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Microsoft offers Windows 7 USB installer - but not in UK

USB drive

Posted on 23 Oct 2009 at 10:53

Updated at 1:30pm Microsoft is allowing netbook owners to download and install Windows 7 via a USB stick - but not in the UK.

Until now, users have had to burn an ISO of the Windows installer on a DVD drive - which is clearly inconvenient for netbook owners who don't have optical drives.

To cover off this eventuality, Microsoft's US store is offering the option to download Windows 7 directly onto a USB drive on your netbook. Users will have to tweak their BIOS settings to allow the PC to boot off a USB device.

Strangely, the store is offering the Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate versions of the operating system, but not the Starter edition which is designed specifically for netbooks.

Microsoft is only offering upgrade versions, which means netbook owners will need a copy of Windows XP or Vista on their machine to qualify.

However, while this is all well and good for US buyers, Microsoft is not yet offering the USB downloads in the UK. "This option is available in the US, but we have nothing to officially announce in the UK at this stage," a Microsoft spokesman told PC Pro. Microsoft declined to comment on why the USB downloads were unavailable in this country.

Microsoft's UK Store does allow you to download both full and upgrade versions of the OS, though these presumably need to be burned to DVD in the normal fashion.

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User comments

I installed Windows 7 Ultimate from a USB stick the day it came out via MSDN. You could do it with Vista also. All people need is the know how (guides are out there) and they can choose any version, including Starter, and they can use the full install rather than the upgrade should they choose to.

By daniel_gough on 23 Oct 2009

It would be neat if you could just run the OS from a USB stick wouldn't it?

Just like you can with Linux Fedora :)

By nicomo on 23 Oct 2009

This might be of use of you have another PC

By malfranks2 on 23 Oct 2009

*english language fail*

By malfranks2 on 23 Oct 2009

Are there any other countries in the world???

What I don't get from that piece of news is-is the option only available in the USA or only unavailable in the U.K.? I think UN recognises about 200 countries in the world but that must have escaped author's attention.

By Josefov on 23 Oct 2009

Another handy link...

...for those with the student upgrade version

By malfranks2 on 23 Oct 2009


DIY - if you have media or ISO and a PC:

By sipart on 23 Oct 2009

Help and overview on Win7 to USB tool

By sipart on 23 Oct 2009

Am I missing something obvious or is it not possible to image a DVD copy of Win7 onto a USB stick and boot from it.

By thewelshbrummie on 23 Oct 2009

It is possible, you have to format and configure your USB drive to be bootable, then copy the contents of the DVD onto the stick. Many of the guides only work on Vista because the bootsect command doesn't work on USB drives on Windows XP, but you can use a tool named MBRWiz instead.

By daniel_gough on 26 Oct 2009



Perhaps because this is a froum for a UK based magazine ? :)

By ctrog1 on 30 Oct 2009

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