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Installing Windows 7 on an ASUS S400C Ultrabook

on 2013-06-26

Edit (2016-01-08): I’ve since installed Windows 10 on this system so it’s unlikely I’ll be able to answer questions about this post in future.

My wife had a very reliable, very handy ASUS Eee PC that served us very well on our travels. It’s small, it’s light and the battery lasts for ages. Unfortunately it’s started to show its age so we decided to shop around for a replacement. The local computer store had an ASUS S400C Ultrabook on sale for $500 even which was exactly the budget we had in mind so we picked it up.

We knew going in that this new beasty shipped with Windows 8 on it but I have an unused Windows 7 license hanging around so I figured that if reports of the “suck” slider being turned up to 11 in Windows 8 proved to be accurate, I could just nuke it, install Windows 7 and we could move on with our lives. Oh, how wrong I was.

So I gave Windows 8 a shot. I used it for about two weeks while my poor Alienware system was off recovering from my clumsiness carrying a drink. I was told by somebody who is a fan of Windows 8 that the key thing is that Windows 8 is designed for touch screen devices so if you have a touch screen device (and the S400C is a touchscreen device), you will love the Windows 8 experience.

I hated it.

I hated every moment of it.

I hated switching between the Metro and desktop user interfaces.

I hated the Metro interface itself.

I hated all the crap they put on the home screen.

I hated the app store.

I hated the fact that Chrome crashed every time I switched out until I figured out how to put it into desktop mode.

Since my wife and I picked up the system for travel and she would be using it too, I decided to leave Windows 8 on the system so she could give it a try. Before she flew to the U.S. on business, I showed her some of the Windows 8 basics so she wouldn’t be completely lost. When she got home, I asked her how she felt about the system.

“The computer’s good. Windows 8 sucks.”

Today I finally decided to wipe the system and install Windows 7 on it. It was not a smooth road. After much Googling (and swearing), I managed to figure it out.

WARNING: Following the instructions below will cause the loss of all data on the system, including the Windows 8 recovery image. This is a one-way trip. You have been warned.

Since the system has no optical drive, the first thing you have to do is put a bootable Windows 7 install image onto a USB stick. From a system running the 64-bit version of Windows 7, do the following:

  1. Insert your Windows 7 DVD.
  2. Format the USB stick as an NTFS volume. Make a note of the drive letter assigned to it (I’ll use F: in the example below)
  3. Start up a Command Prompt as an Administrator.
  4. Change drives to the Windows 7 DVD and run the following:
    cd boot
    bootsect /nt60 F:
  5. In Windows Explorer, copy the entire contents of the Windows 7 DVD to root directory of the USB stick.
  6. While you’re at it, you’ll probably want to grab the LAN driver from the ASUS support site and copy it onto the stick. I saw some posts online from Asus support that said the Windows 8 drivers and the touch screen don’t work in Windows 7 but the NIC driver and touch screen both work fine for me.

USB stick prepared, you now have to start monkeying with the UEFI configuration of the ultrabook. Apologies if any of the options aren’t exactly as written below. I should’ve taken notes while I was working.

  1. Shut down the system if it’s running. If you reboot, it will skip the POST and you won’t be able to boot into the UEFI interface.
  2. Power on the system. While it’s booting, press F9 to enter the UEFI interface.
  3. Select Troubleshoot, then Advanced. Select UEFI Configuration.
  4. In the UEFI configuration, go to the Security page and set “Secure Boot Control” to “Disabled”. Reboot.
  5. Go back into the UEFI interface, then into the UEFI configuration. On the Boot page, change “Launch CSM” to “Enabled”. Plug in the USB stick and reboot.
  6. Once again, go back into the UEFI interface. On the Boot page, you should now see the USB stick (at least I did — YMMV). Go to the Save & Exit page and select the USB stick from the list of one time boot options and you should find yourself booting into the Windows 7 installer.
  7. Since Windows 7 doesn’t support GPT, you’ll have to nuke all the partitions to proceed with the install. Yes, this means delete all the listed  This includes the recovery partition and all the OEM partitions so you can never go back to the factory Windows 8 image.

Edit: Since this seems to be a common pitfall, let me just add in that when I say you need to nuke all the partitions to proceed with the install, I mean you need to hit “Drive Options (advanced)”, then select each partition on the system disk (normally Disk 0) and hit the delete button. Deleting a partition will destroy all the data on it. Data loss! Unrecoverable data loss! You’ve been warned (again).

Now that I read it over, this is a really short set of instructions considering how much time it took to figure all this stuff out. Good luck!


47 Responses to “Installing Windows 7 on an ASUS S400C Ultrabook”

  1. Ahamed says:

    thanks a lot for your guide which helped me install ubuntu on my system. Peace!

  2. Sofi says:

    did u find all the drivers th e s400c?

    thnx for the guide 🙂

    • ianderson says:

      There are still some devices that don’t have drivers available but the system seems to be working fine without them. The really important drivers are the network drivers since you can’t get the system online without them.

  3. Ercyn says:

    hi ahamed i also want to try this, i would like to ask if all the drivers are working?

  4. Thanks a lot for your help. It’s work fine

  5. Felipe says:

    Muito Obrigado Pela Ajuda, Esta Me Matando Para Instalar o Sistema Win 7 No Meu… o Touch Funciona bem ?

    • ianderson says:

      Seja bem-vindo! Toque funciona como um telas digitalizadoras.

      (Sorry if this doesn’t make sense, I had to run it through Google Translate — touch works like a pen tablet)

  6. Lorena says:

    Ianderson, Felipe is asking if the touch is working well… Can you tell me which drivers didn’t work whith Windows 7? Thank you very much for the guide!

    • ianderson says:

      The touch works well but it doesn’t work the same way it would under Windows 8 — it behaves like a pen tablet.

      I haven’t found any drivers that didn’t work. The driver architecture hasn’t changed that much between Windows 7 and Windows 8. There are some “unknown” devices with missing driver warnings in device manager but the system is working fine either way. These devices may just be things like chipset drivers that are only required for optimization but I haven’t bothered to look them all up by their device ids.

      You’re welcome!

  7. Lorena says:

    ***with (sorry)

  8. Davy Prado says:

    Hi Ianderson I’m from Brazil and I got recently the same computer, I saw yours instructions but I cant access the UEFI interface pressing F9 maybe I’m doing something wrong, may you help me, by the way I didn’t find drivers for Windows 7 the Windows Update can deal whit it? Thanks and Regards.

    • ianderson says:

      I had some trouble with this as well — I found that I had to press F9 a few times during the boot sequence to make sure it was hit at the right time.

      There are no drivers for Windows 7. You will have to use the Windows 8 drivers. All the Windows 8 drivers worked fine for me. Windows Update will not find any drivers for the system since it was never intended to run Windows 7.

  9. Mario says:

    Thank you! I finally resolve the problem!

  10. Robert Nuno says:

    If you are using an ISO, this is a great tool to get the ISO to the USB.
    http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/html/pbPage.Help_Win7_usbdvd_dwnTool

    • ianderson says:

      I usually use Daemon Tools (free) or Alcohol 120% (which I bought years ago) to copy files from an ISO image to a USB stick but this looks like a good option as well.

  11. Wayne o says:

    GREAT instructions thanks, I got tripped up, after starting windows7 install it threw up a driver missing message just after entering the language setting. Moved the USB stick from the USB3 socket on the right to the USB2 port. Then it would not boot into W7 install :-(, had to repeat the UEFI steps to rediscover the USB stick and now success! Thanks so much.

  12. Wayne o says:

    Extra comment – (With one exception) I got all the windows 7 x64 Hardware device drivers installed using the windows 8 x64 drivers from ASUS website.
    Note that you will need to install some Intel packages from the ASUS drivers page, including_
    Intel INF
    Intel Dynamic Platform
    Intel Rapid storage

    Now the one piece of hardware that will be left is the USB3 hub. No driver is listed on ASUS website.

    Go to Intels website and download the USB 3.0 Driver: Intel® USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller Driver for Intel® 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family

    Job done

    No idea what the touchscreen does or does not do, but customer said I DONT CARE just get rid of windows 8!

  13. Amalik says:

    I tried to follow your steps on my ASUS S400CA but once I go to F9,troubleshoot and then advanced there is NO option for “UEFI configuration”. there is an option called reset uefi firmware but no UEFI configuration. how can i get windows 7 on this machine?

  14. Prince says:

    how do I go back to UEFI? My Asus S400C won’t install
    on my HDD because windows 7 doesn’t use GPT.

    • ianderson says:

      As I pretty clearly stated in big bold print in the blog post, you can’t go back as far as I know. You might be able to get in touch with Asus.

  15. Mike Doyle says:

    wish i found this 2 weeks ago when i struggled to figure it out myself. now my question is did you install windows on the ssd. i did. now i keep running out of disc space.. i have transferred all the program files it would let me over to the D: drive and still am left with only 600mb space on the SSD.. Is there a workaround? i am willing to format an re-install.

    Thanks

    Mike

    • ianderson says:

      If Windows fits on the SSD, it’s always better to put it there for performance reasons.

      My S400C doesn’t have an SSD but on my main system, I have Windows on the SSD. I moved bits of my user profile and any program files that don’t need the performance boost from being on the SSD to the E drive which is a big spinning disk. You can move directories that tend to be large like “My Pictures” or “My Music” to another disk if you open their properties page, select the “Location” tab and hit the “Move…” button. That may help.

  16. screechie says:

    Thanks This worked like a charm- I’m just pre loading the drivers now as I write this post-
    So glad to get rid of Windows 8 on this the touch screen however is a little sluggish but I can live with that!
    Thanks again!

  17. wayne says:

    Has anyone been able to get Bluetooth working under windows 7 with this machine?

    I have drivers installed but no software app to turn it on.

  18. screechie says:

    Did anyone figure out the Bluetooth driver for the S400C ultrabok i3 version?
    Thanks for the knowledge on how to run 7 on this.

  19. Alex says:

    Hi,
    i installed everything as you did, only that i did not use a USB, but a portable dvd. it installed correctly, i deleted all partitions, but after reboot, it does not “see” the SSD. it just stays in a loop, showong ASUS logo, the blank, then reboot, then ASUS logo and so on.
    Any recommendations?
    thanks a lot.

    • ianderson says:

      My system is a model without an SSD. You may need to load the SSD driver from a USB stick or something if Windows 7 doesn’t support the SSD out of the box.

      It could be a problem with the UEFI configuration. Go back into the UEFI interface and make sure you have the disk where you installed Windows selected as the default boot device.

      This could also be caused by a boot loader problem. You can search Google for instructions on how to fix the boot loader in Windows 7.

  20. kaylee says:

    Where can I download ASUS S400C Windows 7 drivers? I can’t find it. Please help.

    • ianderson says:

      I used the Windows 8 drivers from the Asus support site linked in the post. The driver architecture in Windows 7 and Windows 8 is very similar. I have not had any issues using the Windows 8 drivers in Windows 7.

  21. Andries says:

    thx a lot man!!!you are the best!!

  22. anon says:

    Thank you so much, I was trying to figure out how to do this myself and it was taking forever. This helped a lot.

  23. Patrick says:

    Thanks China, was having a challenge with my bosses ultrabook s400c, wanted to reinstall win8 and since i dont have an external DVD rom, this forum did help a lot…Thanks

  24. Juan says:

    Exelente, gracias me ayudo muchísimo para formatear mi ultrabook, eres un genio …

  25. J says:

    Thank you so much for this – I don’t know why Asus made it so difficult to enable boot options, but you cleared the way regardless. Huge time saver, God bless you…

  26. Mark Wilkinson says:

    Cheers fella…worked a treat….

  27. Handrik says:

    Oh man, what a mess here…
    My S400CA don’t have, in the Security page, the option “Secure Boot Control”.
    The same in the “Boot” page, don’t have the “Launch CSM” option… 🙁
    Try lots of configs, reset to default, and finally bios update, and changes nothing, this options don’t appear in my bios.
    I’m getting crazy with this…Simply want to install a clean copy of Windows 8.1, and this turns into torture…

  28. pat says:

    does your gestures work?

    • ianderson says:

      I upgraded this system to Windows 10 some time ago. I never tried to get gestures to work since I usually use a mouse.

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