Make a universal Windows 7 disc with ease

The most annoying thing about being a "geek" is the need to be prepared for anything that can go wrong with a computer. With Windows, this becomes even more complicated, as you need to have a disc for each and every edition of the OS. With Vista, Microsoft introduced a universal disc, but for some reason, with Windows 7, Microsoft felt it better to return to their old ways and make each disc edition specific.

Technibble made a post about this very issue a few weeks ago. It's not that the Windows 7 discs don't contain all editions of the OS, but rather a small 51 byte file is present, restricting the disc to a specific one. To change this, a user would have to manually mess with the disc image. He'd have to create a new ISO from his DVD, remove the ei.cfg file, and write the new ISO back to the DVD.

To make this simpler, a coder has released a small utility that will take care of this, allowing anyone to alter the ISO without the worry of messing something up. It's called the ei.cfg Removal Utility, and will take your ISO and tell it to ignore the ei.cfg file. You can then burn the image back to a DVD, and use it with any legitimate license key for any edition of Windows 7. You will be able to select whichever edition you want when you first start the installer. The disc will also make it easier to service any edition that's already installed on a machine. Of course, you need a separate ISO for each version (both 32 and 64-bit). But still, 2 discs are better than 8 (sorry, this won't work for Enterprise). This tool will surely make techies lives easier.

Download: ei.cfg Removal Utility

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the utility and this simple text is all I needed to make flawless known good ISO's for all Windows 7 flavors.
"ei.cfg Removal Utility will make this easy for you. Just create an ISO with your legitimate Windows 7 DVD, run this tool, choose the ISO and let it run. Once it has finished, just write the ISO back to a DVD again and you would only need to carry one 32bit version and one 64bit version to support any Windows 7 install onsite." from Technibble of coarse.

On a side note, this link is to Kai Liu's site. I've used his HashCheck Shell Extension since mid-to-late 2008. He updated it and his other software regularly. I also communicated with him via email periodically.

Does anyone know what happened to him?

He just completely went silent and/or vanished in mid-August or so. He travels a bit. So, at first I thought that might be it, but now I'm afraid he was in an accident or something else happened.

I've known about this the ei.cfg file since July when the Windows 7 RTM was leaked and released to TechNet and MSDN. I just renamed the file to "ei_cfg.bak" in case I ever wanted to use the file again, but I also kept my original untouched ISO files. I used UlgraISO to edit the original ISOs and save the change to a new ISO file.

That said, this little utility is nice because it opens up options for those with less knowledge/skill and/or that don't want to fool with manually creating their ISO files.

atifsh said,
and why is this news ??? ppl are doing it since the beta's...

Amen! For those interested do a search for:

SLIC table 2.1

I made a universal Windows 7 DVD (ISO and USB) that has both x32 and 64 editions of Enterprise, Ultimate, and Professional all on the same disc over 6 months ago. One disc for everything. Very simple to make with a little WIM knowledge. This above is very old news for anyone playing around in the world of imaging.

Brian Jackson said,
I made a universal Windows 7 DVD (ISO and USB) that has both x32 and 64 editions of Enterprise, Ultimate, and Professional all on the same disc over 6 months ago. One disc for everything. Very simple to make with a little WIM knowledge. This above is very old news for anyone playing around in the world of imaging.

You did well to create an Win7 Enterprise Edition disk along with the others, personally I call "BS"

I figure it's easier to manage just 3 discs for each the main editions HP P and U and maybe have a universal USB stick for back up sake. that way can manage everything from netbooks to desktops

Those instructions are cool - nice to see a more simple tool to use other than the Windows 7 OPK. I used the OPK to make my AIO for both x86 & x64, and I included Enterprise as well...

LDS MEMBER 2004 said,
So can you still make it a usb bootable image?

I used an efi removal tool on an .iso I had and then used Microsoft's USB tool to make it bootable on my flash drive, but it had issues. It would boot and start to install, but then would get some sort of error. It also didn't give me the choice of which flavor to install which was odd.

I used a different efi tool that this one, so there's a chance that one was faulty. Just my experience though.

Escalade_GT said,
I used an efi removal tool on an .iso I had and then used Microsoft's USB tool to make it bootable on my flash drive, but it had issues. It would boot and start to install, but then would get some sort of error. It also didn't give me the choice of which flavor to install which was odd.

I used a different efi tool that this one, so there's a chance that one was faulty. Just my experience though. :)

well opening the iso with "ultra iso" or any similar program
then deleteing the efi.cfg
then save
it's done there is no easier way that this

and if you used the Microsoft Usb tool you would go to the flash and remove the file it's still easy

They did it to simplify things for the end user. People would buy a retail copy, install the wrong edition, and then the key wouldn't work. This workaround for power users isn't really that inconvenient.

Trajik 2600 said,
They did it to simplify things for the end user. People would buy a retail copy, install the wrong edition, and then the key wouldn't work. This workaround for power users isn't really that inconvenient.

Was that even possible? IIRC you're asked to enter the key early into setup and based on the key you enter it picks the version. You were only asked to choose the version if you chose not to enter a key.

protocol7 said,
Was that even possible? IIRC you're asked to enter the key early into setup and based on the key you enter it picks the version. You were only asked to choose the version if you chose not to enter a key.

You answered your own question.

protocol7 said,
Was that even possible? IIRC you're asked to enter the key early into setup and based on the key you enter it picks the version. You were only asked to choose the version if you chose not to enter a key.

That's how I remember it as well.

ccoltmanm said,
I just keep my discs on top of my desk in a nice line. Is it that hard to just keep them close?

Some people don't just use PC's at home. Some do tech work in home or others office. Carrying 2 disks is a lot easier than 8.

devn00b said,
Some people don't just use PC's at home. Some do tech work in home or others office. Carrying 2 disks is a lot easier than 8.


Yes, because when people buy blank discs in packs greater than 2 they no doubt lose them and carrying 8 discs (since everyone always buys 8 versions) is far more complex than remembering how to manually edit the ei.cfg file.

devn00b said,
Some people don't just use PC's at home. Some do tech work in home or others office. Carrying 2 disks is a lot easier than 8.

Exactly. I'm a tech & also a member of Technibble and this tool has been great asset.

Or 12 for XP: Home, Home OEM, Home ULCPC, Pro, Pro OEM, Pro 64-bit, Tablet Edition, 64-bit (for Itanium), 64-bit (2003), MCE, MCE 2004 and MCE 2005. Oh I almost forgot about N, K and KN... is that 18? did I miss any? lol

Yep, I carry around a few different disks.. the AIO XP, the AIO Vista, and now the AIO W7... x86 and x64 editions of the last two. When I'm onsite, Carrying these few cds is better than having to bring the PC back to the shop.

majortom1981 said,
You should also mention that this stil ldoesnt change the disc from a retail , volume licensing, or oem copy.

Actually I think you can. I used a retail copy of Vista to do a clean install on my laptop and used the OEM key from the laptop and it worked fine. What you say is definitely true for versions of Windows prior to Vista though.

And so you know, the "Enterprise Edition" they mentioned is the volume licensed version.

majortom1981 said,
You should also mention that this stil ldoesnt change the disc from a retail , volume licensing, or oem copy.

I used a retail copy of 7 Home Premium with my OEM key.

It's better than that, you can actually insert a new product key into windows AFTER it is installed to change between OEM/VLK/Retail editions. Only works for editions of the same version (i.e. Retail Ultimate -> OEM Ultimate), but the disk is the same for all versions.

HAs anybody tried this with a vlk . I thought volume licensing versions validated differently then retail copies . So how would using a retail disc work with a volume licensing key ?

Exactly, Windows 7 does not use VLK keys like Windows XP did. The only way is to use Enterprise edition and like it says in the article, it doesn't work for Enterprise. Enterprise is different from all other editions of Windows as it does use a VLK key.

So then this is not a total universal disc. There is another volume licensing version other then just enterprise .Profesional has a volume licensing version also.

So that warning should be edited in .

So you would need to carry around 4 discs 32 bit oem/retail 64bit oem/retail 32bit vlk and 64bit vlk.

Enterprise edition requires an authentication server to be set up on the network, much like Server 2008 activations. And, I might be wrong on this, you need a minimum of 25 Win 7 Enterprise requesting activation for the authentication server to start activating the clients.

Odom said,
Enterprise edition requires an authentication server to be set up on the network, much like Server 2008 activations. And, I might be wrong on this, you need a minimum of 25 Win 7 Enterprise requesting activation for the authentication server to start activating the clients.

You can use microsofts activation server but get a certain amount of activations depeding on how many licenses you have via your mak key

majortom1981 said,
You should also mention that this stil ldoesnt change the disc from a retail , volume licensing, or oem copy.

Since windows vista, the disc hasnt mattered for these permutations, OEM, Retail, and VL keys will work fine on the same media.

souldreamer said,
I used a retail copy of 7 Home Premium with my OEM key.

Same, except mine was a Windows 7 Home Premium "Upgrade" disc. Did a clean install on my laptop using the on-hand disc w/o using any Key. Later when I received my OEM disc, the KEY that came with it worked fine (no need for reinstall).

majortom1981 said,
You should also mention that this stil ldoesnt change the disc from a retail , volume licensing, or oem copy.

I think since vista the installation media is now all the same (with the exception of the ei.cfg file on win7) and whether you have VL,retail or OEM is all down to the product key used.