Windows 7 screams on netbooks. My wife and I both run it on MSI Wind netbooks with 1.5GB Ram flawlessly. Installing it isn’t so easy though. Netbooks don’t have optical drives and Windows 7 RC ships as an ISO to burn your own disc. What to do….
What You Need
First, obviously, download the Windows 7 RC from http://www.microsoft.com/windows7 and don’t forget to write or print your product key, that’s a must. Also, for netbooks, make sure it’s the 32-bit version you download because your netbook might not play nice with the 64-bit version.
Windows 7 is a big bugger at 2.4GB, so you’ll probably need a 4GB or larger thumb drive to fit it.
Preparing the Flash Drive
This process will differ a little bit depending on which OS you are making the drive on, but don’t fret, you can do it on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X with no problem.
Step One is getting the files out of the ISO and expanded onto your disk
I used Mac OS X’s Disk Utility to mount the ISO and then just copied the files out of it. For Windows, use DaemonTools Lite and do the same thing, mount it and then copy the files out of it onto your hard disk.
Step Two is formatting the thumb drive and making it bootable
For this task, you need to do a little command line skullduggery, this is perhaps a little PC Jedi magic to the uninitiated, but it’s not that bad. I’ll assume you are using Vista for these tasks:
- Connect your thumb drive to your PC
- Right-click “Command Prompt” under Programs > Accessories and select “Run as administrator.”
- Find the drive number for your flash drive using these commands
The number of your thumb drive will be in the list.
- Format the drive using the commands listed below (we’ll assume your drive number was 1 in this example)
select disk 1
create partition primary
select partition 1
- From the command prompt, browse to the folder you copied the contents of the Windows 7 ISO to and then to the boot folder. If you are using Vista it should look something like
- Now we will use bootsect to make the USB a bootable NTFS drive that is ready for the Windows 7 Install Files.
bootsect /nt60 x:(assuming X is the drive letter of your thumb drive.)
That’s it, you can close the command prompt, the USB drive should now be bootable and ready to go.
Step Three is copying the Windows 7 Install Files
Simple enough, you copied them to your desktop in Step 1, now take everything that’s inside the folder you copied them too, and copy them to the root of your thumb drive.
Not every machine is ready to go for USB booting, you might have to check the BIOS settings to enable this for your particular machine.