Creating a Windows 7 USB on Fedora 25

Turns out Fedora 25 didn’t like my Samsung Series 9 (NP900X4C) much. Among other things, the WiFi was intermittent (weird, as it’s an Intel NIC), suspend didn’t work (the laptop is always dead when I come to it), and the keyboard backlight turned off immediately after turning it on. I figured installing Windows again might be a good move (I also miss Office), but that turned out a little more difficult that anticipated. Below is the steps I ended up taking, should anyone else encounter the same issue.

Get an ISO

First up: finding a valid Windows 7 Home Premium x64 ISO. Given that I still had my OEM key, this should not have been as difficult as it was. I finally found a workaround, thanks to this excellent guide on (follow the “Download Windows 7/8.1 From The Windows 10 Download Page” section). With that “hack”, you should be able to pull in an ISO for the required version (Win7_HomePrem_SP1_English_x64.iso in my case).

Connect USB Drive

We’re going to install to a USB drive, so ensure it’s plugged in now. Record the device name - /dev/sdb in my case - for use later.

Prepare Your USB

This was another exercise in frustration. I followed many, many guides, all of which invariably ended in a failure. I suspect this is because the guides all recommended formatting my drive with NTFS when UEFI, as found on this laptop, requires FAT32. Thankfully, I stumbled upon a guide that suggested as much. This guide used GParted but unfortunately there’s a known issue with gparted on Wayland. A workaround for this issue is to allow “non-network local connections” by running the following command:

$ xhost +local:
non-network local connections being added to access control list

Then we can start GParted:

$ sudo gparted

Execute the following operations:

  • Unmount the drive

  • Delete any existing partitions

  • Create a New primary partition

  • Format this partition as FAT32

  • Set a label, e.g. WIN7_HP_X64

  • Set the boot flag to make the drive bootable

Once completed, Apply all operations, exit GParted, and disallow non-network local connections:

$ xhost -local:

Copy Files

You can now proceed to mount both the USB drive and the ISO:

$ sudo mkdir /mnt/usb
$ sudo mkdir /mnt/iso
$ sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/usb/
$ sudo mount -o loop ~/Downloads/Win7_HomePrem_SP1_English_x64.iso /mnt/iso/

updating paths where necessary.

Copy the contents of the ISO to the USB drive:

$ sudo cp -av /mnt/iso/* /mnt/usb/

Install Bootloader

We’re going to use grub2 as the bootloader. Run the following to install the bootloader on the USB drive:

$ sudo grub2-install --boot-directory=/mnt/usb/boot /dev/sdb

once again, updating paths where necessary.

Once completed, you should see the following message:

Installing for i386-pc platform.
Installation finished. No error reported.

If so, save the following to boot/grub2/grub.cfg on the USB drive:


menuentry "Start Windows Installation" {
    insmod ntfs
    insmod search_label
    search --no-floppy --set=root --label <USB_drive_label> --hint hd0,msdos1
    ntldr /bootmgr

menuentry "Boot from the first hard drive" {
    insmod ntfs
    insmod chain
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod part_gpt
    set root=(hd1)
    chainloader +1

replacing <USB_drive_label> with the label you used earlier - WIN7_HP_X64 for me.


Unmount the drive, insert it into the laptop and install Windows 7.

$ sync  # to ensure all file transfers are complete.
$ sudo umount
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