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MSI WindBox 6667BB-004US Barebones-PC Kit E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC
Written by Dan Ferguson - Edited by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI WindBox 6667BB-004US Barebones-PC Kit
MSI WindBOX Features
Closer Look: MSI Wind Box
MSI 6667BB-004US Detailed Features
Wind Box Software Installation
Motherboard Testing Methodology
PCMark Vantage Benchmarks
EVEREST CPU Benchmarks
Passmark Performance Test
CINEBENCH Test Results
MSI Wind Box Power Consumption
MSI Wind Box User Experience
MSI 6667BB-004US Gaming Performance
MSI Wind Box Final Thoughts
MSI 6667BB-004US Conclusion

Wind Box Software Installation

To recap, the MSI 6667BB-004US does not supply an optical disc drive, hard drive, or memory. A mini PCIe wifi adapter is optional and also not supplied. For this review I used a 40GB SATA Western Digital hard drive and 2GB of Crucial memory. The memory is DDR2 200 pin SODIMM memory for space savings over conventional desktop memory.

On a computer without an optical disk drive, software installation will require using some device not supplied with the PC. This could be a USB optical drive, a flash drive, or simply another computer. An external CD drive is the most straight forward and easiest method of installing an operating system, so I opted for something more technical. Using a flash drive for installation requires putting the install files on the flash drive and making it bootable. A few more prep steps at the beginning but otherwise similar to using an external disc drive. Again, I'll opt for something more technical.

My target hard drive was already installed in my main desktop PC as a secondary disk drive. I decided to prep my secondary HDD using Windows then move it to the nettop ready to boot a fresh installation of Windows 7. I used the following steps to prep Windows 7 on a clean drive to boot on a new PC:

  1. Install target HDD as secondary drive in main PC.
  2. Using Disk Management from Windows:
    • Create a partition on the new drive.
    • Format the new partition as NTFS.
    • Assign a drive letter.
    • Mark the partition as active.
  3. Obtain a copy of imagex.exe.
    • (Part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit)
  4. Put Windows 7 installation disc into DVD drive.
  5. Issue the following command from a DOS prompt:
    • imagex.exe /apply F:\sources\install.wim 3 E:\
    • (F: is Windows DVD and E: is target HDD)
    • The number 3 is the OS image to be extracted from install.wim, Windows 7 Pro in my case.
  6. Shut down Windows and move the target HDD to primary channel.
  7. Boot Windows 7 DVDand enter the Repair Console.
    • The console should automatically detect an error and prompt to have it fixed.
    • Select Yes and the windows installation should be detected.
  8. After a reboot, use the DVDto enter the Repair Console and run Startup Repair.
  9. Once the installation is detected by the repair console, use the command prompt and issue the following command:
    • bootsect /nt60 all /mbr
    • This will fix the boot options and allow the drive to boot into Windows 7.
  10. Move the target HDD onto the target PC (the MSI nettop).
  11. Boot into Windows 7 and finish the installation.

Deploying an image straight to the target HDD using imagex was faster then installing from the DVD boot environment. From start to finish, this installation method was almost as fast as doing everything by booting the DVD, but it was convenient since my target drive was already installed in my main system. This method is also useful if you cannot obtain an external DVD drive or a 4GB flash drive. There are probably a multitude of other methods available and you should pick the one that is best for you. This method suited my needs and I have not seen it published anywhere so I wanted to share.

One last note on installing Windows 7 on the Wind Box pertains to network installation. I setup a PXE network on my main machine and tried to perform a network install of Windows 7 on the nettop, but I could not make the nettop boot from the network. The BIOS is devoid of options and despite having a link (green lights on the NIC) there was no indication that network booting is even possible. However, once Windows 7 was installed using my method I had no problems installing drivers over my home network by sharing the DVD drive on my main PC.


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