The method of installation is to burn the .iso image file onto a blank DVD disc. You can boot from the DVD you have made, or you can run it from within an existing Windows installation. Yet, if you do not have an optical drive on your computer of choice then booting from DVD is not really an option.
You can extract all the files to a USB stick using a free open source program like 7-Zip. This allows you to run the Windows 7 setup program from your DVD-challenged computer by plugging in the USB stick.
Of course, that only works if your target machine already has a version of Windows installed on it. It won’t give you the most flexibility, either – because you’re running the setup from within Windows you won’t have options to repartition the hard drive if so desired (to collapse two partitions into one, for instance.)
What would be really helpful is a bootable USB stick. So, here’s how to make one.
First, download the Windows 7 .iso image from MSDN or TechNet, or from Microsoft’s download site when it comes available.
Next, insert a USB stick. Be sure to back up anything you wish to retain because anything already on the USB stick will be lost during this process.
Format the USB drive using the NTFS file system. You can do this by double-clicking “My Computer” or “Computer” (for Vista users) and then right-clicking on the drive that represents the USB stick. A quick format is fine, the important thing is to ensure you specify NTFS and not FAT as the file system.
We must next resort to the command line. Click Start/Programs/Accessories. Right-click on the “Command Prompt” icon and opt to Run as Administrator. Windows Vista may bring up a UAC window asking for confirmation; allow it.
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