Continuing Windows Problems

Decided to start a new post from the previous one.

I followed the instructions on how to create a Windows install drive to the letter, the files seems to have been copied cleanly, but the machine still refuses to recognize the drive as a bootable drive, after several attempts.

Now what?

[Friday-afternoon update]

I hadn’t realized that I hadn’t followed up on this, but I ended up giving up and just using Media Writer in Windows from the laptop. It went off without a hitch, except that her Windows installation wasn’t salvageable. That’s why I keep data on a different drive in both OSs. I just did a clean Windows install on the new 1T NVME that I’d installed on the motherboard (this all started when she was running out of room on the 250G SSD that Windows was running on). Anyway, all is well now.

19 thoughts on “Continuing Windows Problems”

  1. Stupid Disks Trick #3:

    Go back to Disks, select the SSD, click on the Settings icon under the partition slider and select the Edit Partition… option from the pop-up menu. In the box that appears, check the Bootable box and then the ‘Change’ button. Exit out of Disks and try again.

    Not saying it will fix the issue. Just something I noticed when playing with my USB stick here at work. Seems like it might be worth a try.

    You see I don’t have a spare computer here to try booting from a ‘foreign device’, and I’m not willing to risk explaining to the IT Dept. why I roached the hard drive on my desktop machine. Fear rules the day!

    I have a dead laptop at home I guess I could bring in and give it a try. It has a bad SSD, but ought to boot off a USB stick, assuming it’s not so old its BIOS doesn’t support that (you see its old enough to have an integrated CD/DVD drive).

  2. Download the Boot Repair live CD, boot from it and see if it can set up your drive to boot.

    If the version of Win that you’re trying to install needs GPT partitions (11?) then you might need to start over with GPT if you have MBR.

    Another issue is that you might need to have a uefi boot (no work around tricks allowed). If that’s the case, your installation will need several partitions. Win is a complicated POS. One of those partitions will need to be labeled as a UEFI partition (fat32), where the Win boot manager will reside. In dual boot systems, that’s where /boot/efi will be mounted on a dual boot Linux partition.

    BTW, I copied an old Win10 ISO onto my Ventoy thumb drive and it was able to boot fine into Ubuntu 24.04 (Noble Numbat) laptop. I declined to have it wipe my drive and install, but it would have been happy to do so. My Ventoy thumb drive has Parted Magic, Boot Repair, Clonezilla, Fedora, HBCD, kubuntu, manjaro-cinnamon, manjaro-gnome, rescuezilla, ubuntu 22.04, ubuntu 24.04, ubuntu-cinnamon, and Win10-1903. All boot from a single Ventoy 64 Gb thumb drive. A Swiss Army Knife that you should get ASAP.

    1. So if I’ve done this right, I downloaded the Ventoy image for Linux on my Linux VM (Ubuntu 22.04-LTS) at work (shh don’t tell anyone). Used the VentoyGUI.x86_64 image to pop-up a GUI and installed it onto my Samsung 256GB USB stick. Then mounted it back on my Windows-10 host to copy the Win-10 ISO I had stored over there onto the USB stick and ejected and removed.

      If I’ve done this correctly, I should be able to boot this USB stick on my defunct laptop at home. I may not be able to install Win-10 because of the broken SSD, but I should be able to boot into the Win-10 installer. Correct?

      If so, I’ll let you know Rand what happened.

      1. Yep worked fine.

        As a bonus, when I aborted the Win10 install and just for grins decided to try to boot the old system it ran a disk check and then booted up! I was able to recover some lost video of old home movies taken by a late uncle from days long past.

        I am typing this post on that laptop!
        I consider this day a total win!

        Thanks Rand for having a crashed machine. Your loss put me on a serendipitous path to recovery!

      2. I’ve ordered a couple more 256GB Samsung USB thumb drives and looking forward to making that bootable Swiss Army knife that is actually still a knife. 🙂

  3. Are people sure that booting Windows off a USB stick is something Windows does without considerable hacking?

    I thought that a copy of Windows is licensed to some hardware signature in the processor.

    Back in ancient times, we would install Windows on a disk drive of a computer used by a graduate student in our research group, and when this student graduated, we would move the drive to boot another computer, moving wholesale that student’s research results and the software configuration used in the simulations and numerical experiments to generate those results, to another PC if needed.

    Don’t know which Windows version was the last to allow this, but newer versions appeared to “install” to the motherboard and this disks swapping business was no longer workable.

    In that environment, I don’t see Microsoft making it the least bit easy to have a portable Windows installation specific to a USB drive that could boot different computers.

    1. If I have followed this correctly, he is creating a windows boot drive to install a fresh windows on the laptop, not a portable windows that can be used on more than one pc. The mystery is why the pc won’t recognize the USB stick to do the fresh install.

      The whole process should be super simple and retain all his files and settings, except for the mystery messing things up.

      But I could be wrong, only skimmed the posts to get a general sense of what is going on.

    2. Paul,

      FWIW I have been able to boot from an unlicensed Win10 ISO in the past under VirtualBox no problem. The only issue is that until you purchase a license you can’t personalize the desktop and other annoyances, along with gentle nags about getting a license, but for the major stuff it seems to work just fine, including fetching updates from the mothership. I would assume you can do the same thing off a boot media that can been conditioned properly.

      As MichiCanuck points out, getting that media ‘conditioned properly’ is a bit a challenge for Windows. UEFI didn’t make that much easier either, nor did Windows drift away from the old MBR way of doing things…

      I sometimes will do this to test out or experiment with certain tools or O/S features without running the risk of disturbing/breaking same said things on the licensed host.

    1. Drop to your knees, kiss Gates’ ring, and buy a Windows laptop.

      I have something that Gates can kiss…

  4. I’ve got a Ventoy UBS drive and just dropped WIIN10 ISO in the directory.
    Booted Ventoy and picked the Win ISO from the list and it started to install just fine.

  5. By yourself a cheap M.2 NVME shell and when you upgrade again you easily clone old to new and replace. Assuming you don’t wait for a crash before an update. 🙂

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