Building Windows 7 x64 with slipstream sp1 & drivers

The issue you face when installing Windows 7 x64 can be related to disk drivers.  So, in my case I’m trying to get a 2 disk SAS RAID on a Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard up and running as the OS with Windows 7 x64

The problem is that loading the drivers in as you progress through the installation from the standard install disks just doesn’t work.  The solution, slipstream the drivers into the windows installation disk; and whilst we’re there may as well update Windows 7 to SP1

The solution I’ve come up with is a bit long winded, but works and I found loads that didn’t!  The first challenge is updating Windows 7 x64 to SP1.  Download the standalone install (windows6.1-KB976932-X64) from MS to achieve this and use RT7lite to specifically target the 64bit installation from the Win7 original install disk, slipstream in the service pack and save as an ISO image.  Nothing more from rt7lite as although its a good package it’s really not the best out there for driver maintenance within the slipstreamed package.

Once you’ve got the Win7 x64 (with SP1) ready, you then use WinToolKit (http://www.wincert.net/) to load the ISO file (WinToolKit doesn’t support slipstreaming service packs!).  Once the ISO file is loaded (and you’ve specified a working directory…see below); add all the drivers that are required for the SAS drive.

This bit is key; the drivers on the ASUS website for this motherboard, Marvell controller, reporting to support Windows 7 64bit do NOT work!  You need to use the drivers that came with the original motherboard

The one on the disk (AMD…see below) is listed in the inf file as follows

[Version]
signature= "$Windows NT$"
Class=SCSIAdapter
ClassGUID={4D36E97B-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
CatalogFile=mv64xx.cat
Provider=%Marvell%
DriverVer=08/01/2008,3.1.0.14.

One strange thing is that the AMD, NOT intel drivers are in my case correct, even though I’m using an intel based machine.  The SAS drivers in my case are then shown as x64 ONLY.  This is the key thing that I really like about WinToolKit.   What you need to remember is that the x64 installer actually runs in x86 mode.  So, you need the x64 drivers in the slipstreamed package; however, you still will need the x86 drivers when starting the install procedure.

At this stage, there are two ways that I used.  Firstly, in order to test the slipstream package, just create a USB bootable disk (drive or dongle) using the function in WinToolKit (very helpful addition).  Then, copy the files using explorer directly from the working directory (from above) and put them on the USB disk.  This should now be good.   Once you’ve got a slipstream package that you want, then burn an ISO using the option in WinToolKit.

Note with my SAS drives / motherboard combo you need to change the “Boot Image” to BIOS ONLY.   If you leave as the default of BIOS & UEFI then it will look like its booting and then will crash with a complaint about windows/system32/winload.exe not being found.

The log that is produced from WinToolKit, in my case now shows the following integration for the drivers:

 D:\Drivers\Raid\Marvell\Driver\amd64\mv64xx.inf
 D:\Drivers\Raid\Marvell\Driver\amd64\mvnodrv.inf
 D:\Drivers\Raid\Marvell\Install\6320\amd64\mv64xx.inf
 D:\Drivers\Raid\Marvell\Install\6320\amd64\mvnodrv.inf

Note again that even when you told WinToolKit to scan the entire directory, only the AMD drivers are included in the package.

When you try to boot from the disk / USB, your SAS drive array will not be found (as you’ve only got the 64bit drivers in the slipstream package).  Get around this by, as part of the install, click the load drivers button to enable the installation to find the SAS array.  At this point, you’ll need to use the INTEL drivers from the original disk; again, NOT from the ASUS website as they don’t work.

Get Windows to install using the intel drivers, and then on bootup it switches (I think) half way through to the slipstreamed x64 version.  The only reason that I’m making this assumption is that if you use the intel drivers but don’t have the AMD drivers in the original package then during boot (safe mode) it will BSOD at loading windows/system32/disk.sys   There are loads of articles on the web blaming bad memory, hardward, etc if this is the last sys file loaded; all of which I assume can be problems, but if this happens, check the drivers for the SAS array as well!!

Hope this helps someone; cheers!


This article relates to the following kit:

  • Asus P6T Deluxe (the original, with SAS ports)
  • 2 SAS drives that I’m trying to install Windows 7 64bit SP1 on configured as a RAID array
  • Marvell 88SE63xx/64xx Adapter running BIOS 3.1.0.3200
  • LSI MegaRaid SAS 9260-4i card in the machine which is used for adding SATA drives under a RAID configuration – Information Only, not used in the article