Windows 7 no longer has “One Disc to Rule Them All” universal installation DVD disc media or ISO image which allows users to select whichever editions of Windows 7 they prefer to install during setup. Instead, each Windows 7 installation ISO or media is specific for a channel and distribution and can be used to install an edition of Windows 7 only.
The one-edition only of Windows 7 ISO or DVD may bring inconvenient and challenges to some people. For example, TechNet or MSDN subscribers will have to use and waste unnecessary bandwidth to download multiple ISO images for each editions of Windows 7. And for people who wants to backup and archive Windows 7 ISOs or DVDs will now have to allocate more disk storage or cabinet space to save and store multiple ISO images or DVD discs, instead of just two – one for 32-bit Windows 7 and another for 64-bit Windows 7. Worse, if user want copies too for allegedly retail, upgrade, oem or volume license editions.
In fact, all Windows 7 image is almost similar, if not the same, regardless of license type, channel, SKU or edition (with the exception of Windows 7 Enterprise), except for probably ei.cfg file which makes Windows 7 installation ISO differs in a few bytes of data. The trick to modify ei.cfg to install any or another different edition of Windows 7 is been used to modify Windows 7 installation file so that user can install desired edition of Windows 7. One downside of the manual modification of ei.cfg file is that user will either need to copy all Windows 7 installation files from DVD, or unpack and extract all content of Windows 7 ISO image to local hard disk drive.
Users who don’t want to go through the hassle to manually change the ei.cfg file can use the alternative Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher free utility to do the job instead. Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher is a binary patcher that converts an image of one Windows 7 edition into image of another edition automatically.
Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher supports the following conversions, together with its features, limitations and restrictions:
- Support conversion between ISO images of 32-bit (x86) Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Professional.
- Support conversion between ISO images of 64-bit (x64) Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate.
- 32-bit image can only be converted into any 32-bit image, and 64-bit image can only be converted into another 64-bit image of any supported edition.
- Patching of or conversion to Windows 7 Enterprise is NOT supported.
- Patches to convert to the Windows 7 OEM editions ISO are NOT available because OEM editions have not been officially posted to MSDN or TechNet (except Windows 7 Starter), and thus there are no checksum hashes which can be used to verify the correctness of such a patch.
- Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher does not require installation, and is portable app.
- The patcher patches the selected ISO file directly and immediately without backing up, so create a copy of ISO file before patching. It’s also recommended to rename the ISO to reflect the target edition to avoid confusion right before or after patching.
- Current version of Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher supports Windows 7 RTM ISO images of build version 7600.16385 only.
Using Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher to create another copy of Windows 7 ISO image is extremely easy. Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher already comes with various patches (contains inside of the archive) that able to modify physical bytes of ISO image accurately, depending on edition selected.
How to Use Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher
- Download and extract Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher zip package: 7600.16385-disc_switch_patches folder.zip
- Run binpatch.exe binary patcher.
- Select a patch (.bin-patch file) from 7600.16385-disc_switch_patches folder for the target edition of Windows 7 ISO which user want to convert to.
- Select the Windows 7 ISO disc image that user want to convert from.
- The ISO image selected will be patched into Windows 7 ISO of new selected edition.
Update: Windows 7 SP1 ISO Image Edition Switcher is now available.
After patching the ISO image, user should verify the SHA-1 hash of the final ISO file and compare the hash with official hash value of Windows 7 ISO posted on MSDN/TechNet by Microsoft to verify that the patch was successfully completed. The result of the Windows 7 patched ISO should be exactly identical to what user would have gotten if he or she downloads the ISO image directly from Microsoft’s server.