How to create an all-in-one Windows 7 install disk

With the help of the WinAIO Maker Professional tool you can make a master copy of your Windows 7 disk that contains all the available editions.

You are probably tired of carrying around multiple editions of Microsoft Windows 7 when servicing PCs for your clients or users. Instead, make a master copy of your Windows 7 disk that contains all the editions you need. It's simple, really. All it takes is a quick tool download, a disk rip, a setup modification, and a save to a DVD or thumb drive.

Every Windows 7 install disk includes all the editions of the operating system, the editions not pertinent to the purchased copy are merely hidden from view. For that reason, one disk from any edition (Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate) will suffice for this procedure. However, if you want to combine x86 and x64 versions of Windows 7 together as well, you must have disks for both x86 and x64 versions of Windows 7 handy.

WinAIO Maker Professional

To begin, download the WinAIO Maker Professional tool. Extract the zip archive and launch the program accordingly. You will be presented with the following window (Figure A) as your main interface.

Figure A

This is the WinAIO Maker Professional main window.
Proceed by inserting your Windows 7 disk into your DVD-ROM drive, then click the DVDToISO button, select your ISO Export path as well as disk drive, and, finally, click the Start button (Figure B). Repeat this step if you wish to incorporate a second architecture, such as x86, into the all-in-one installer. Just be sure to give the resulting ISO another filename to differentiate it from the other rip.

Figure B

Select DVD to ISO.
Now we are going to extract the ISO contents to a separate directory in order to gain access to the install.wim file, which we need to modify (Figure C). Simply click the ISO2Folder button, select the newly created ISO and a destination directory for the extracted files, then click Extract. Once again, if you intend to incorporate an alternative architecture, repeat this process, only this time selecting a different folder for a destination.

Figure C

Extract to a folder destination.
With the ISO extracted, click the Select WIMs button in the main window, open the directory containing the ISO dump, open the Sources directory, and select the install.wim file. This will populate a list of Windows 7 editions for you to see (Figure D). If there are editions you do not wish to include on the all-in-one disk, select any image from the list and click the Delete Image button.

Once you are satisfied with everything, be sure to click the Save All Changes button at the top to begin processing your custom wim file. This might take a few minutes. After processing, select Yes when prompted to clean all *.cfg and *.clg files.

Figure D

Select the editions you wish to include on your all-in-one-disk.
Now for the grand finale, click the Save All into ISO button to begin generating the final product for burning to DVD (Figure E). Be sure to type in a name within the Label field and choose a destination for said ISO file. Once you click Make ISO, kick back and relax as the ISO file builds.

Upon completion, you can burn the ISO file to disk using Windows 7's image burner (or any other CD/DVD burning software if you are on XP or Vista operating systems).

Figure E

Burn to a DVD.

Alternatively, if you wish to create an all-in-one Windows 7 installer thumb drive, use the WinToUSB option instead from the main window. Have a freshly formatted USB drive plugged in and select it as well as the source folder for your custom all-in-one installer in order to proceed.

Figure F

Choose your Windows 7 edition.

Congratulations! You have simplified your future Windows 7 install experiences, and you will never have to carry around every edition and version on separate disks again.

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An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

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