So, I saw this article on prepping a USB drive, and then prepping the Acer to boot from USB. That was a cool post, but in my case the netbook hard drive was dead. So what I wanted to do was prep the new hard drive prior to installing it in the netbook. This method worked for me:
- Gear needed:
- One Netbook that has a dead hard drive, or you just want to reimage existing hard drive
- A USB drive enclosure (I used the SIIG USB3 dual drive dock from Microcenter)
- A viable copy of Windows 7 on DVD or ISO download from MSDN with Magic ISO Virtual CD (it’s free) to mount the ISO
NOTE: Windows media can get funky, but my MSDN download worked using the Acer’s OEM product code on the chassis.
- Put the 3.5″ hard drive in your enclosure and connect it to your computer
- Go to Start -> Computer, right-click and select Manage
- Navigate the left tree menu to Storage -> Disk Management and look for your USB drive.
The commands will vary because if your drive isn’t dead you will be able to shrink one partition and add another, or you may need to create two partitions. Bottom line is you want the drive to have 2 partitions: one small one where all your installs will go, maybe 8-16GB, and the rest on a second one.
- Once you have 2 partitions, you can use the iyogi article to prep the partition where the Windows 7 files will go (this will be the first, smaller partition that you created above). This will probably be on the highest disk number and first partition of that disk.
- Note: the article says “SELECT DISK 1” – but use the number that applies to you. Same with Partition.
- Copy over the Windows 7 files to the USB drive on the smaller partition
- Copy over Office or whatever apps you want to have on the ready
- Now you can visit the Acer (or your netbook’s) website, and down all the drivers and stuff those in a folder on that smaller partition
- Finally you can plug the drive into the netbook and start it up. I didn’t have to access BIOS – it picked up the drive and the Windows 7 installer triggered.
- When prompted, point the Windows 7 to install on the larger partition – Windows will make that the boot partition when it installs, and from then on, the netbook will boot from there
- After Windows 7 is done installing, install the drivers and if you allowed automatic updates, you will have plenty of those to keep you busy
The End – hope this approach works for you as well!