Windows 7 on NVMe SSD - THE FORBIDDEN WAY
#10094
For whatever reason my PC really did not want to boot NVMe + USB 3 patched setup, instead opting to hang or instantly reboot on the Starting Windows splash screen, so I had to conjure an Alternative Method of getting Nanami Madobe acquainted with my brand spanking new 1TB NVMe SSD. I tried many an unorthodox method, but eventually my indomitable will led me to a solution I honestly should've tried right from the get go. Requirements are as follows:

* A Windows 7 ISO with USB 3.0 drivers and KB3087873 + KB2990941 slipstreamed. You can use a combination of DISM and MSI Smart Tool (though depending on your vendor YMMV) to achieve this easily or ask in chat for a ready-made ISO.
* A disk drive - not your NVMe drive, as this will need to be formatted - with around 20GB free.
* Your computer must already have a bootable operating system that can recognise your NVMe disk. If you have no operating system yet this should be doable with a Linux live USB without the instructions varying too much provided you have a large enough RAMdisk or USB drive.

Do note that I have ONLY tried this on a Skylake PC; subsequent Intel chipsets are known to play funny with Windows 7, so if this is you, proceed with caution.

Step-by-step guide:

1. Start setup as normal in a VirtualBox VM with the slipstreamed ISO. I found VMware would always crash just as my physical machine would, but VirtualBox seems to chug along just fine. Do NOT attach a virtual NVMe controller or setup will crash, even on VirtualBox -- choosing SATA worked fine for me.

2. When the first stage of setup is complete and it comes time to reboot, power off the virtual machine.

3. Use qemu-img to image the VirtualBox hard disk (.vdi) contents to a raw image. Do note that this will require you to have the entire max capacity specified on the .vdi free on your disk. Use the command qemu-img convert -f vdi -O raw image.vdi image.img.

4. Ready up a raw imaging tool -- on Linux this would be dd; on Windows I opted for HDD Raw Copy Tool. Select your target image and your target NVMe drive. This will replace all contents and write the boot sector previously created in the virtual machine.

5. Reboot your system, instructing it to boot from the NVMe drive. If all went well, setup will complete and you will be able to boot to the desktop.

6. Considering you probably didn't make the virtual disk image the exact same size as your drive, open diskmgmt.msc and expand your C: volume to reclaim the unused space.

You are now set! Well, almost. Windows 7 is ancient by now and probably didn't instantly pick up your internet drivers or anything. You should probably keep core drivers ready on a USB drive or perhaps even slipstream them into your ISO in advance. You will definitely wish to install KB4474419 (SHA-2 code signing) and KB2670838 (Platform Update) in order to maximize compatibility. Enjoy Windows 7 on your 3GB/s SSD, more than a year since the extended support deadline!

If you've come into difficulty with this guide, particularly at the booting stage, it may be that your motherboard or SSD does not support legacy MBR boot. If you've already messed around in your BIOS settings to no avail, or if your SSD is larger than two terabytes so there was no avail to begin with, you can try a yet untested method of, before starting setup, pressing Shift+F10, opening diskpart, typing select disk 0, and then convert gpt. Reboot the system and proceed with the steps.

Hopefully this was not too shit and you can find success! Personally I'm glad I can ride the Windows 7 train for a little longer, because I am certainly not raving about its successors. DWM is oppressive !!!!!!!!!
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