Although the student deal for Windows 7 is at an exceptional price when compared to purchasing it from other retailers, it seems to follow the “you get what you pay for” saying when it comes to creating a bootable DVD for installation. I am uncertain of the reasoning behind not providing a nicely packaged ISO file, but then again, you did purchase Windows 7 for $29 instead of $219+ … in other words, no complaining!
On to the first step…
Creating an ISO from the downloaded student Windows 7 package requires the oscdimg.exe tool that is included with the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK). Although there is the AIK for Windows 7, the one for Vista will work fine.
Windows AIK (Vista) – works with XP too
If you want to extract the file on your own from Microsoft’s web site, you will need to burn a DVD of the Windows AIK .img file. I am unfamiliar with any Microsoft provided tools, unless you have Windows 7, that are capable of burning an .img file…makes you wonder why Microsoft didn’t just use an ISO. I used ImgBurn to burn the AIK to DVD. Once you have the AIK installed, the oscdimg.exe tool will be located in C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools\.
Extracting the student Windows 7 installation files
After successfully downloading Windows 7, the first stage installer (such as Win7-P-Retail-en-us-x64.exe, setup1.box and setup2.box) will extract the files to the same location as themselves. All of the files should be uncompressed from the “box” and placed in \expandedSetup. After extraction, you should move the folder \expandedSetup to your C:\.
Note: you may receive the following error while extracting: “We are unable to create or save new files in the folder in which this application was downloaded. Please check the folder properties to make sure that you have security permission on the folder to write files and that the folder is not read-only.” Don’t worry about it, continue with this article regardless.
Creating the ISO
Using the oscdimg tool from an elevated command prompt, see my article, run the following command. Make sure you have the appropriate disk space available.
oscdimg -bC:\expandedSetup\boot\etfsboot.com -h -u2 -m -lWIN7_DVD C:\expandedSetup\ C:\7.iso
If you want to understand what the command line options do, review Microsoft’s Oscdimg Command-Line Options page.
Burn the ISO
The final step is to burn the ISO to a blank DVD-R disc. You can use your program of choice – mine is CDBurnerXP.
That’s it…you now have a Windows 7 bootable DVD.