Getting Software onto your Netbook

A friend of mine recently bought a netbook and was wondering how he could install software onto it that he had on CD.

There are a number of ways to achieve this: buy an external usb-CD/DVD drive to plug in, share the disk out from another machine and access across a network or create an image of the disk and transfer this to the netbook.

The former is probably the simplest solution but requires an additional outlay which, quite frankly, is probably not justifiable for the small number of times that you are going to have to do it. It is the only solution if you only have one machine.

I am going to concentrate on the final solution as it is free and relatively straight forward. This method creates what is called and iso image file of the original disk. This is an exact copy of your original CD/DVD which can then be transported and loaded on other machines and, crucially, requires no cd drive other than to read the disk to create the image. An iso image is becoming an accepted way of transporting software – Microsoft are now providing software downloads to partners in this format.

In order to get your software onto your netbook this you will require:

There are two stages to the process which are described in more detail below.

Creating the image

For this you will need to install a small piece of software onto your computer with the CD/DVD drive to allow you to create an iso image. I used InfraRecorder as it is free and easy to use.

Run InfraRecorder and you will be presented with the main menu. Click on the “Read Disc” icon:


On the next screen ensure that the correct source is selected. If you only have one CD/DVD drive then this will be the only option. Click the ellipsis (…) button and choose where you want to save the output file and give it a name:


Click OK and the image will be created from your CD/DVD. It will only take a few minutes.


You should now have an iso on your machine.


Reading the image

Now you need to copy the iso image you created onto your netbook and the best way to do this is via a memory stick. Depending on the image that you are copying it will vary in size from a few megabytes to a couple of gigabytes.

Once you have the image file on your netbook you will need to install a piece of software to read the image. I used MagicDisc which, again, is free and easy to use.

Once installed MagicDisc appears as an icon in the system tray. Locate the icon as shown below and right mouse click on it which will display a pop-up menu.


From the menu select “Virtual CD/DVD-ROM” followed by “D: No Media” followed by “Mount…”.

Note that “D:” may be different on your machine depending on the drive letter chosen by MagicDisc


On the next screen locate your iso image and open it.


What happens next will depend on the image that you have loaded. If it has autorun enabled then the program associated with that will start. Otherwise, you can go to Windows Explorer or My Computer and you will see the image appear as another drive as normal.


Was this useful? Do you know of a better way of getting your programs onto your netbook? Leave a comment.