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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Jun 2001
    Vancouver, BC
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    Installing Windows 7 on a Netbook


    I think I have the way to install Windows 7 from scratch on a Dell Inspiron 1110 Netbook (no CD Drive), but want to make sure before I wipe it clean - it's my girl friend's and somehow the restore partition is gone - just the main C partition exists. It's become super slow of late, so I'd like to do a fresh install to get the speed back. The good news is that when she bought it, she got Dell to send her the Windows 7 disc and the Dell Drivers disc, so we have the legitimate software. My plan (after backing up all the documents of course):

    1. Copy both discs to (separate) flash drives.
    2. Boot the netbook to the USB drive.
    3. Use the W7 install disc to reformat the netbook's C drive and do a fresh install of windows (and we have the key)
    4. Once done, use the second flash drive to install all the drivers.

    Looking at the CMOS, it appears that I can boot from the USB drive. My main concern is in copying the W7 install disc on my machine - is there some hidden file that I might miss that will render it unbootable?

    The Dell web site has a list of the drivers and the order to install them in, so that's covered, but seems to imply that if there isn't a restore partition I'd have to use an external CD drive instead to install W7 (or send it to them) rather than use the USB flash drive.

    Does this look good?

    Thanks for any feedback.


  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Thanked 1,116 Times in 1,039 Posts
    Use Rufus to create the USB from the CD and all will be well.

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Northern California
    Thanked 162 Times in 109 Posts
    John, just a tangential comment here... I installed Win7 on an Inspiron 1010 netbook, the smaller sister to the 1110. While it ran fine it was a bit "leisurely" compared to what I was used to with my regular laptops. However, when I replaced the standard spinning-disk hard drive with a SSD it made a world of difference. The netbook became more comfortable to use.

    I'm mentioning this here because while it normally might be hard to justify spending too much money upgrading a low-end machine, you might find it's worth taking advantage of Black Friday sales going on for the next day or two. For instance, newegg has lots of 60GB and even a few 128GB SSDs (like this one) on sale for under $50 right now.

    (Caution: replacing the hard drive on a netbook is a bit more complex than on a typical laptop. Mine involved separating the two case halves.)

  4. #4
    Super Moderator
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    Aug 2012
    Durham UK
    Thanked 1,047 Times in 995 Posts
    Just to confirm that you have a product key that will work, download Belarc Advisor as OEM sticker keys don't always work and Belarc should list Dell's generic key.

    You could also back up the drivers folders from Windows\System32 as they will be more up to date than what's on the disk if the drivers have been updated since new - or you could go to the Dell Support site and check for any driver updates before reinstalling and then back them up and then just drag & drop them back in after the reinstall.

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Forever West
    Thanked 268 Times in 257 Posts
    I keep one of these for those times I come across a computer without the drive or with a bad drive:
    I'll be using it in a couple of weeks in setting up a new All-in-One for a lady.

    I also have an older HP and an older Lite-On Optical drive but they use 2 USB ports, one for data and power and another for additional power.
    Newer ones:

  6. #6
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    California & Arizona
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    The good news is that when she bought it, she got Dell to send her the Windows 7 disc and the Dell Drivers disc.
    Then you will be using that W7 disk's product key and your current "slow" installation will be formatted.
    Another thing you should do prior to proceeding is download the latest drivers for your netbook, as the
    drivers on the provided driver disk she has will have been outdated. Sure you could use them, but they'll be..."outdated".
    It's quite possible that getting better performance out of your device will include the clean installation of updated drivers.

    The very best time to update to all new and latest drivers will be during a clean install. It is the
    least likely time in which one will encounter driver related issues. It's best to take advantage of this time.

    Proceed by...

    1 backup everything you need from the original installation. This will be deleted.
    Take your time to ensure that you have everything you need in terms of installed applications.
    Take note of the product key from the original installation, but...
    You'll be using the product key from the W7 disk you got from Dell.

    2 Getting the Windows 7 disk onto a USB stick into a bootable format.
    It looks like PaulT has that part covered, so follow those instructions closely.
    Create the bootable W7 USB stick on another system, preferably a desktop computer, it'll go faster.
    Make certain that you can actually boot the netbook from your new creation.

    3 An SSD would be a worthwhile asset if it can actually be done with minimal fuss.
    "Minimal fuss" has different meanings to different folks.

    4 Learn how to use a drive based imaging application to backup and restore your OS in the event you need to refresh, as an image restore will usually be much faster and a less error prone process than a reset/refresh, provided you don't fill the drive too much.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2014-11-29 at 05:38.
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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