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Did you know that Windows 7 can easily be installed from a USB drive? For users with netbooks and those who want a fast installation, a USB drive installation offers a great alternative from installing from a DVD.

Earlier this year, MVP Gary Short, published a great post on how to install Windows 7 from a USB drive on to his Acer netbook. Take a look at his full post below.

Having access to MSDN via the MVP program, I downloaded the beta version of  Windows 7 as soon as it became available, with the idea of loading it onto my Acer Aspire One netbook (an nice little Christmas present to myself!).

With the software downloaded there was just one issue to overcome, how do you install an OS onto a netbook with no optical drive? The answer is you need a bootable USB drive. It took a lot of searching around the net to work out how to do this, so I thought I’d outline the steps here, mainly for my own benefit, so I know where to look the next time LOL. This guide will show you how to get W7 beta onto an Acer Aspire One Netbook, YMMV with other netbooks.

Step 1 – Let’s create a bootable USD Drive!

  1. Clearly, the first thing you need is a USB drive and the one I used was an 8GB Seagate model.
  2. Plug the drive into your PC.
  3. Open a command prompt as administrator.
  4. Get the drive number by typing:
    diskpart
    list disk
    On my machine the USB disk was number 1.
  5. Format the drive by typing:
    select disk 1
    clean
    create partition primary
    select partition 1
    active
    format fs=NTFS
    assign
    exit
  6. Mount the Windows 7 beta iso using Daemon Tools or similar.
  7. Navigate to the boot directory
    cd E:\boot
  8. Using bootsect, we’ll make the USB drive a bootable NTFS drive, ready for a Windows 7 image (my drive was labeled G):
    bootsect /nt60 G:
  9. We are finished with the command prompt now, so you can close it.

Step 2 – Copy the installation files from the mounted Windows 7 iso to the USB drive.

Step 3 – Install on the Netbook

  1. Plug in the USB drive and turn on the netbook
  2. On start up press <F12> to select the bootable drive
  3. Select the USB drive and press return
  4. The netbook will boot from the USB drive and the installation will begin
  5. Install as normal.

Read Gary’s full post, entitled, How to Install Windows 7 Beta on an Acer Aspire One Netbook

For further information.

[Bonus!]

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Windows Desktop Experience MVP Vishal Gupta recently released a new tool which creates a bootable USB drive to install Windows 7 on a computer without an optical drive. The portable utility also works for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 and has been featured on Microsoft’s Channel 10 community. Click here to download the handy USB tool.

 

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