Flash Drives Could be 'Key' for Win 7 on Netbooks

In case you haven't noticed, there's been a lot of talk about Windows 7 over the last couple of days thanks to Microsoft revealing retail pricing as well as discounted upgrades. As with previous versions of Windows, the next one will be delivered to consumers on optical media. This does pose an interesting problem – how do you easily install Windows 7 on a PC without an optical drive?

Installing via a USB device would be the easiest solution, with either a USB external disc drive or a flash memory stick. Such methods would allow Windows 7 to be easily installed into ultraportables and nearly all netbooks.

According to one of CNet's sources, Microsoft is considering offering Windows 7 on a thumb drive to allow netbook owners to more easily upgrade their machines. The story claims that Microsoft has said before that it is exploring ways to service PC users who are unable to use the optical disc to install Windows 7.

Another option involves Microsoft selling a downloadable version of Windows 7 that will enable users to make a bootable copy of the OS installer using their own thumb drives. Microsoft already sells a downloadable copy of Windows today, so that methodology could be extended into the upcoming version.

With nearly four months to go until Windows 7 hits store shelves, there's still plenty of time for Microsoft to work out the details. Stay tuned.