Unless the install CD is bootable (usually only OS install CDs are bootable) there should be no reason why you can't copy the files to a thumb drive, I do it all the time. If you take the time to make the thumb drive bootable, you can also copy OS install files to a thumb drive. I have a Win 7 Pro install thumb drive I use all the time, really handy.
When I first got my netbook, I bought an external DVD drive for it since it didn't have one. I only used it a couple of times and hasn't been used in over a year. It's certainly nice to have but not necessary.
Been using, building, repairing and programming computers for nearly 30 years now.
Last edited by strollin; 07-17-2011 at 09:39 AM.