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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I've been dying to try out linux lately and thought I'd give it a shot. I rather liked the live USB drive I tried out and thought I'd to a complete install. Just as a precautionary measure before I do so, however, I'd like to make sure I have a ready copy of Win7 ready in case I change my mind.

My laptop has no DVD drive, but I already made sure that I can boot from USB. I do not have access to the original installation disc unfortunately, as I bought this pc from dell =/

How would I go about doing this? I'd prefer not to use torrents to obtain a Win7 iso, even though I have a legitimate copy, because I'm on a college network and would rather not get kicked out for doing that >.<
 

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Re: Putting Win7 on a USB drive to reinstall later?

You'd be much safer making a complete image of your hard drive - including ALL partitions - before you install Linux. I'd recommend something like Acronis True Image or Ghost to image with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Putting Win7 on a USB drive to reinstall later?

You'd be much safer making a complete image of your hard drive - including ALL partitions - before you install Linux. I'd recommend something like Acronis True Image or Ghost to image with.
Actually, I was originally going to reinstall my OS anyways, I just thought I'd give linux a test run in between. I'd rather just find some way to install Win7 off of my flash drive to do a clean install.
 

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Re: Putting Win7 on a USB drive to reinstall later?

There is an easy way to do this.

Get a copy of a program such as Magic ISO (free) and copy the Windows disk into an .iso
type file. Be sure to make a seperate text file with the cd key and place both on the USB drive.

You can then load Windows when it is needed.

Another option would be dependent on the size of your USB drive.

You can install Windows and then do a disk image of it, with all drivers intact, and store it on the USB drive. From there you can replace (insert) the image at any time.

Also because you are in school, talk to your academic advisor. Most colleges have a site that you can get Windows for free as long as you have a .edu email address. I can't find the link at the moment, but they will help you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Putting Win7 on a USB drive to reinstall later?

There is an easy way to do this.

Get a copy of a program such as Magic ISO (free) and copy the Windows disk into an .iso
type file. Be sure to make a seperate text file with the cd key and place both on the USB drive.

You can then load Windows when it is needed.

Another option would be dependent on the size of your USB drive.

You can install Windows and then do a disk image of it, with all drivers intact, and store it on the USB drive. From there you can replace (insert) the image at any time.

Also because you are in school, talk to your academic advisor. Most colleges have a site that you can get Windows for free as long as you have a .edu email address. I can't find the link at the moment, but they will help you.
How can I use the first option if I don't have access to the install disc?

Not to mention, I'd much prefer to install the OS completely fresh. Dell prepackaged this computer with a ton of software I really don't need, and on top of that I'd prefer to not have a separate windows partition.
 

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Re: Putting Win7 on a USB drive to reinstall later?

Since you don't have a CD drive, then one of the hidden partitions on your hard drive has your copy of Windows on it. If you restore the entire saved image back to your hard drive, you can wipe your current Windows installation and use the manufacturer's restore process to bring it back like the day you bought it. The other advantage is, you don't have to go running around finding drivers from the mfg's website.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: Putting Win7 on a USB drive to reinstall later?

Since you don't have a CD drive, then one of the hidden partitions on your hard drive has your copy of Windows on it. If you restore the entire saved image back to your hard drive, you can wipe your current Windows installation and use the manufacturer's restore process to bring it back like the day you bought it. The other advantage is, you don't have to go running around finding drivers from the mfg's website.
Huh, I never knew that. Thanks man. I take it it would be possible to install linux only on the partition used by actual Windows files (ie not the hidden partition)? Also, in the case of me needing to reinstall the OS how would I access this hidden partition?
 

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Re: Putting Win7 on a USB drive to reinstall later?

How you start the system recovery depends on the computer. You could look up your manual on the manufacturer's website. When you turn on the computer, you may have to tap the F11 key or CTRL+F11 (HPs & Compaqs) to get to the recovery menu. Make sure the system recovery is there before you take my word for it.

I can't really help you on Linux, maybe someone else can. I'm pretty sure the Linux bootloader will modify your master boot record (which is normally customized by the computer maker), which could prevent you from accessing the system recovery later. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong. That's why I suggested imaging everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Putting Win7 on a USB drive to reinstall later?

How you start the system recovery depends on the computer. You could look up your manual on the manufacturer's website. When you turn on the computer, you may have to tap the F11 key or CTRL+F11 (HPs & Compaqs) to get to the recovery menu. Make sure the system recovery is there before you take my word for it.

I can't really help you on Linux, maybe someone else can. I'm pretty sure the Linux bootloader will modify your master boot record (which is normally customized by the computer maker), which could prevent you from accessing the system recovery later. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong. That's why I suggested imaging everything.
Great, thanks. One last question: Does it take very long to take an image of all partitions of a hard drive? My drive is ~250 gigs.

Thanks man
 

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Incase u do actually decide u want to install a copy from usb then heres instructions on how i done it:

1. Insert your USB flash drive.
2. Hit WIN+R, type cmd and click OK.
3. Type diskpart and hit ENTER
4. Type list disk, hit ENTER and identify the disk number for your USB flash drive.
You MUST be very sure of this or else youll be formatting the wrong drive later on.
If you have only one hard drive, then normally your USB flash drive will be disk 1. Diskpart List Disk
5. Type select disk 1 and hit ENTER
6. Type clean and hit ENTER
7. Type create partition primary and hit ENTER
8. Type select partition 1 and hit ENTER
9. Type active and hit ENTER
10. Type format fs=fat32 and hit ENTER
11. Type assign and hit ENTER
12. Type exit and hit ENTER
13. Explore a Windows 7 disc/iso/instalation copy and copy all the files to the USB flash drive.
14. Boot up your computer with USB flash drive.
 
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