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Microsoft may be first to offer OS on USB drives

updated 11:10 am EDT, Fri June 26, 2009

MS to Offer Win 7 on USB

Microsoft is considering offering Windows 7 on USB flash drives to make upgrades easier for systems without optical drives, a source claimed on Friday. The unnamed contact explains to CNET that the company is looking at the move to make it easier to upgrade netbooks in particular, which currently need either an external drive or else the elaborate creation of a bootable USB drive. Whether this would involve copy protection beyond a CD key isn't known.

Other options are still on the table and wouldn't necessarily involve removable storage. As Microsoft already allows Vista downloads, it may extend that to Windows 7 and automate the process of creating a bootable USB stick from the file. Alternately, customers could visit retailers like Best Buy and have technicians perform the upgrade. These may do it anyways as the move from XP to 7 doesn't allow an in-place upgrade, instead requiring a complete reinstall and a backup of valuable data.

Microsoft hasn't committed to any one strategy but has acknowledged the problem of moving some systems up to the new OS without a DVD or CD reader.

A release on USB would mark the first by any major OS vendor and is a potential solution for Apple and other companies to including an operating system with a netbook or an ultraportable. Some computer designers still include the operating system on a disc with these systems but usually have to count on the owner buying an add-on drive. Apple's solution with the MacBook Air was to develop Remote Disc and draw on another computer's optical drive over the local network.

Using flash storage has been cost-prohibitive so far as modern operating systems often need multi-gigabte storage that in USB form costs significantly more than CDs or DVDs.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. resuna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005

    0

    "FIrst"

    Where do you get "Microsoft may be first to offer OS on USB drives"? I picked up a freebie linux-on-key-dongle at a computer show several years ago. I don't recall which major Linux vendor it was, but it was one of the big names.

    Or are they defining "major OS vendor" as "Apple and Microsoft"? That makes it a bit of an easy contest to win, doesn't it?

  1. resuna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005

    -2

    "First???"

    Where do you get "Microsoft may be first to offer OS on USB drives"? I picked up a freebie linux-on-key-dongle at a computer show several years ago. I don't recall which major Linux vendor it was, but it was one of the big names.

    Or are they defining "major OS vendor" as "Apple and Microsoft"? That makes it a bit of an easy contest to win, doesn't it?

  1. resuna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005

    +1

    Bah

    "Click to edit" doesn't work in Firefox, apparently, sorry for the double post.

  1. ff11

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004

    +3

    Interesting ...

    Which brings up the question, what type of backup software comes with the Macbook Air since it has no optical drive?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Re: Interesting

    It comes with DVDs like all Macs. Its up to you to find a computer with a DVD drive to use.

  1. IONLYUSEOSX08

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008

    0

    It's about time

    You can get an 8GB USB flash drive for under $15 retail. However, since you can't upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7 (only clean install) you would still need another external drive to backup your files using the files and setting transfer wizard located on the Windows 7 install disk/USB drive. You should be able to also use a network share for backup. It may be worth it for anyone with a netbook to also have a DVD USB drive to make life easier. Maybe they can license Apple's remote CD/DVD sharing over Bonjour (never happen) or team with Roxio to share a disk of another PC.

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