With all the news about Windows 7 beta 1 leaking onto the torrent trackers, I figured it was time to writeup a Windows 7 netbook install guide. I've just installed beta 1 on my HP Mini (deleted the old build 6956 partition), and after I come back, will update you on how it runs.
What you need
Windows 7 beta 1 DVD image (Google search it)
minimum 4GB USB drive (I used a 120GB Western Digital Passport)
optional: a second flash drive to run GParted
To prepare the bootable USB drive
Plug the drive into your computer.
Right-click on a link to “My Computer” and select the
“Manage” menu option to enter the Computer Management application. In the left
menu pane of Computer Management, under the “Storage” title, select the “Disk
(Click images for full size)
Right click the unallocated volume and select “Format”. For formatting options, you can have the volume named presumably anything you want, but it MUST have a FAT32 file system, and unless you have time to spare, check the Quick Format box. Once the volume has been made, right click it and select “Mark partition as Active”.
Mount the Windows 7 DVD image using Daemon Tools or your DVD imaging program of choice, and copy all of the DVD files to your new volume. While the 2.45 GB of files are copying, go get yourself a coffee.
Partitioning the Hard Drive
Download the latest LiveUSB release of GParted partition manager, and create a bootable USB using these steps. I highly recommend using the LiveUSB Helper application, as it makes things very easy. I loaded GParted onto a spare 512MB flash drive that I had lying around, so that I can keep it to use on any of my machines instead of having to use a LiveCD.
Now, plug your USB drive into the netbook, and turn it on. When it reaches the boot screen, have it boot from the USB drive. (Pressing F9 on the HP Mini gives you a menu to select bootable drives from, other netbooks are similar, or you can enter the BIOS and change the boot order manually so that it boots to the USB drive.)
Wait for the Windows files to load and for it to get to the
Windows 7 install screen. Hit the big “Install Now” button to get to the
“Collecting Information” stage. Click yes to all the legal bull, select Custom
install (presuming you want to dual boot….I don’t recommend using a beta
Microsoft OS as the primary operating system), then select the partition or
unallocated space you want to install to. Hit enter, sit back, and wait for it
to finish installing. In the mean time, don’t unplug anything. After its done,
voila, you have a dual booting netbook running Windows 7 beta 1. Pretty simple, no?