Add USB3 drivers to your Windows 7 installation with Linux

With modern chipsets like Intel's Z170, you no longer get native USB 2 ports on the motherboard. This poses a problem when trying to use Windows 7 as it lacks USB 3 drivers, so after installation you'll find it's pretty difficult to install video drivers, network drivers, etc when you can't use a USB drive or the internet. Thankfully this is pretty easy to solve as long as you have another working computer you can use. The System Rescue CD is an awesome bootable Linux distribution that supports USB 3, NTFS and all kinds of other stuff. We'll use this to access our hard drive and copy over the necessary files.

Please note, this guide won't help you if your keyboard and mouse are not functioning! If this is happening, you'll need to do things the "hard" way and create a customized Windows 7 .iso with the necessary drivers as part of the installation procedure.

Step 1

Download the latest version of the SystemRescueCd (make sure it's in .iso format).

Download Rufus, a utility to make bootable USB drives.

Step 2

Insert a USB drive into your working PC (warning: all data on the USB drive will be lost!). Run Rufus and tick the 'Make bootable' box, then browse to the .iso you downloaded and hit Start. This will copy the .iso onto your USB drive and make it bootable.

Step 3

Make a folder called drivers (make sure it's lower-case!) on the root of your USB drive. Fill it with all the drivers you need (recommended: network drivers, USB drivers). The drivers you need will vary based on your motherboard; see the support site for your particular motherboard model for the specific drivers you needed.

Step 4

Plug the USB drive into your Windows 7 machine and reboot. Hit F12 or F10 or whatever option lets you boot from your USB drive.

Step 5

You'll get a scary looking boot menu if everything went right. Just hit enter to accept the default boot method. After a short while, you'll be dropped into a Linux shell that looks something like

root@sysrescuecd /root %

Step 6

Now we need to determine the device name of your Windows drive. At the shell prompt, type lsblk and hit enter. Look for a partition that matches the size of your Windows drive. If you're using a single hard disk / SSD, it is likely going to be /dev/sda2. Once you've figured it out, we can use ntfs-3g to mount the drive and copy files to it. If your device was /dev/sda2 you would now type ntfs-3g /dev/sda2 /mnt/windows and hit enter. You'll only see a message if something went wrong, so don't be surprised if nothing shows up!

Step 7

Now that we have access to the Windows drive, we can copy the files. At the shell, type cp -r /livemnt/boot/drivers /mnt/windows and hit enter. As before, if you don't see a response, it means everything went OK. Now unmount the Windows drive by typing umount /mnt/windows, reboot by typing reboot and then unplug the USB drive once your system has rebooted.

Step 8

Install the drivers! You should now have a C:\drivers folder with the contents of the folder that you copied onto your USB drive.