One of the big things about Windows 7 is how well it runs on netbooks. The only problem with installing Windows 7 on netbooks is many netbooks don’t have CD/DVD drives. Microsoft has really been thinking hard how not to screw up the Windows 7 release because Microsoft has come up with a solution for netbook users. They have made a tool that will put the Windows 7 Installer right on to a USB stick for you! Yes you can get third party programs that do this, as Ashraf had an article on recently, but the advantage of doing it through Microsoft is you receive the Windows 7 ISO to put on the USB directly from Microsoft (if you purchase Windows 7 via Microsoft that is) to work with Microsoft’s new tool so you don’t have to scramble around looking for a DVD or ISO of Windows 7 (however you can still use the Windows 7 USB Installer if you don’t purchase via Windows 7 Microsoft).
Here is a quote from the WindowsSteam Blog:
When people purchase Windows 7 through our online Microsoft Store, they are given 2 options:
- Have the copy of Windows 7 packaged retail product (boxed product) shipped to them.
- Download a digital copy as an ISO image.
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. For netbook users without DVD drives, the WUDT will take an ISO image and create a bootable USB device that can be used to install Windows 7. The WUDT can also create a Windows 7 installation DVD from the ISO file as well.
Of course the catch is you must purchase Windows 7 from Microsoft’s online store, so if you have already purchased it from somewhere else you are better off sticking to A Bootable USB or WinToFlash. However for those netbook users who have yet to move to Windows 7, it may well be worth their while to get Windows 7 directly from Microsoft.
Update: It looks like you actually don’t have to purchase Windows 7 from Microsoft to use WUDT. Anyone, and everyone, can freely download it from here. The system requirements to run WUDT are:
- Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)
- Pentium 233-megahertz (MHz) processor or faster (300 MHz is recommended)
- 50MB of free space on your hard drive
- DVD-R drive or 4GB removable USB flash drive
Update: Microsoft has pulled the WUDT, so the link has been disabled. For more information read Ashraf’s article Microsoft removes the new Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool… because it stole from open source software?
Update2: Microsoft will now release the source code for WUDT as per GNU GPLv2 guidelines. For more information read Ashraf’s article Microsoft issues an apology for stealing open source code and will release the source code for Windows CD/DVD Download Tool.
[Ashraf made minor edits to this post.]