Netbook owners keen to upgrade their mini PCs to Windows 7 from XP may not have to buy or borrow a DVD drive to do so: Microsoft may sell the new OS on USB thumb drives.
CNET heard the rumor from a source within Microsoft. It would be a simple method for the owners of the millions of netbooks running XP to upgrade without requiring that they buy an external DVD drive. The alternative is to ask consumers to take their machines to an official Windows 7 vendor, and have the OS installed at that site, or to release a download version. That would be like the current Windows 7 Release Candidate software.
It would make sense for Microsoft to choose the thumbdrive option. With this format, it should be possible for Microsoft to include extra security to prevent piracy, whereas the download option is more easily distributable by pirates. Of course, Microsoft would continue to sell Windows 7 in hulkingly big plastic boxes, packaged along with a lot of air, so that they can charge users accordingly.
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