CD/DVD drive device missing error

I was installing a fresh copy of Windows 7 on a new Samsung Series 9 laptop this week and as I got a strange error during the install:

A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, please insert it now. Note: If the Windows installation media is in the CD/DVD drive, you can safely remove it for this step.

The error baffled me, because the Samsung Series 9 does not have a CD or DVD drive and I was installing Windows 7 from a bootable USB flash drive (which was already inserted).  I spent quite a bit of time troubleshooting the error and went down several bad paths.  When you search you find several forums that reference this error, mostly from the Windows 7 Beta or Release Candidate builds.  The collective conventional wisdom from the forums that I landed on said to try one (or more) of the following fixes:

  • Get another copy of the .iso (root cause: bad download)
  • Burn the iso to the DVD at a slower speed (root cause: bad burn)
  • Change the BIOS boot order (root cause: unknown)
  • Update the driver for the Drive (root cause: upgrade advisor not finding hardware)
  • Switch from SATA to AHCI in the BIOS (root cause: Windows 7 installer not supporting SATA – huh?)

One or more of the above might fix the error for you, but none of these fixed my problem and most of them did not apply even apply to my situation.  What was causing the problem for me was I had the USB device plugged into the USB 3.0 port for the machine.  I moved the USB flash drive to the USB 2.0 port (on the other side of the laptop) and the install worked just fine. 

My speculation is that the boot loader for the installer worked fine, but the installer itself had issues with the USB 3.0 device.  Windows 7 itself has no issues with the USB 3.0 port; it seems to be limited to the installer environment.  I am also fairly certain that you would see the same problem on other machines with a USB 3.0 drive- so more than just the Samsung Series Nine.

Note:  This post seems a little off topic for this site; I usually don’t talk about troubleshooting issues and the like.  However I wanted to post this in the hopes that if someone else runs into this issue, they might find this solution mixed in with all the older forum posts.  Hope this helps….

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