Recently I have been asked to upgrade a standard issue mSATA SSD on Panasonic ToughPad FZ-G1 to 256GB SSD and clone manufacturer’s preload onto it. Task, as easy as it sounds, turned out not to be so straightforward after all. After deploying the image and booting onto the hard drive the OS would blue screen immediately after presenting Windows 7 First Time Setup language selection screen.
Upon quick Google search I knew this is going to be a bit of a challenge – I came across many forum posts of people struggling to image these ToughPads, as well as a lot issues with BSoD while using Crucial M550 SSD.
After ensuring all BIOS setting are correct first obvious thing to check was to use alternative method of cloning the image. Using DISM and Symantec Ghost 11.5 yielded the same results, so cloning method was sound. I have tried reinstalling the OS using recovery partition, but results were the same. As mSATA drives have mind of their own next logical step was to upgrade the on-board firmware. The drive came with label pointing to MU01 firmware level, so I have upgraded it to MU02 (latest version available on Crucial’s website at the time). Results were still the same. Next, to rule out a hardware problem, I have deployed image onto my VM and since the problem persisted it must have been something contained within the image.
I have deployed clean version of Windows 7 onto the ThoughPad and that seemed to have worked just fine. Next I have downloaded driver pack from Panasonic’s website and started applying the drivers. It didn’t take long to find the offender – it was Intel Rapid Storage Driver. Now, knowing what is broken, it was time to fix it.
The challenge with resolving the problem was unique state that Windows was in – it was still prior completion of First Time Setup and booting using Safe Mode was not an option since Windows will not allow you to use it until First Time Setup is completed. My best bet was to update Windows image offline in WinPE (Windows Preinstallation Environment). You can create your own bootable media with WinPE image by downloading Windows ADK (Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit, formerly know as WAIK – Windows Automated Installation Kit) from Microsoft’s website for free.
After booting onto my PE image first I had to identify where Windows partition has been mounted. If you have worked with DISM before it is the same thing as working with mounted WIM image but in this case we are updating image that has already been deployed, so no need to mount anything.
E:\>dir Volume in drive E is Windows Volume Serial Number is 4039-9053 Directory of E:\ 06/10/2009 01:42 PM 24 autoexec.bat 06/10/2009 01:42 PM 10 config.sys 05/14/2014 05:40 PM <DIR> Intel 07/13/2009 06:37 PM <DIR> PerfLogs 05/14/2014 06:05 PM <DIR> Program Files 05/14/2014 05:27 PM <DIR> Users 06/19/2014 09:27 PM <DIR> util 03/12/2015 07:52 PM <DIR> Windows 2 File(s) 34 bytes 6 Dir(s) 188,962,410,496 bytes free
So, knowing what partition Windows is residing on it was time to peek what makes it tick using DISM functionality of managing device drivers.
X:\Windows\System32>dism /image:e:\ /get-drivers Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool Version: 6.3.9600.16384 Image Version: 6.1.7601.17514 Obtaining list of 3rd party drivers from the driver store... Driver packages listing: Published Name : oem0.inf Original File Name : prnms001.inf Inbox : No Class Name : Printer Provider Name : Microsoft Date : 6/21/2006 Version : 6.1.7600.16385 <!-- output omitted --> Published Name : oem14.inf Original File Name : iaahcic.inf Inbox : No Class Name : HDC Provider Name : Intel Corporation Date : 7/24/2013 Version : 188.8.131.521 <!-- output omitted --> Published Name : oem9.inf Original File Name : iusb3hcs.inf Inbox : No Class Name : System Provider Name : Intel Date : 11/18/2013 Version : 184.108.40.206 The operation completed successfully.
The full output of the command is fairly lengthy and vaguely interesting, so I have trimmed it to the relevant part. The storage driver embedded into preloaded image – iaahcic.inf referenced to by Windows as oem14.inf – was the same driver version (220.127.116.111) I have downloaded from Panasonic’s website and installed on clean version of Windows to re-create the issue. So it was time to get rid of it.
X:\Windows\System32>dism /image:e:\ /remove-driver /driver:oem14.inf Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool Version: 6.3.9600.16384 Image Version: 6.1.7601.17514 Found 1 driver package(s) to remove. Removing 1 of 1 - oem14.inf: The driver package was successfully removed. The operation completed successfully.
Now, having the driver removed, it was time to download newer version of the driver (18.104.22.1681) from Intel’s website and apply it to the image. Again, DISM proves invaluable tool for doing so.
X:\Windows\System32>f: F:\>cd Panasonic\IRST\22.214.171.1241\f6flpy-x86 F:\Panasonic\IRST\126.96.36.1991\f6flpy-x86>dir Volume in drive F is WINPE Volume Serial Number is E211-5471 Directory of F:\Panasonic\IRST\188.8.131.521\f6flpy-x86 03/27/2015 07:47 AM <DIR> . 03/27/2015 07:47 AM <DIR> .. 11/21/2013 04:35 PM 9,631 iaahcic.cat 11/21/2013 04:35 PM 8,224 iaAHCIC.inf 10/28/2013 10:16 PM 489,832 iaStorA.sys 11/21/2013 04:35 PM 8,647 iastorac.cat 11/21/2013 04:35 PM 5,442 iaStorAC.inf 10/28/2013 10:16 PM 24,424 iaStorF.sys 6 File(s) 546,200 bytes 2 Dir(s) 1,169,915,904 bytes free F:\Panasonic\IRST\184.108.40.2061\f6flpy-x86>dism /image:e:\ /add-driver /driver:iaAHCIC.inf Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool Version: 6.3.9600.16384 Image Version: 6.1.7601.17514 Found 1 driver package(s) to install. Installing 1 of 1 - F:\Panasonic\IRST\220.127.116.111\f6flpy-x86\iaAHCIC.inf: The driver package was successfully installed. The operation completed successfully.
This time after rebooting machine has allowed me to complete First Time Setup successfully. As the issue has been resolved, I have re-imaged the ToughPad and shipped it to the customer. Since this was going to technical resources on the other side who will have to image many more of these devices, I have left the recovery image intact. If you are fixing your own image, best practice would be to mount recovery image found on hidden recovery partition, follow the same steps above to update recovery WIM and commit changes to the image.