Windows 7 to be available on USB memory sticks?

Windows 7 USB

Microsoft is debating whether to make Windows 7 available on USB flash memory keys, to let netbook users more easily upgrade to the new operating system.

As we found in our recent round-up, most netbooks on sale now run Windows XP, and Windows 7 is expected to be a popular option for these users.

However, netbooks are not equipped with optical drives, hence Microsoft looking at USB keys as an alternative distribution method, according to

It will also be possible to download the operating system, but Microsoft is not providing an in-place upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7, so users will have to offload the OS onto external media to perform a clean-install' upgrade. Also, at over 2GB, many users might not wish to download such a large file.

In our own tests, wee found that Windows 7 ran well on netbooks, especially compared to Windows Vista, which tended to be far too demanding for netbooks - most of which offer similar technical specifications.

A Microsoft spokesman told IT PRO that he was aware of the story, but that the company had no comment to make at this time.

Windows 7 will be officially available from 22 October, at prices ranging from 149 to 229. Discounts are available for pre-orders.

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.