Tried to install Windows 8 and ran into:”we were unable to run bootsect”?
If you’re finally getting around to installing the Windows 8 Developer Preview that came out this week and your regular desktop runs a 32-bit version of Windows, you may have gotten this cryptic error message when you used the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to make a bootable USB version of the nearly five gigabyte 64-bit installer with developer tools ISO:
Status: Files copied successfully. However, we were unable to run bootsect to make the USB device bootable. If you need assistance with bootsect, please click the "Online Help" link above for more information.
If you click the link, you will be taken to a useless general help page for Microsoft’s online store. At this point, you may feel like screaming, but if you’re reading this post, then you’re actually only about 5 minutes from having a bootable USB drive. The solution is after the jump!
The problem you’ve run into is that you’re running a 32-bit version of Windows, but the iso file you just copied contains a 64-bit binary of bootsect.exe. If you downloaded the 32-bit developer preview ISO, or if you have a 32-bit Windows 7 ISO image or DVD (and maybe Vista, but I haven’t tried that one), you can use the 32-bit version of bootsect.exe on that disc to make your USB drive bootable.
You’ll need to mount the ISO image (I use MagicISO Virtual CD/DVD Manager). Then, click Start, navigate to the Command Prompt, but instead of just double clicking, right-click it and choose “Run As Administrator”. Then, assuming “F:” is your mounted ISO image and “G:” is your USB device, type the following and hit enter:
f:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 g: /mbr
Some goobledy-gook will print to the screen to let you know stuff is happening. When your C:\ prompt returns, you can unmount the ISO, and remove your USB drive, which you can now use to boot any 64-bit capable PC into the Windows 8 Developer Preview. Happy geeking!