I want to install Windows 7 on a computer, currently running Windows XP, that doesn't have a DVD drive. I know that I can do that from USB, but I only have 1 GB flash drives. I found a question here (I can't currently find the link) that said that it can be installed from the network, but apparently my computer needs to support something called PXE, and I don't think it does. So,

  1. How can I find out whether this computer supports PXE?

  2. If it doesn't, how can I install Windows 7 here?

  • 1
    Go buy a $10 4GB USB key or use an external USB HDD. The time you save will drastically outweigh the $10 investment. – Breakthrough Aug 19 '11 at 18:05
  • 3
    Or if it's just a one off situation borrow one – Col Aug 19 '11 at 18:16
  • @Col: Please post that as an answer so I can accept it, it's going to be the easiest thing to do right now. – Javier Aug 19 '11 at 18:27
  • @Javier Badia that's not an acceptable answer in my opinion, which is why I put it as a comment. I know it's possible, it's just not worth the hassle. I put a semi-viable solution for you instead. – Breakthrough Aug 19 '11 at 19:31

I'd recommend just borrowing a suitable USB key, it will save you a lot of hassle and I'm sure you'll be able to find someone who can spare one for a couple of hours.

  • What's funny is, this made me realize that I can take the DVD drive from another computer and put it in just to install Windows 7. I know that this sounds too complicated, but I want to get this done and don't feel like buying something extra. – Javier Aug 19 '11 at 19:13
  • Nope, it would be my choice in this situation. It's only two wires and a few screws after all and you can just leave it hanging out the side of your PC while you install. – Col Aug 19 '11 at 19:18

You can typically determine if your machine can support PXE by looking at the bootable media options in you BIOS screen. The exact option to look for will vary by vendor. Holding F12 down during a boot sequence frequently works.

Since you mentioned PXE, and than implies a network, have you considered sharing the DVD from a machine that has a DVD drive, then connecting to the network share and using the installer that way? Trying to go the PXE route will mean spending a lot of time and effort that's worth a lot more than the $10 you'd spend on a larger USB drive.

  • Do you mean accessing the DVD from over the network and running the installer from inside Windows XP? I'm not sure I can do that, the installer is 64 bit. – Javier Aug 19 '11 at 18:32
  • That's relevent information. In that case, you're not going to be able to use this method :-( – rburte Oct 3 '11 at 17:58

Well you can easily install Windows 7 drives using USB drives, that is the best way thing to do if you dont have DVD drives.

Here you can get a guideline from my website. Windows 7 Tutorial For Install From USB

  • I mentioned that I don't have a large enough USB drive. – Javier Aug 19 '11 at 19:05
  • Well the same applies to make any of your drives, the very software also makes any of your hard drives as Bootable using ISO image of Windows 7 or its Installer, if you had the website link with more attention – aibk01 Aug 19 '11 at 19:16
  • USB drive is nothing different than a portable hard disk, FYI – aibk01 Aug 19 '11 at 19:16
  • Using Network DVD Rom as mentioned or any network install is also a good idea – aibk01 Aug 19 '11 at 19:17

You can do the following:

  1. Put the hard drive from the Windows XP computer in your Windows 7 machine.
  2. Format the hard drive, and create a new partition.
  3. Extract the disc or ISO contents to the new partition.
  4. In the partition, there should be a boot folder. Open a command prompt, and navigate to that folder.
  5. In that folder, there should be a program called BOOTSECT.EXE. Run BOOTSECT /NT60 X:, where X: is the letter of the new partition. This will mark the partition as bootable.

After that, you should be able to boot from that partition, and setup should start.

Alternative solution: Follow these #1 and #2 steps instead of those above (warning: I have not tried it)

  1. Transfer the .ISO or disk contents to the computer over the network.
  2. Partition the hard drive, and make a new partition about 4GB in size. Make the partition NTFS.

Then follow steps 3 to 5 from above. If it doesn't boot, you might have to format the partition with Windows XP on it first (you can use a portable Linux distro or BartPE to do it).


PXE is not your answer here. Even if your machine supported PXE, what would be serving the install image?

You are going to waste a lot of time and effort looking for alternative solutions. Based on your lack of knowledge of PXE, I gather that you are not very PC savvy (which is fine). Save your self the headache and run to Best Buy and purchase a USB DVD drive. Sometimes the easiest solution is the right one.

  • Actually, I am (or I think I am, anyway) pretty tech savvy. I just had never heard of PXE. And I do have another computer in the network, I forgot to mention that. – Javier Aug 19 '11 at 18:39
  • @Javier Badia Here's a link to the appropriate wiki page en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preboot_Execution_Environment there are plenty of bits of freeware that will let you set up a PXE server under windows – Col Aug 19 '11 at 19:04

You can just copy the full installation dvd in the hard drive and then install from there. So far I can remember, I had done it that way.

  • But the installer is 64 bit. It doesn't work in Windows XP 32 bit, as far as I can tell. – Javier Aug 20 '11 at 15:55

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