How To Install Windows On a PC Without a CD Drive?

Crypto6

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So I got a friend who dropped his netbook a few days ago. His hard drive is dead with the lovely error code 0xc00000e9 on the screen and we can't boot Windows up period despite going into the setup and whatnot. We will need a new hard drive to repair this error.

The problem is- his computer is a netbook and it lacks a CD Drive. I know putting an OS onto a flash drive is possible, but how do I do it and will the computer recognize the USB stick despite it being in it's current state? Or would I have to install Windows onto the hard drive through another computer? I want to make sure this is possible before we go out and get a new hard drive only to find out we can't fix it. Any help would be great!
 

uplink-svk

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External optical drive, or usb flash disk, or external HDD. All of them can install everything from Windows 95 heavily modded to newest Windows 10.

I personally use Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool [it works with 7/8/8.1/10], but there are much more sophisticated tools out there. E.g. Rufus, easyuefi [a.k.a. WinToUSB] <- this is my personal favourite, it installs system on anything, and You can run it from it directly, so far it worked for me with external HDDs, but it's a great step forward, another is WinToFlash, and many more.

P.S.: Your notebook needs to support "boot from USB", it doesn't matter whether it's ODD, extSSD, extHDD, or flash disk. If it doesn't You're screwed. But since it doesn't have ODD built in within it, I believe it will support "boot from USB".

Also, You can boot from LAN and install it via LAN, but that's a long shot. I advise You to use the Windows 7 Tool I suggested in the beginning. Download iSO or make iSO of Your original Windows and enjoy the ride.
 

Crypto6

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In the rare event that it does not have a "boot from USB" option, is it possible to install the operating system to the internal hard drive using another computer? (I'm thinking hooking it up to another PC with a disk drive and putting the operating system into the new internal hard drive from that PC.).
 

uplink-svk

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Yes, it is, but You need external HDD, well at least I needed. Author claims it works on external USBs too.

This is what You're looking for. Be warned, it takes a while, don't do it in USB 3.0 it doesn't work at all. And I strongly suggest external HDD.

http://www.easyuefi.com/wintousb/

Hope this helps.

Okay now I read what You actually wrote. So don't do it that way. Buy a new HDD/SSD, install it into notebook, install Windows from Flash Drive, and enjoy. Yes, You can install OS on different computer, hook it up to the notebook, but it's just no good.
 

Alabalcho

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In general case - you cannot!!! You can only if both computers have very similar hardware.
 

uplink-svk

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Alabalcho - Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 [never tested 10] are pretty robust. They can run essentially any system they're thrown into, one from another. It doesn't matter whether You begin on a 3 generations old AMD and end up on newest generation Intel. The only thing You may encounter are few bsods, mostly when RAM count is different, and when You go to safe mode and let him install all the basic required libraries/drivers, You're good to go.

But as I said, it's not good. There's a lot of residual stuff from old system, and without proper cleaning, it leaves a mess.

So yes, it works, no I don't recommend it.
 

USAFRet

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(I'm thinking hooking it up to another PC with a disk drive and putting the operating system into the new internal hard drive from that PC.).
No. Almost certainly will not work. Especially going from a 'PC' to a 'netbook'.
Not gonna work.
 

USAFRet

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You haven't read enough posts in here about that concept failing miserably....:heink:
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
 

uplink-svk

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USAFRet - I did install Windows 8.1 in Brix with Core i3, and after clean install, I put the SSD drive into Packard Bell Easynote ME69 Touch and it worked. It had two BSODs, but after third time it booted up.

Problem is it's not recommended. I did it because Packard Bell couldn't load up any USB device in preboot.

I know, I have the experience, trust me. It's just when there's no other way, he could give it a shot. I myself told him to go from flash drive with fresh iSO of Windows and install it to new HDD/SSD that he installed into notebook.
 

USAFRet

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Right. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
You got the former...:)