How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive

netbook   How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB DriveInstalling a new operating system on a netbook without a CD/DVD drive should be an easy task thanks to Unetbootin, but when it comes to installing Windows 7, there are a few extra steps that need to be taken before you are able to get the latest Windows OS onto your netbook.

In this guide, we’re going to show you how to create a bootable USB flash drive using either Windows XP or Windows Vista, and then install the files onto the USB and then install Windows 7 onto your Netbook from USB.

You will need one USB flash drive, with a capacity of at least 4GB, a copy of Windows 7, a program to extract the contents of your Windows 7 image file, such as 7-Zip, and a computer running either Windows XP or Vista. Windows XP users will need to download an additional program, MBRWizard.


Before getting started, you need to make sure you can boot your netbook from a USB by going into the BIOS settings. This can be done on most netbooks by hitting F2 as it is starting.

Once you are in the BIOS settings, go to the Boot tab, and ensure that ‘USB HDD’ is included in the Boot priority order list. If it is, you should be able to boot from your USB flash drive.

Format The USB Flash Drive

First, we need to format the USB to get it ready for use. Right click the USB drive in your Explorer window and click on ‘Format.’ The file system you will be using is NTFS.

Format   How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive

Windows XP users, if you do not see that choice in the drop down menu, follow this guide, to enable formatting your USB flash drive, using NTFS.

Activate The USB Partition

At this point, Windows XP users will put the program, MBRWizard to use. After you have downloaded the zip file, extract its contents to the C drive, then open the Windows Command Prompt. (Click the Start button, hit ‘run‘, type ‘cmd‘ and press enter.)

Using MBRWizard and the command prompt, you are going to be able to activate the partition, by typing the following commands:

cd\

cd mbrwiz2.0

mbrwiz list

You should now see, as in the screenshot below, your USB listed as one of the disks, in my case, Disk 1.

MBRWiz1   How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive

You will then type the following command:

mbrwiz /disk=X /active=1 (Where X is the number of your Disk)

When prompted with “Are you sure you want to set the partition(s) Active?“, answer Yes.

MBRWiz2   How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive

Windows Vista users will not need to download MBRWizard, but rather can go straight into the command prompt and type the following:

Diskpart

list disk

You will then need to identify your USB flash drive, again in my case, it is Disk 1, and type the following

Select Disk X (Where X is the number of your Disk)

List partition

Select partition 1

Active

You should then see the message: Diskpart marked the current partition as active.

DiskpartVista7   How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive

Extract Windows 7

Navigate to your Windows 7 image file, and extract its contents to a folder named Windows7 in the C Drive. These files can be deleted once you are done.

ExtractWindows   How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive

Return to your command prompt window and type the following:

cd Windows7\boot

bootsect /nt60 X: (Where X is the letter of your USB drive – in my case G:)

You should then see the following:

Bootsect   How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive

The final step in getting your USB ready is putting Windows 7 on it, which is where unetbootin comes in.

Once you have the program installed, select Diskimage, and browse to your Windows 7 image file, and select the USB that you have prepared for the install, and click OK.

Unetbootin1   How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive

Unetbootin should take about 15 to 30 minutes to copy the files onto your USB.

Unetbootin2   How To Install Windows 7 On Netbook From A USB Drive

Installing Windows 7

All that’s left to do is install your new OS. Plug the USB into your netbook, and start it up. When starting your netbook, you can select to boot from the USB by entering the Boot Menu. In my case, on the ACER Aspire One, I had to hit F12, but with some other netbooks, this can be done by hitting the ESC button.

Once you are in the Boot Menu, you can choose to boot from your USB flash drive, and will then enter the Windows 7 set up menu.

If you are upgrading from Vista, you should be able to preserve your program files and settings, but upgrading from XP is not possible. A clean install is necessary, but all of your files and folders will be preserved in a folder in the C drive, labeled Windows.Old.

If you’re not sure where to start once you have Windows 7 installed, check out the 15 Best WIndows 7 Tips and Hacks and 12 More Windows 7 Tips and Hacks.

Did you manage to install Windows 7 on your netbook? Let us know how it goes in the comments.

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13 Comments -

Chris

There is a nice little app that does this in one step if you already have your Windows 7 as an iso file and its free. Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool

http://download.cnet.com/Windo

Chris

There is a nice little app that does this in one step if you already have your Windows 7 as an iso file and its free. Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool

http://download.cnet.com/Windows-7-USB-DVD-Download-Tool/3000-18513_4-10972600.html

R2D2

I used the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool and it worked like a charm :D really simple to use.

nozz

i’m just use external disc drive.

btw, great tips.

Ksquared101

There’s a much much easier way to do all this. WinToFlash is a program which can take any Windows installation CD (or image file) and turn it into a bootable USB drive. You only need to download one program and it takes just a couple of clicks to setup. Best of all, its free!

http://wintoflash.com/overview

Ksquared101

There’s a much much easier way to do all this. WinToFlash is a program which can take any Windows installation CD (or image file) and turn it into a bootable USB drive. You only need to download one program and it takes just a couple of clicks to setup. Best of all, its free!

http://wintoflash.com/overview/en/

chaosdesign

WintoFlash is the only tool that i have used to install XP, Vista, WIndows 7. It works every time.

Easy to use, save time and reduce the risk of making mistakes.

Cotwolds B&B

I also used the “Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool” on my netbook and it was v straightforward. Worked the same as a the install CD once it had been created.

nm

I tried a whole slew of apps that are supposed to make the process easier, including WinToFlash and none of them worked for me. This was the only way that I could get it to work.

Yros

It would be great if you could please follow this up with a guide on how to optimize Windows7 to run on a NetBook. I’m sure there are many functions of the OS that can be disabled or tweaked to make it run a bit faster on the netbook hardware.

Robert M

What I do is simply extract the contents of the Win 7 onto my flash drive and from that copy it onto my netbook’s C: drive and start the setup. Pretty easy really.

grasshopper003

After you get Win7 on your Acer One where did you get the wireless drivers from? The atheros ar5007eg wireless card doesn’t support win7 yet (according to their website). It worked for me long enough to watch a movie then crapped out and won’t work again.

Timelord

I followed this explanation and it works fine. Thank you !!