Thursday, 14 May 2009

Windows 7 installation on the Samsung NC10 netbook

This is an account of my attempt to install Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC). We are starting from a dual boot system on the Samsung NC10, running Windows XP and Linux Ubuntu and need to create a bootable USB Windows 7 flash drive.

Stage 1
In Windows XP, download the appropriate Windows 7 RC ISO file and save it on the desktop.

Stage 2
Download and install HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool:
and run it with a USB flash drive plugged in.

Select the USB stick in the Device box, choose NTFS File System and give it a Volume Label name, eg Windows 7. Check the Quick Format box. This will prepare the USB stick to be a Win7 installation drive; it needs to be at least 4GB and obviously have nothing on it that you need.

Stage 3
Download and install MagicDisc - MagicISO Virtual CD/DVD ROM:

This enables you to mount the Windows 7 ISO as a virtual DVD. It installs an icon on the right of the task bar, from where you can assign the CD image to a virtual drive by right clicking and selecting your ISO file. This actually seemed to happen automatically somehow – got a bit confused here. You should end up with a virtual drive in Windows Explorer.

Stage 4
Download and install MBRWizard:
This enables you to make the flash drive bootable. Go to a command line and navigate (cd\) to the directory where you have saved MBRWiz.exe. Type: MBRWiz /list which displays a list of drives, enabling you to identify the number of your flash drive.

Then type MBRWiz /disk=# /active=1 where # is the number of your flash drive.

Next copy the Windows 7 bootable properties to the flash drive with Y:\boot\bootsect /nt60 X: where Y is the drive letter for your virtual Windows 7 DVD and X is the drive letter for your flash drive.

Finally copy all the Windows 7 files from the virtual DVD to the flash drive with a simple copy / paste.

Stage 5
You now need to create a partition for Windows 7, assuming you want to leave the Windows XP installation intact. Download and install Easus Partition Manager 3.0 Home Edition, or some other similar software. This makes it fairly easy to firstly resize your existing Windows partition to make space and then create a new partition from the free space.

Unfortunately this is where things went horribly wrong, since the new partition meant that the Grub bootloader was looking on the wrong partition for the files it needed and on restarting the NC10 I got a Grub Error 17 and an otherwise dead machine.

Fixing the Grub bootloader

You need to tell Grub that the root partition has changed.

1. Boot from the live Ubuntu USB drive (which you should have from your original Ubuntu installation).
2. Open Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal)
3. sudo grub (to get a Grub command line)
4. find /boot/grub/stage1 (to find which partition contains Linux boot information. It should return something like (hd0,5)
5. root (hd0,X) (where X is the partition number returned above)
6. setup (hd0)
7. quit

Reboot and you should get the old familiar Grub menu. Sigh of relief!

Notes on disc partitions:

Linux calls first disc drive DEV/SDA (the second DEV/SDB etc)
Partitions are counted from 1, so DEV/SDA1 is the first partition on the first disc etc.

Grub uses the following system:
(hd0) is the first disc drive
(hd0,0) is the first partition on the first drive
(hd0,1) is the 2nd partition on the first drive, etc.

To check partitions:
Boot from the live Ubuntu USB drive
From Terminal:
sudo fdisk -l (small L)

To edit menu.lst (Grub's menu list file):
Boot from the live Ubuntu USB drive
From Terminal:
mkdir ubuntu
sudo mount -t ext3 /dev/sda6 ubuntu (assuming Ubuntu is on partition 6)
gksudo gedit ubuntu/boot/grub/menu.lst

Back to the Windows 7 installation:

Stage 6
With primary boot set in the BIOS to USB, restart with your Windows 7 USB stick plugged in and follow the instructions to install 7. When the first restart happens, unplug the USB stick and you should go back into 7 to continue the installation.

Stage 7
Windows naturally assumes that it is the only Operating System in existence, so kindly wipes out your Grub bootloader. When you restart, you will see just a choice between Windows 7 and an “earlier version of Windows”. To fix this, it's back to booting from the Ubuntu Live USB stick and going to the Terminal. Then:

sudo grub (to get a Grub prompt)
root (hd0,5) (assuming Ubuntu is on partition 6)
setup (hd0)

Now your Grub menu will be back and choosing the Windows option will bring up another menu where you can choose XP or 7.


Note: you may find the brightness control doesn't work in Windows 7. This can be fixed by installing the Samsung Easy Display Manager (XP version) from their site.


  1. Thanks Nick for the instructions!

  2. Glad you found them useful. I'm on to Ubuntu Netbook Remix now. Having a few problems!

  3. Thanks :) Very useful guide, I'm just about to reboot. Good bye XP, hello 7.

  4. So how are you finding running Win 7, I've heard lots of positive stuff from NC10 owners.

  5. Alex: Good, glad it was of use. So you are abandoning XP completely?

    Jez: I'm liking Win7 more than I thought I would. Not used it a lot yet, but what I've seen so far looks good. The crunch will come when I have to decide whether to actually pay for it!

  6. Im very happy I found this Post. It helped me restore my Grub AND put my Windows 7 RC on my Stick.
    Thanks a Lot

  7. Thanks for the feedback; glad you found it of use.

  8. This is a nice tutorial , but can you tell me how to create a bootable windows 7 or vista from a desktop with only ubuntu on it ?

  9. I'm afraid I can't; sorry. If you are using the Samsung NC10 it should have come with Windows XP installed - presumably you have wiped this?

    Perhaps try an Ubuntu forum?

  10. I just put this on my site. I hope it works for technologically challenged old farts! Window Installation Melbourne