Installing Windows 7 on a netbook without a DVD drive

by Shijaz Abdulla on 02.12.2009 at 12:47

I recently purchased an Acer Aspire Revo nettop for my home Media Center PC. Since the purchase was made before the official launch of Windows 7, the computer came pre-loaded with Windows Vista. The nettop itself is really cool, it comes with a tiny form factor and can be mounted on a mounting stand or stuck behind a flat panel TV. More on that will follow in another post.


Today I decided to upgrade the nettop to Windows 7. There is however one serious consideration to be taken – like most nettops and netbooks, the Acer Aspire Revo comes with no DVD drive!

Windows 7 comes on a DVD and I have no intention of buying a DVD drive :). This is why I am going to use a 4 GB USB flash drive for the Windows 7 installation.

  1. In order to prepare the USB drive, run DISKPART on any Windows computer. Type DISKPART on the Start menu and hit ENTER. 

    Note: DISKPART utility is usually available by default on your Windows installation. If you don’t have DISKPART download it here.

  2. Plug in your USB flash drive. You need at least 3 GB of space, I recommend you use a 4 GB flash drive. All data on the USB stick will be destroyed so make sure you don’t have any important data on the USB drive.
  3. Type the following commands inside the DISKPART command line utility:
    • LIST DISK (to see all physical drives on your computer)
    • SELECT DISK 1 (assuming disk 1 is your USB drive. Make sure you select the right drive here! Refer to the output from the LIST DISK command)
    • CLEAN (to wipe out any existing volumes on the USB drive)
    • CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY (creates a new primary partition on the USB drive)
    • ACTIVE (Marks the newly created primary partition as ‘active’)
    • FORMAT FS=FAT32 QUICK (formats the newly created primary partition in the FAT32 file system. The QUICK parameter saves time by doing a quick format)
    • ASSIGN (to give the new partition a drive letter)
    • Close DISKPART
  4. Copy the contents of the entire Windows 7 DVD into the USB drive (drag and drop).
  5. Eject the USB drive, and plug it into your nettop or netbook, boot from it. (You may need to change the boot sequence to get your netbook or nettop to boot from USB). In the Acer Revo, hit the F12 key to select the boot device. The computer will boot from USB and you can continue the Windows 7 installation.
  6. If you are upgrading from Windows Vista, just plug it in after Windows Vista has started and do an upgrade.

Watch out for my next post on how to set up a Windows 7 Media Center PC at home.

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10 Responses to Installing Windows 7 on a netbook without a DVD drive

  1. Jarrett says:

    I am trying to install Windows 7 onto my acer revo which came with XP, but when I boot from the USB drive a prompt appears telling me that “A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing.” and that I need to load the driver before continuing. I have look on the web, but I can’t find a driver and I don’t know what to do. Please help

  2. Shijaz says:

    Hi Jarrett

    I did face a similar issue with drivers. All I did was rebuild the flash drive (re-copying the files) and it worked the second time around – I suspect some files didn’t get copied across the first time.

    Also note, you can’t upgrade to Win7 from XP, you can only do fresh install.


  3. Jarrett says:

    I tried doing a fresh install from a DVD and from a USB drive and both times it is missing a driver. The other thing is that I installed XBMC onto it first and now I am trying to go from XBMC to Windows 7 and I don’t know if that is creating the problem. Is there a way that you can pull the drivers off your computer and give them to me to see if that will remove the prompt I am getting?

  4. Shijaz says:

    My Revo had just Windows Vista (which came pre-installed on it) when I did the upgrade. The drivers were the same factory-installed drivers that came pre-installed with Vista, since it was an “upgrade” in my case.

    I’ve not worked on Xbox Media Center so I’m not sure if that’s the culprit here.

  5. Jarrett says:

    Can you extract the drivers you are currently using and pass them to me so I can try to use them to fix my problem? Today there is a free giveaway of Driver Magician that backs up the drivers on your windows computer. I am frustrated with this project and I would be extremely grateful if you could help me out.

    link to Driver Magician:

  6. Installng #Windows7 on a #netbook / #nettop without a DVD drive

  7. cosh says:

    what’s the process for windows 7 being installed on my Revo form Linux Limpus ?
    I get a little white dash at the top of the screen after I boot from Flash drive ?

  8. cosh says:

    followed your tutorial to the letter and installed windows 7 on Linux , had major issues until I tried with Diskpart. Big thanks for helping me out !

  9. cyberpine says:

    Is it possible to have muliple boot volumes on one USB drive? And if so, how can a USB boot process be menued to select one?

    It would be awesome if there was a bios smart enough to boot to a menu that let you select a native ISO on a USB that is not formated for boot.

    I’d like to be able to boot to a windows 7 pro, Gparted 10 and Ghost from the same 1TB USB drive. Possible?


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