps1 (e.g., Downloads)
    3. PS C:\Users\user\Downloads> Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
    4. PS C:\Users\user\Downloads> Import-Module $pwd\Invoke-mimikittenz.ps1
    5. PS C:\Users\user\Downloads> Invoke-mimikittenz

    Sample result:

    PatternName       PatternMatch
    -----------       ------------
    Gmail             &Email=tinyapps@gmail.com&Passwd=PASSWORD_IN_PLAINTEXT&Persiste...

    See also:

    /windows | Jul 08, 2016

    Installing grepmail in OS X 10.11 #

    grepmail is a search tool for mbox files, including those compressed with gzip, bzip2, lzip, or xz.
    1. If you do not have the Command Line Developer Tools installed, run $ xcode-select --install to install them.
    2. Install lzip and xz from source (1, 2), your favorite package manager (Homebrew, MacPorts, etc), or Rudix
    3. $ sudo perl -MCPAN -e shell
    4. cpan[1]> install grepmail
    5. cpan[2]> exit
    6. If, like me, you receive a "command not found" error when attempting to run grepmail, repeat steps 2-4 to resolve.

    /mac | Jul 06, 2016

    Find the product version and build information of an OS X installer #

    The hard way:

    The easy way (thanks to Johann N. Löfflmann):

    # Find the OS X version and build information of an OS X installer
    # see Johann N. Löfflmann's blog post for more information:
    # http://loefflmann.blogspot.com/2015/03/finding-os-x-version-and-build-in-install-os-x-app.html
    # Assumes installer is in default location (/Applications);
    # change path in first hdiutil command if it is located elsewhere.
    # Tested on OS X 10.7 - 10.11 installers
    APPNAME="Install OS X Yosemite.app" # Change to desired version
    hdiutil attach "/Applications/$APPNAME/Contents/SharedSupport/InstallESD.dmg" -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/InstallESD.$$ > $DEBUG
    hdiutil attach "/Volumes/InstallESD.$$/BaseSystem.dmg" -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/BaseSystem.$$ > $DEBUG
    if [[ "$XMLCONTENT" =~ \<key\>ProductVersion\</key\>[[:space:]]*\<string\>([0-9\.]+)\</string\> ]]; then
        printf "ProductVersion: %s\n" ${BASH_REMATCH[1]}
    if [[ "$XMLCONTENT" =~ \<key\>ProductBuildVersion\</key\>[[:space:]]*\<string\>([0-9A-Z]+)\</string\> ]]; then
        printf "BuildVersion:   %s\n" ${BASH_REMATCH[1]}
    hdiutil detach "/Volumes/BaseSystem.$$" > $DEBUG
    hdiutil detach "/Volumes/InstallESD.$$" > $DEBUG

    UPDATE: Johann has an updated version of his script on GitHub: osxapp_vers.

    /mac | Jul 01, 2016

    Cloning a failing hard drive to a smaller drive #

    Faced with a rapidly-worsening hard drive (and after backing up critical data), I hoped to clone the Windows install to a smaller drive (the only one on hand). Kanguru's Mobile Clone HD One-To-One Duplicator (KCLONE-1HD-MBC) has gotten me out of similar binds before, but cloning to smaller drives is not currently supported.

    Here are the boot discs I tried in order and their results (for a similar list, see Windows won't boot (or boots only once) after SSD upgrade):
    1. Paragon Drive Copy 15 Professional - crashed
    2. Acronis True Image 2016 - crashed
    3. HDClone 6.1.5 Advanced Edition - produced a non-working clone with missing partitions
    4. Image for Windows 2.99-00 - produced a working clone!
    I was happily surprised astounded that my version 2 license from 2008 was still valid for the current version (2.99-00), which was released as recently as February 25, 2016. Many thanks to TeraByte for a great product and the super-long term support!

    /windows | Jun 16, 2016

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