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Summary:

Most netbooks don’t include an integrated optical drive for CDs or DVDs. That’s done to keep the price down and simply because there isn’t much space for the drive. That makes for a challenging install problem with a new operating system. Microsoft recognizes this and created […]

en-US111_Win7_Landing_PageMost netbooks don’t include an integrated optical drive for CDs or DVDs. That’s done to keep the price down and simply because there isn’t much space for the drive. That makes for a challenging install problem with a new operating system. Microsoft recognizes this and created a solution — through its online store, netbook owners can purchase a downloadable copy of Windows 7 in .iso format.

But that’s only half the battle because you still have to get the bits installed. That’s where the WUDT comes in.

You know, the WUDT — Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool! Using WUDT, you can make either a DVD of the installation or create a bootable USB install for Windows 7. Don’t forget that you might have to go into your BIOS to modify your booting order, otherwise your netbook could start up from the hard drive.

WUDT_thumb_27E9E0D0

A few other points to think about:

  • There’s no clean upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7. That’s likely to affect most netbooks since the majority of them come pre-installed with Windows XP. Remember to backup your data from XP before wiping it with a Windows 7 install.
  • You can use software to create a virtual CD if you’d rather not use the WUDT. For the past four years I’ve been using a Virtual CD-ROM Powertoy for XP (download link). With it, you can mount an .iso file as if it were on physical media like a CD.
  • Got a another PC with an optical drive? If it’s on the same network at home, you can try to share it and try the installation over your network. Although I’ve never tried this method, it should theoretically work, but might take longer depending on your network speeds.

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  1. How much space does it take up on the drive after it’s installed? I have a 8GB SSD in my netbook, would that work?

    1. I don’t believe 8 GB is enough for Win 7.

      1. You can do that. I installed Win 7 using a 2GB USB thumb drive. You have to get rid of some of the useless data in Win 7 (like voice recognition & language packages that comes up to a few GB). My install on Dell Mini 9 is 4GB.

      2. Back in the day I used to use nLite on XP, but these days I find that it’s not worth the effort. Most of the time when a Service Pack comes along, things get confused and it won’t continue the installation.

        Of course, if you NEED to because you don’t have enough space, that’s another story.

      3. windows 7 is 3.47 gb, so a 4gb flash drive will be enough.

    2. try it. i’m sure the installer will tell you if it’s not enough. =)

  2. I have an external DVD drive and a Lenovo X61 Tablet. Can I install from the DVD drive–with a USB 2 connection?

    Thanks

    David

    1. Yes, that will work fine although you may have to change the boot order in your BIOS as Kevin suggested to ensure that your X61 tries to boot from the DVD drive before the HDD.

  3. well, if WUDT actually installs the OS to a usb drive to make a “live cd” windows 7, that’s cool.

    But to simply install windows 7 (or any other windows) to a computer’s hard drive, just copy and paste the files from the CD (or iso mounted into a virtual CD) to a usb drive, then boot from the usb drive. it’ll act just like using a normal usb optical drive. i’ve installed vista and windows 7 multiple times each without having to use any random extra software.

  4. I had trouble doing it once and you installed multiple times, hints on how you did it please?

  5. Elwood Anderson Sunday, October 25, 2009

    If I buy the Windows 7 Family Upgrade can I create a bootable flash drive and copy the Windows 7 installation DVD to the flash drive and use it to do the install on my netbook which doesn’t have a DVD drive?

  6. I have a toshiba laptop m35x-s109 and i installed windows 7 and i need a grafic download for windows 7 because my grafic from xp don’t work can someone please help me? Thank you

  7. omg haha! I just recieved $69 from cashlot.co.uk!

  8. wow, this site is wide open for spam, eh? too bad I’m not a spam bot!!!

  9. atleast, as far as I can tell, so far, anything with tags is just discarded… I guess allowing people to easily add to the conversation is a good thing, as long as you don’t have too many lame people such as myself and the guy blabbing about getting some money.

  10. HI i am trying to install windows 7 i had windows xp when i install windows 7 its not format the old windows (xp) its install win 7 on top of win xp please anyone can tell me how to install fresh win 7 thanks

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