I can has Windows 7 download on USB key?

So you've got your Windows 7 download, but your netbook has no DVD drive. Microsoft to the rescue! Now you can install from a USB flash drive / thumb drive / memory stick / thingamabob. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers would try WUDT if they could.

By Richi Jennings. October 23, 2009.


Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention a different kind of Windows 7 party...

    Brier Dudley has good news, everyone:

Responding to concerns about loading Windows 7 onto ... computers that don't have DVD drives, Microsoft introduced a tool to load the software onto a USB memory stick. [You] can then boot up from the USB stick, initiating the process of upgrading the PC to Windows 7. ... The ... tool is used when you buy a downloadable version of the software ... buyers are given the option of creating a bootable USB stick or burning a DVD.


A number of hobbyist sites have been offering similar software tools for transferring Windows 7 to USB sticks, although it can take a leap of faith to download and use some of them. ... The easiest option would be if Microsoft sold USB drives preloaded with the software.

Kevin C. Tofel adds sage advice:

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.


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. ... Remember to backup your data. ... You can use software to create a virtual CD if you’d rather not use the WUDT. ... With it, you can mount an .iso file as if it were on physical media like a CD.

We have no idea how excited Brandon LeBlanc is:

You have no idea how excited I am. ... One question I get quite a bit is from people is about how they can move to Windows 7 without a DVD drive. ... We have a solution we think will work great for ... users who want to upgrade their Windows XP machines.


The Microsoft Store will be providing a tool called the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool (rolls right off the tongue doesn’t it?) – or WUDT for short. ... [It] will take an ISO image and create a bootable USB device that can be used to install Windows 7. ... We’re working with partners now to deliver similar tools through their sites and hope to have more news to share in this regard soon.

Lee Mathews states the bleedin' obvious and offers an alternative:

Grab the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool ... and you'll have a bootable DVD or USB flash drive in no time. You'll also need your downloaded Windows .ISO file, of course. If you plan on using a flash drive, it needs to be 4Gb or larger.

Microsoft's page includes exhaustive (and I mean exhaustive) instructions and a list of frequently asked questions on the download tool page. More experienced users may want to stick with the app I've mentioned before - WinToFlash. It's fully portable, whereas the Microsoft app has to be installed.

But Nick Eaton is scratching his head at the irony:

Microsoft developed ... Windows 7 Starter, specifically for netbooks. ... [It] hopes Windows 7 Starter will become the new standard operating system on most netbooks.


However, Windows 7 Starter isn't being offered as a download, so netbook users who want to upgrade must choose among the other three versions: Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate. Windows 7 Starter is only available preloaded.

Meanwhile, Preston "grumpy" Gralla gallops true to form:

Microsoft is celebrating the release of Windows 7 in Japan with a Burger King promotion for the Windows 7 Whopper: Seven patties stacked on top of one another in one sandwich. Given that Microsoft has been criticized for releasing top-heavy, bloated operating systems, this could be one of its worst promotional ideas ever.

And guess what SJVN is banging on about, as usual:

Windows 7 ... is still as insecure as ever and upgrading from XP to Windows 7 is a major pain. So if you want, or are going to be forced, to move by your aging PC to another operating system, why not give Linux a try.


If you want to know more about the Linux desktop, and you happen to be in the Orlando Florida area, I'll be speaking about the Linux desktop this Saturday, October 24th, at the Florida Linux Show. I look forward to seeing you there.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

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