Thursday, May 27, 2010

Installing Windows 7 on a netbook

I recently bought an Asus Eee PC 1001 HA netbook for my wife to use for a really good price as it was an ex demo (end of line). This model has been superseded by a better model that includes a slightly faster CPU Intel Atom 1.66Ghz as the 1001 has a Intel Atom 1.6Ghz N270 processor. The newer model also comes with Windows 7 as oppossed to Windows XP which is what the 1001 model comes with. I have to say, I think it is brilliant.

As mentioned it came with Windows XP Home Premium edition but as this was for my wife she didn't care. But after getting home I relised I couldn't join it to the Windows Server 2008 domain controller because Home Premium doesn't support Windows Domains. So she couldn't print, fax, access family pictures, get an IP address from the DHCP, access TFS..(not really, shes not a coder!) etc etc You can't even access a network UNC path from Home Edition.

So XP clearly had to come off. So we installed Windows 7 Ultimate x86, bearing in mind this little machine only has 1gb of DDR2 RAM and it runs very well indeed.

But the problem I found was installing the Windows 7 OS without a CD drive and no access to a network share? All I have are USB ports. So as I don't have a optical USB CD drive, I simply downloaded Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool from codeplex, found here: It is actually written in C# under Visual Studio 2008, with full source code available to download.

This tool allows you to create a bootable USB flash card. So all I had to do was create a bootable USB flash card using the Windows 7 ISO, configure the BIOS on the Asus to boot from USB, install Windows 7, then job done.

Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool

In fact this tool works with DVD's as well, so it will be useful for future DVD burning.
This blog talks about disabling various Windows 7 services for optimization on a netbook pc, but to be honest I didn't need to disable anything, it just works really nicely.

I did forget to mention that I download Asus's drivers for optimal WLAN, display adapter etc to better performance and to get the machine to behave correctly.

Good job Asus...

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