Installing Windows on a netbook

If you have a netbook or other PC that doesn't have an internal DVD drive, you can use the Windows 7 installation disc and an external DVD drive to install Windows 7.

Plug the external drive into a USB port on your netbook, insert the installation disc into the DVD drive, and then begin installing Windows 7. If you don't have an external DVD drive, a local computer store might be able to install Windows 7 for you using your installation disc.

For more information about upgrading to Windows 7, see Upgrading to Windows 7: FAQ. For detailed instructions on installing Windows 7, see Installing and reinstalling Windows 7.

Before you begin: Is your netbook ready for Windows 7?

To make sure your netbook (or any PC) can run all of the features included in Windows 7, check out the Windows 7 system requirements.

We also recommend downloading and running the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. It helps find potential problems with your computer's hardware, devices, or programs that might affect Windows 7 installation, and gives recommendations on what to do.

The Upgrade Advisor can also tell you whether your netbook can run more advanced features, such as Peek and Shake, available in certain editions of Windows 7. For more information about these features, see What's new with the Windows desktop?


  • Windows 7 is designed for monitors that use a minimum screen resolution of 800 × 600 pixels. If your netbook doesn't support this screen resolution, some dialog boxes and text might appear cut off. If this occurs, you might need to connect the netbook to a larger external monitor.

Troubleshooting low disk space errors

If your netbook's hard disk meets the minimum disk space requirements for installation but you still get a low disk space error, you might need to free up disk space on your netbook. For more information, see Delete files using Disk Cleanup.

If you can't free up enough disk space to install Windows 7, you can start, or boot, your netbook using the Windows 7 installation disc and your external DVD drive. Then, you can format the hard disk during Windows 7 installation to free up disk space. You might need to change some system settings to start your PC this way. For more information, see Start your computer from a Windows 7 installation disc or USB flash drive.


  • Formatting a drive during Windows 7 installation permanently deletes all of your programs, settings, and files. For step-by-step instructions on how to do this, see "Using the Custom installation option and formatting the hard disk" in Installing and reinstalling Windows 7.

  • Don't use a program from another software manufacturer to reformat your hard disk prior to installing Windows 7. Instead, format the hard disk during the Windows 7 installation process.

Article ID: MSW700009

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