Posted on March 3, 2017 · Posted in Windows 7

Adding USB 3.0 Controller Drivers to Windows 7 Install Media

Out-of-the-box Windows 7 RTM distribution doesn’t support USB 3.0, and you can face some problems with the installation of Windows 7 on a computer/laptop having USB 3.0 ports only (This is the situation with majority of new devices.) For instance, USB keyboard and mouse may not work in Windows 7 Setup, or the installer may require to load drivers for your CD/DVD drive:

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

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.

To install Windows 7 correctly on some computer models, you can disable USB 3.0 mode in BIOS and switch to USB 2.0 compatibility mode (Legacy USB 2.0). In all other cases, you will have to modify Windows 7 installation media  and integrate USB 3.0 driver for your motherboard chipset to  the boot and install images of the system.

First of all, find USB 3.0 drivers for your chipset and download them from the manufacturer website. (In our example, it is Intel® USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller Driver for Intel® 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family). Create the directory c:\tmp and create two more folders inside it: mount and USB3. Unpack the archive with drivers to USB3 folder.

Then you have to update Windows install image (it may be an ISO file or a ready image copied to an installation USB stick). You’ll need two files to be copied to c:\tmp:

  1. sources\boot.wim
  2. sources\install.wim

Windows 7 boot.wim  and install.wim

Start command prompt with the administrator privileges, mount WinPE (boot.wim) install image using DISM and integrate USB 3.0 drivers into it:

dism /mount-wim /wimfile:c:\tmp\boot.wim /index:2 /mountdir:c:\tmp\mount
dism /image:c:\tmp\mount /add-driver:"c:\tmp\usb3" /recurse

dism /image:c:\tmp\mount /add-driver usb

These strings show that the driver has been successfully added to the image:

Installing 1 of 6 — c:\tmp\usb3\Drivers\HCSwitch\x64\iusb3hcs.inf: The driver package was successfully installed.

Save the changes in the image and unmount it:

dism /unmount-wim /mountdir:c:\tmp\mount /commit

In the same way update the system image in install.wim. The main difference is that install.wim can contain several Windows 7 editions with different indexes. So you will have to integrate drivers to that Windows edition(s) you are going to install.

The list of available system edition can be obtained as follows:

dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:c:\tmp\install.wim

dism Get-WimInfo

In our example, there are 4 editions in the image. We’ll add the USB 3.0 driver to Windows 7 PROFESSIONAL with the index 3 (this number will be used to address the edition using DISM).

Then add the drivers to the system image like we did it above:

dism /mount-wim /wimfile:c:\tmp\install.wim /index:3 /mountdir:c:\tmp\mount
dism /image:c:\tmp\mount /add-driver:"c:\tmp\usb3" /recurse
dism /unmount-wim /mountdir:c:\tmp\mount /commit

It remains to copy the updated install.wim and boot.wim files to the installation USB stick, or update the ISO file. Now you can use this image to install Windows 7 on systems with USB 3.0 controller.

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