Netbook users can install Windows 7 with USB drive option

Many Netbook users want to upgrade to Windows 7 but they face a problem – they don’t have a DVD drive in their machine. The way around that is to borrow or buy an external drive, but that just adds to the cost of buying the new OS if you have no other use for the drive afterwards.

Microsoft has decided to give netbook users another option, though, and it is now possible to download different versions of Windows 7 to a USB drive. Here’s what the Microsoft Store has to say about it:

If you’ve got a netbook, you probably don’t have a CD or DVD drive – so you may be wondering how you can upgrade to Windows 7. We’ve got your answer. The Microsoft Store is the only place where you can get a downloadable version of Windows 7. Download Windows 7 directly onto a USB drive on your netbook – no CD or DVD drive necessary – and start taking advantage of the best Windows yet.

Your netbook can therefore be setup to boot from the USB device and the Windows 7 installation will commence. The only problem this might raise is the fact a BIOS change is required to get the netbook to boot from USB leaving less tech-savvy users in the dark as to how to go about doing this. No doubt guides will appear on the web before the day is over.

For the moment this offer only seems to be available through the U.S. version of the online Microsoft Store. When purchasing the upgrade you can choose between just a Download, or a Download + Backup disc option, which costs an additional $14.95. The options you have when it comes to versions is Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate. There is no download available for Starter edition.

Read more at PC Pro

Matthew’s Opinion

It’s in Microsoft’s interests to make Windows 7 available to buy in as many ways as possible therefore removing the barriers of entry. Download is the only sensible option for netbook users and the option of a backup disc is welcomed, if a little expensive.

If you don’t order the backup disc then I assume you need to keep that USB stick just in case a re-install is required. It would also have been nice if Microsoft had made it clear before purchase how big of a USB drive you need for the different versions. There is no indication of this on the information page right before you click “Add to Cart”. A link to “how to install from a USB drive” information page is also pretty essential, but missing from the Store as far as I can tell.

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