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If you're like me and have a small form-factor mobile computer (in my case, the M11x), then you're probably wondering how exactly you're going to install a clean copy of Windows 7 without a disc drive. You could purchase an external drive, or, in a few easy steps, transform your extra flash drive into a high-speed Windows 7 installation medium.
First things first, you're going to need a flash drive that has a capacity of at least 4GB; this is important, because the Windows 7 Ultimate installation disc is roughly 3~4GB. Next, unless you enjoy lots of confusing errors (argh, why won't my drive boot), you should be sure to format your flash drive as NTFS, not FAT or FAT32, before you begin the process. Using anything other than an NTFS drive will result in problems installing (I wish someone would have told me this before hand). Also, if you're running an older motherboard or computer, be sure to confirm that is supports USB booting; you can find this information on the manufacturer page. All newer equipment does support this functionality; anything older than 2005 might not.
Next, rip an ISO of your copy of Windows 7 (make sure it is the full installation, not an upgrade). If you're wondering how to do this, download a copy of "ImgBurn", then run the "Create image file from disc" option from the main menu (with the disc in drive, of course). Then, download the latest copy of "UNetbootin" - it's the application that makes the process so simple.
Now, you should launch "UNetbootin" with your flash drive plugged into the computer and formatted to NTFS. Click the "Diskimage" bubble and then, after clicking the ellipses (...), navigate to and select your recently "ripped" Windows 7 disc. Ignore the "Space used to..." option, make sure the type is set as "USB Drive", and confirm that you have selected the correct drive letter - you do not want to do this process to another one of your important drives! Confirm this by checking the drive letter in "My Computer" or the administrative tools on your system. Click "OK", sit back, and enjoy the wait. It will take a bit long, roughly 10 minutes or so, so please be patient while it does its magic.
Once your flash drive has been properly processed by UNetbootin, you can now plug the flash drive into your target computer and hit the BIOS button to change your boot order, or hit the appropriate BIOS button for the selective boot menu (usually F12). If you've chosen the latter, hit F12 at boot, and select the appropriate flash drive. Now, after the one time wait, you'll be installing Windows 7 in absolute record time! Seriously!