Everybody knows that each version of Windows 7 comes in two different flavors, 32bit and 64bit. The latter is the most popular these days because most new machines come with at least 4GB of memory and 64bit takes advantage of that. That being said, the 32bit version is still very useful for machines with a bit less memory or if there are known compatibility issues using a 64bit version of Windows.
Microsoft ships Windows 7 with two different DVD’s when they could have easily fitted both 32bit and 64bit on the same disc. A similar thing partly applies to having a different install DVD for each distro of Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate etc, but at least that can be easily fixed by removing the ei.cfg file inside the Sources folder in the Windows 7 ISO to unlock the other versions.
Thankfully, just because Microsoft doesn’t put everything on one disc, it doesn’t mean we can’t do it for ourselves. The last time I did this, it involved using a command line tool called GimageX to manually edit the Wim files. You can download these types of all in one Windows images off the internet but you’re never 100% sure what has been done to them. That’s why I like to do something like this myself if I can. A utility to help you do this with effortless ease is WinAIO Maker Professional. This tool does all the hard work and all that is needed is the relevant 32bit and 64bit ISO images and obviously a legitimate serial key upon reinstall. To get the proper untouched images, read our previous article on downloading Windows 7 ISO’s from Microsoft’s distributor.
We have also previously written about backing up the activation information and serial key using Advanced Backup and Restore beta for OEM machines. For systems that have been activated with a retail license over the internet or phone, another Josh Cell Software tool called Advanced Tokens Manager can backup and restore the activation data in those cases.
WinAIO Maker Professional is portable and freeware and does require .NET framework 3.5 but this is included with Windows 7 anyway so isn’t a problem.
Although I’m simply going to show you how the program makes an all in one image with all the standard retail 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows 7 included, there are a number of extras that WinAIO maker has to help in creating the required images.
These include creating an ISO from a folder on your hard drive, extracting an ISO image into a folder, creating an ISO from a physical DVD and also calculating MD5/SHA1 hashes for selected files, so you can verify the ISO’s you have ready are original.
To make a single generic ISO with 32bit and 64bit editions of Starter (x86 only), Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate is literally a few simple steps. Click the AutoAIO button on the main window and a new window will pop up.
Enter the working folder which is where the temp files will be stored and the resulting ISO is created. Then point to the 32bit (x86) and 64bit (x64) images you have already or have downloaded. The way an AIO disc is created means the 64bit files are merged into a 32bit image which results in the recovery mode on the AIO image defaulting to 32bit and will not work on 64bit systems. To enable the recovery mode on the disc for 64bit systems tick the box. Then click Start Compilation. The ISO will be created and can be burnt to DVD as it’s only about 3.8GB, or around 4GB with x64 recovery mode enabled.
You can also strip out all the versions you don’t want included in the ISO. The images need to be extracted by using something like 7zip or the built in ISO2Folder feature. Then load each distro’s Install.Wim from the Sources folder starting with 32bit if you are going to load both 32 and 64bit. Delete what you don’t want using the Delete Image button. Save all changes and then Save all into ISO.
The above image includes both editions of Home Premium but this actually makes the image less than 300MB smaller so isn’t really going to save huge amounts of space.
The other option on the main interface worth a mention is the WinToUSB button which can write an extracted Windows 7 image onto a USB stick. Select the folder where the extracted ISO is or use the ISO2Folder function first and choose the USB drive from the list.