How to extract missing system files from the DVD of Windows 7/Vista.
In some circumstances, you may want to extract the original system files (.dll files, .exe files, and others) that are shipped with the DVD of Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
Whether you need these files because they are missing in your system, or whether these file were replaced by other versions that caused problems, and you want to get back the original Windows files, here's a simple method to extract these system files from Windows 7/Vista DVD:
- Download and install the latest version of 7-Zip File Manager.
- Browse into the sources folder of the Windows DVD. For example, if your DVD drive is d:, you should type in the folder path of 7-Zip utility 'd:\sources'
- Locate a file named 'install.wim' and double-click it. You can easily find it by clicking the size column header to sort the files list by size, because it's the largest file on this folder.
Alternatively, you can simply type 'd:\sources\install.wim\' in the path text-box, and jump directly to the content of install.wim.
- Wait 5 - 10 seconds (or a little more) until 7-Zip utility read the content of install.wim
- After 7-Zip utility opens the file, you'll get a few numbered folders. Each numeric subfolder represents a different version of Windows (Starter, Home Basic, and so on).
In most cases, you can simply browser into any of these folders, because most of system files are identical for all versions.
However, if you want to be more strict, and extract the files from the folder that represent your current Windows version, you can first extract and read the '1.xml' file, which contains the list of versions stored in these folders.
To make your life easier, here's the folder versions list in the DVD of Windows 7 RC:
1 - Windows 7 Starter
2 - Windows 7 Home Basic
3 - Windows 7 Home Premium
4 - Windows 7 Professional
5 - Windows 7 Ultimate
This means that if you want, for example, to browse into the files list ofWindows 7 Professional, you should double-click the '4' folder.
- After entering into the one of the numeric folders, you'll get a list of base system folders like 'Program Files' and Windows. You should now go to the right system folder which contains the files you need. For example, if the files that you're looking for are usually stored c:\windows\system32, you should browse into Windows\System32 subfolder
- Select the files that you want to extract, and then click the 'extract' button. 7-Zip utility will ask you to type the destination folder to copy the files. After you choose or type the desired destination folder, click the 'Ok' button, and the files you need will be extracted to the selected folder.
Finally, if you are an expert user that want to do the same thing from command-line, here's a small example that shows you how to do it:
"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" e d:\sources\install.wim -oc:\temp 2\windows\system32\shell32.dll
In the above example, shell32.dll is extracted from the installation files of Windows 7 Home Basic (Folder 2) into c:\temp folder, assuming that d:\ contains the Windows 7 DVD and 7-Zip utility is installed on C:\Program Files\7-Zip.