Everyone is excited about Windows 7, including me—but to take full advantage of the OS, I wanted to install it on my netbook. Because my netbook doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive, my solution was to use a flash drive for installation.

To install Windows 7 on your netbook or laptop, you must first enter the BIOS and examine the boot order on your computer. Look for a USB drive or external HDD, to ensure that the computer can boot from a flash drive.

Next, you need to format your USB flash drive to make it bootable. (Note that you should use a USB drive that holds at least 2.5GB.) Open a command prompt and change your working drive to that of the USB drive (e.g., enter C:\F: to change the working drive from C to F). Enter the command

diskpart

then

list disk

to verify the disk. Figure 1 shows the output. Select the USB flash drive (e.g., disk 1). Then, enter the following commands, one at a time:

clean
create partition primary
select partition 1
active
format fs=fat32
assign
exit

Copy the contents of the Windows 7 media CD/DVD or ISO file to your flash drive. In my case, I downloaded the ISO from TechNet and used Winrar to extract the contents of the ISO to my flash drive.

Next, enter the BIOS and change the flash drive’s boot priority to ensure that the drive has priority over the hard drive (and optical drive if present). Save your settings and exit the BIOS. Insert the flash drive, and boot up the machine. The installation should initiate from the flash drive. Make sure you have your CD key handy; you’ll need it during installation.