Here are the steps I took.
1. Ask via Twitter whether or not this would be a good idea!
Ben was kind enough to suggest that he would willingly let me try first… He was also kind enough to point me at this helpful starting point
2. Step 1: formatting
Couldn’t find a USB stick with 4GB or more, so decided to use one of our new iomega eGo portable drives. It needed to be formatted as a bootable drive, which requires a quick formatting first. The drive is 320GB, so this has taken up most of the day! I’m following the steps on this article (via the first one).
2. Step 2: making boot
Make the drive bootable. The above article suggests I use bootsect from my Vista disk. Oh dear, I don’t have that to hand.
A quick google suggests using: Virtual Clone Drive with which I can mount the Windows 7 ISO I have already downloaded. Have downloaded and installed Virtual Clone Drive (didn’t require a restart, and does seem to just work).
Now back to Step 2. I did what the article said, and got the following:
f:\boot>bootsect /nt60 d:
Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.
Updated NTFS filesystem bootcode. The update may be unreliable since the
volume could not be locked during the update:
Access is denied.
Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.
hmmm. so was that successful or not?
2. Step 3
All copied across OK.
2. Step 4
Get the Netbook to boot off the USB disk. Another quick google says I don’t need to amend the bios, just hold F2 down on a restart. Oh, hang on. That just brought up the bios settings screen. OK – so USB drive goes second after ‘USB CD’ and before the main HD.
Having re-checked I’ve got no data of importance on there…
3. Here goes with a restart…
Clicking through the various options and warnings, the main choice seemed to be Upgrade or Custom? The ‘help me choose’ link advised me that there was no upgrade from XP, so I’ve gone for the full monty.
The installer tells me this will take a while, and involve some reboots. Its now 8.25pm…
8.43pm. OK, this would have been about ten to fifteen minutes quicker if I hadn’t been side-tracked. The install got to a point where it wanted to reboot. But, after it came back from the reboot it wanted to start the installation again (as the external USB drive booted first and setup the install again).
So, I suspected I should just cancel and reboot without the USB drive in the way, but I wasn’t sure and googled around a bit before figuring that, yes, you do need to get back in the bios, move the USB drive to lower down in the pecking order, and let it restart from the hard drive.
It’s now “completing installation…”
8.54pm. into the setup screens
9.14pm. oh dear – it wanted my procut key. Dutifuly entered from the label underneath the netbook. I now have a spinning circle of animated lovliness which has been going for about ten minutes.
Maybe I should have un-checked the ‘Automatically activate Windows when I’m online’ box?
[pause for sustanence & present wrapping!]
11pm. I’m writing this in Windows 7. In answer to the above, it was something wrong with the activation, and leaving this blank made it all work.