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Can't install Win7 from USB on HP Elitebook 745 G3

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Elitebook 745 G3
Microsoft Windows 7 (64-bit)

I bought a Elitebook 745 G3 about a month ago and wiped/installed Windows 7 with a bootable UEFI USB 3.0 drive with absolutely NO problems.  It worked like a champ.

Now...here's the kicker.  I ordered a second 745 (both of these were bought from CDW...so it was a legit/reliable vendor) and attempted to wipe/install Windows with the EXACT same USB flash drive, using the same process.  But for some reason I'm getting the following error... "Load Driver  -  A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing.  If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, please insert it now"

I've seen a similar message before, mostly on servers asking for the RAID controller driver, but never on a laptop.  I read that Intel is no longer shipping USB 2.0 with their new processors.  But this is an AMD...so that shouldn't apply.

 

 

I'm totally stumped.  I've been trying to get the OS installed and here's what I've tried...with results.

  • Tried moving the USB drive to a different port.  Same result.
  • Tried to turn off USB 3.0 in the BIOS....this BIOS doesn't have that distinction.  Only the ability to disable USB all together.
  • I can still boot to the shipped OS.  Flashed the BIOS with the latest from HP hoping I'd gain the ability to disable USB 3.0.....no dice.
  • Tried booting to legacy rather than UEFI....same result
  • Created a new UEFI bootable flash drive (Win7) on a USB 2.0 stick....same result.
  • Booted to the shipped OS and placed the AMD USB 3.0 drivers on the C: drive.  I attempted to boot again, but this time when I got the error, I browsed to the C: drive and pointed it to the folder where those AMD USB drivers were.  It found the AMD USB 3.0 Host Controller, but when I click "Next", it yells at me saying there was an error with this driver and to get an updated one from the manufacturer.  (Not sure if I didn't copy all the files...but there wasn't much to copy.)
  • Secure Boot is off, but I cleared the Secure Boot Key (? I think that's what the BIOS calls it) and unchecked the Secure Boot CA setting.....same results
  • Reset the BIOS to factory defaults....same results

So I'm just wondering if anyone else has run across this.  I'll be contacting HP tomorrow, but I thought I'd throw it on here in the community too.  Because I was able to perform this on an identical 745 G3 just a few weeks ago, I've got to think either A) there's a BIOS setting I'm missing or B) AMD has changed the hardware and I got two different versions of this laptop.

Thanks,

 

Chris

Chris Phillips
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I'm more surprised by your success with the first machine.

 

For some reason, I couldn't feed the USB3 drivers to the Win7 install by putting them on the USB stick.  I think by the time it's asking for it, the USB controller is already in XHCI mode and so the built-in drivers are no longer able to see any USB sticks.

 

I was able to feed the USB3 drivers to it by putting it on the SATA drive (actually m.2 SATA SSD) built-into the machine, though.  You'd have to do it by booting into it first, or if there's no way to boot at the moment, you'd have to take the drive out and use another machine to put the drivers on it.

 

Eventually, I just slipstreamed USB3 drivers into the Win7 installation USB, so I didn't need the trick anymore, but for a single installation, the trick of putting the drivers onto the built-in SATA drives may be quicker.  Remember, if you format the drive as part of installation, you won't be able to restart the installation process, so it's a one shot thing.

 

For slipstreaming, just search the web.  Something like, "slipstream usb 3 drivers windows 7" should do.  Many pages have incomplete instructions, but I eventually figured it all out by combining information from multiple pages.  There're even automated tools these days.

 

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a new tool just (literally) became available that allows you to make your own Recovery USB KEY for your platform. You may want to give it a try as it would have all needed drivers for installation already in place

 

http://h20565.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?&docLocale=en_US&docId=emr_na-c05115630

 

I work for HP. However, all opinions and comments are my own.
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We don't want to recover the original install.  We want CLEAN INSTALL.

 

After the clean install with all the drivers installed, but no applications installed, I create a system image, and THAT to me is the best recovery media.

 

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I am able to boot to the original OS that was shipped with the laptop.  Part of my above troubleshooting was indeed trying to place the AMD USB 3.0 drivers on the root of the C: drive, reboot to the USB media and then browse to that folder.  I find the AMD USB 3.0 host driver just fine, but when I click next I get an error message stating that this driver could not be installed and to contact my vendor.  (This is with the "HIde drvers that are not compatible with hardware on this computer." setting still checked.)

 

So I called HP support and I rattled off all the things I had done to try and get this working.  They were pretty much out of imediate ideas and wanted to throw it up the chain of techs they have.  I also took a video of what was happening and placed on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qaypdx91zHk) so they could see exactly what was going on.  They had one knee-jerk option for me to try while they were researching the issue.  They wanted me to create a new bootable USB drive and instead of using my corporate .iso, use a the standard copy that shipped with the laptop.  And guess what, I didn't get the error with this copy.  I totally didn't think that would have worked, but now I'm thinking the .iso I've got is too old.  It's pre-SP1...so maybe the USB drivers are incompatible with these newer laptops.  But it still doesn't explain how I got this to work with the first laptop.  By the way, it no longer works with the first laptop either....so I still think it's a cobination of a newer BIOS and the old .iso I'm using.

Chris Phillips
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My guess is that the latest USB3 drivers are incompatible with Windows 7 *pre* SP1.

 

Also, I watched the video.  The reason it can boot from the USB stick is because that part happens using legacy mode.  It's accessing the stick using old style BIOS calls.  And BIOS is hiding the fact that it's a USB device.  It's like how DOS used to read/write disks, though BIOS calls.  Once it boots, that path is no longer used, and devices are accessed directly (much more efficient).  Without the right drivers, direct accesses are not possible, so that's why the USB stick disappears.

 

I'm still puzzled as to how you managed to install Win7 on the first machine.  My guess is that AMD chipsets still have EHCI hardware and that the older BIOS kept that alive, but newer BIOS doesn't.  As you mentioned, Intel went that way, so maybe AMD followed, even if it's not a useful thing to do.

 

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i would again recommend the use of HP Cloud Recovery. When you run the tool it asks if you want JUST the OS or the OS and drivers, etc. If you select the OS only, at least it will have absolutely required drivers for the initial functioning of the laptop

 

Just saying. nothing to lose by trying the new tool (except time to download)

I work for HP. However, all opinions and comments are my own.
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Well here's another new twist in the whole puzzle. I got a copy of another corporate/volume disk image that includes sp1. I'm not sure if it's the latest available on Microsoft site, I'm still looking into that but I do know that it is a newer version from what I was using and it does include Service Pack 1. I created a bootable USB disk from that newer image and threw it in the laptop and guess what...I get the same error. Just to make sure I wasn't crazy I took the original USB drive that was causing this problem and the one I just created with the Service Pack 1 version of Windows and used them on two other computers (not elitebook 745's) and they both boot flawlessly. So it's not my media specifically that's causing the issue. Because the issue doesn't occur when I use a copy of the OEM Windows DVD from HP that came with the computer, It's gotta be something with the newer bios and its compatibility with a non HP DVD. But I have no idea where to start looking and dissecting what actually is different on that DVD when compared to my corporate, volume license disk images.
Chris Phillips
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