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.