As you know installing Windows 7 or any other operating system is easy if your computer is equipped with an integrated optical drive, but most netbooks don’t include such a device and that’s why when it comes to netbooks, you have two options to install the operating system. The first is to use external (USB) CD/DVD drive and the second is to use USB Flash Drive. The external DVD drive will make installation a lot easier, but it’s also more expensive. On the other hand, using USB Flash Drive is cheaper but the main disadvantage here is the preparation of the device, which is related to the execution of many commands in the command prompt. Of course this increases the possibility of mistakes, which could be fatal for the proper setup of your flash drive.

The following steps will show you, how to create a bootable USB Flash Drive with minimal effort, using small program called WinSetupFromUSB. I’ve tested this guide on my ASUS N10JC with a 32-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate and a it worked perfectly.

All you need is:

  • a USB Flash Drive with at least 4GB of storage.
  • the original Windows 7 ISO file.
  • WinSetupFromUSB which can be downloaded from here.

Let’s  start.

1. Download and install WinSetupFromUSB. The default installation path is C:\WinSetupFromUSB.

2. Create a new folder with any name of your choice and extract the Windows 7   ISO file into that folder.  For this purpose you can use programs like UltraISO.

3. Start WinSetupFromUSB and connect the USB Flash Drive to your PC. If drive is detected properly you should see a window similar to the following:

win setup from usb
4. Now you have to prepare your flash drive (e.g. select file system and make it bootable).  All you have to do is press RMPrepUSB button and select the options as shown in the picture below. Then click Prepare Drive.

win setup from usb 2

5.Answer OK to all questions displayed by the program during the process.

win setup from usb 3

win setup from usb 4
6. Your device is prepared and now the only thing left to do is just to copy Windows 7 files to it. Select the checkbox next to Vista/7 setup/PE/Recovery ISO field, and then using the browse button specify the full path to the folder where you extracted the Windows 7 ISO file. WinSetupFromUSB should now look like the following:

win setup from usb 5

7. Click GO to start the process.

8.WinSetupFromUSB will copy all of the Windows 7 files from your hard drive to the USB drive, which can take about 20-30 minutes.

win setup from usb 6

9.After the process is complete your Windows 7 USB drive will be ready for use and you should see a window like this:

win setup from usb 8

You can now connect the USB drive to your netbook and boot from it in order to stat the installation. On ASUS netbooks you can choose the boot device by entering the boot menu. Do this by holding down the “ESC” key immediately after turning on the computer. Then select the USB drive and press Enter. The installation process will begin.

Important: If you have Win XP already installed, it’s better to select “Custom (Clean)” at the beginning of the installation process, instead of “Upgrade”. Otherwise your existing Windows XP partition will be overwritten.

Don’t remove USB Flash Drive during the installation.

Edit:  If your flash drive has a higher boot priority than hard drive ( e.g. depending on your  BIOS settings it is possible flash drive to be listed before hard drive in the boot device priority list ) then most likely your computer will continue to boot from the USB drive after every restart and the installation process will start over each time.  If this happens you will need to select  you hard drive as a first boot device either by changing the BIOS settings or selecting it from the boot menu.