GWKB1122 : Installing Window-Eyes Onto a Netbook

Product: Window-Eyes
Author: Raul Gallegos
Date Added: 11/12/2010
Last Modified: 11/16/2010

Symptom: You seem unable to use the CD to install Window-Eyes onto a netbook computer.

Cause: Some small portable computers such as netbooks do not include an optical drive such as a DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive and so you are not able to directly use the CD to install Window-Eyes.


There are 2 methods of installing Window-Eyes onto a netbook. The first method is via an external optical drive. If you have access to an external CD or DVD drive, you can connect it to the netbook and then insert the Window-Eyes CD into it and install like you would on a desktop. The second method requires that you use an external memory source such as a USB stick, pen drive, or SD card. All netbooks have USB ports and most have SD card slots. It does not matter which one you use. For the sake of clarity, the term "USB stick" is used in the rest of this article.

Installing Window-Eyes from a USB stick is a 2-step process. First you have to copy the contents of the Window-Eyes CD onto the USB stick. This has to be done from another computer which has an optical drive. Once the USB stick has a copy of the Window-Eyes installation on it, you can use it to install Window-Eyes onto your netbook.

Copying the contents of the Window-Eyes CD onto a USB stick

To copy the files from the Window-Eyes CD to a USB stick, you will need to have access to a computer with an optical drive and you will need a USB stick with at least 700 megabytes of space available.

  1. Insert the Window-Eyes CD into the drive of a separate computer.
  2. If the Window-Eyes installation launches, exit out of it.
  3. If any additional prompts come up, exit them by pressing the ESCAPE key.
  4. Navigate to the "Computer" program and open it. (On systems using Windows 2000 or Windows XP, it is called "My Computer".)
  5. Navigate to the Window-Eyes CD, then choose "Open" from the context menu. (On some systems this menu item may be listed as "Open in Explorer".)
  6. Once the contents of the CD are showing in Explorer, press Control-A to select all the items.
  7. Press Control-C to copy the selected items to the clipboard.
  8. Connect your USB stick to the computer and if prompted by Auto Run, choose to open the folder and view the files. If you are not prompted, open the USB stick in the same way you opened the Window-Eyes CD above.
  9. Once the contents of the USB stick are showing in Explorer, create a new folder by pressing Alt-F for File, then W for New, then Enter for Folder. Type the name "WECD" and press Enter.
  10. Press Enter on the newly created WECD folder to open it.
  11. Press Control-V to paste the contents of the clipboard into the WECD folder.
  12. The copy process may take some time. When it's finished, you will have a copy of the Window-Eyes CD located inside the WECD folder of your USB stick.
  13. Close all open folders, then using the "Safely remove hardware" applet from the system tray, disconnect the USB drive from the computer

Installing Window-Eyes from the USB stick

Since the installer for Window-Eyes is now on a USB stick, it will not automatically launch when the USB stick is connected to the netbook. So if you require speech for the first part of the installation, you can use narrator. To launch Narrator, press Windows-R, then type "narrator" in the run dialog box and press Enter.

  1. Connect your USB stick to the netbook and take note of the drive letter which Windows assigns to it.
  2. If the Auto Run dialog box pops up, close it with the Escape key.
  3. Press Windows-R and type "D:\WECD\setup" and press Enter. (If your USB stick has a drive letter other than "D:", use its drive letter instead.)
  4. Now the Window-Eyes setup program will run and you should hear the typical welcome message. (If you are running something like Narrator for temporary speech, you can Alt-Tab into its window and close it since it will no longer be needed.)
  5. From here on out, the installation proceeds as normal. you can press "S" or Enter to install with speech.

Some Things to Consider

  1. Some netbooks are configured to boot from the USB stick. This means that if your USB stick is connected when the netbook reboots, the installer may not be able to continue. If this happens, you may need to copy the contents of the USB stick to a temporary directory in the netbook and install from there.
  2. If you are using Narrator to assist with the installation, be sure to close it before you reboot the netbook so that it does not automatically launch upon reboot. If it launches, you will end up with double-speech.
  3. Instead of using an actual USB stick to install from, you can use an SD card since most netbooks have an SD card slot.