Go Back   Tech Support Forum > Microsoft Support > Windows XP Support

can you load windows on a usb drive and boot from it to reformat

This is a discussion on can you load windows on a usb drive and boot from it to reformat within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. My cd rom drive is dead on my laptop and I need to reformat again. Can I load windows onto


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 01-02-2007, 05:48 PM   #1
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 26
OS: xp



My cd rom drive is dead on my laptop and I need to reformat again. Can I load windows onto a usb drive and bootup my laptop with it to reformat. I was thinking just that you needed to copy all the windows files on the xp sp2 disc onto the drive and then put them on a clean usb thumb drive or something and boot from it. I heard about having to put a booter log or something which would make it compatible to load windows on bootup

__________________
maxima00 is offline  
Old 01-03-2007, 04:07 PM   #2
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 26
OS: xp


bump

anyone know?

__________________
maxima00 is offline  
Old 01-03-2007, 05:16 PM   #3
TSF Team Emeritus
Microsoft Visiting Expert
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Woodland Hills, CA
Posts: 2,751
OS: Windows 98se/2000/XP/Vista/7/8 Pro/Linux(various)


Hi Maxima00

There are a few guides for installing Windows XP onto a USB flash drive (which includes making it bootable), but very few on how to install Windows XP from a USB flash drive. [And... am I correct that your question concerns using a USB flash drive (often also called a "pen drive" or "USB key") - or are you asking about an external USB hard drive?] ... In case you want to look at a guide for installing to a USB flash drive, Tom's Hardware has a well-written one --- http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/09/...n_your_pocket/

I haven't found a definitive answer for how the XP installer behaves when started from a USB flash drive. But I have found several references to situations where it's possible to make a USB flash drive bootable (you use a special utility to format the USB flash drive in the older FAT [FAT16] format, then place the necessary bootable system files on it -- basically creating a very big USB floppy diskette - as the 'system' is usually DOS 7). Here's the PCstats guide for making a USB flash drive bootable --- http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.c...id=1676&page=1 --- (It's the first guide in that set of projects in that article -- please note that the link to the HP utility for formatting the USB flash drive no longer works, but you can try one of these --- http://h18000.www1.hp.com/support/fi...oad/23839.html --- http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm)

I would guess that, once the USB drive is made bootable (rather like a big floppy), you could copy the contents of an XP SP2 installation CD onto it & see if it works (I imagine you might be able to find a setup file) -- of course you'd have to make sure that the target drive to install XP onto is the hard drive in your laptop.

And, just in case you're curious - here are some standard optical drives that you'd likely be able to replace your dead CD-rom with --- if all the other parts of the interface are still OK (in other words = if the CD-rom was the only thing broken: if the port is still good, the motherboard isn't damaged, etc -- )
NEC 8x internal slim DVD burner (for laptops) $67
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827152073
Sony internal slim CDRW/DVD-Rom "combo drive (for laptops) $43
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827131045

I'm curious to hear how it turns out -- there seems to be a growing interest in this sort of thing, judging by the number of threads on the net. But surprisingly few reports of success or failure for using the USB flash drive as the source drive for installing onto a laptop hard drive.
. . . Gary
__________________
OldGrayGary is offline  
Old 01-03-2007, 05:40 PM   #4
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 26
OS: xp


Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGrayGary View Post
Hi Maxima00

There are a few guides for installing Windows XP onto a USB flash drive (which includes making it bootable), but very few on how to install Windows XP from a USB flash drive. [And... am I correct that your question concerns using a USB flash drive (often also called a "pen drive" or "USB key") - or are you asking about an external USB hard drive?] ... In case you want to look at a guide for installing to a USB flash drive, Tom's Hardware has a well-written one --- http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/09/...n_your_pocket/

I haven't found a definitive answer for how the XP installer behaves when started from a USB flash drive. But I have found several references to situations where it's possible to make a USB flash drive bootable (you use a special utility to format the USB flash drive in the older FAT [FAT16] format, then place the necessary bootable system files on it -- basically creating a very big USB floppy diskette - as the 'system' is usually DOS 7). Here's the PCstats guide for making a USB flash drive bootable --- http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.c...id=1676&page=1 --- (It's the first guide in that set of projects in that article -- please note that the link to the HP utility for formatting the USB flash drive no longer works, but you can try one of these --- http://h18000.www1.hp.com/support/fi...oad/23839.html --- http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm)

I would guess that, once the USB drive is made bootable (rather like a big floppy), you could copy the contents of an XP SP2 installation CD onto it & see if it works (I imagine you might be able to find a setup file) -- of course you'd have to make sure that the target drive to install XP onto is the hard drive in your laptop.

And, just in case you're curious - here are some standard optical drives that you'd likely be able to replace your dead CD-rom with --- if all the other parts of the interface are still OK (in other words = if the CD-rom was the only thing broken: if the port is still good, the motherboard isn't damaged, etc -- )
NEC 8x internal slim DVD burner (for laptops) $67
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827152073
Sony internal slim CDRW/DVD-Rom "combo drive (for laptops) $43
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827131045

I'm curious to hear how it turns out -- there seems to be a growing interest in this sort of thing, judging by the number of threads on the net. But surprisingly few reports of success or failure for using the USB flash drive as the source drive for installing onto a laptop hard drive.
. . . Gary
thanks so much and that is all excellent information. I'll report back with success or failure
__________________
maxima00 is offline  
Old 01-03-2007, 07:00 PM   #5
TSF Team Emeritus
Microsoft Visiting Expert
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Woodland Hills, CA
Posts: 2,751
OS: Windows 98se/2000/XP/Vista/7/8 Pro/Linux(various)


Hi again

Ok - I did find a few folks who've installed from the USB key successfully. Here's the steps each took:

1) Make the USB key bootable
2) Copy the i386 folder (all of it) to the USB key
3) Boot the computer from the USB key
4) From the DOS command prompt type "cd i386" (without the quotes) & press Enter [the prompt should then show A:\I386 ("A" will be the letter of the USB key in a system without a floppy drive, if you have a floppy drive in your system, the drive letter for the USB key will be different)
5) From the command prompt, type "winnt.exe" (without the quotes) & press Enter
6) Follow the prompts to install XP

Since you wish to reformat your laptop's current drive, you can delete the current partitions, create new, and format - all as part of XP's Setup. All previous data will be lost if you delete/recreate partitions - so if you have other partitions you wish to keep, don't delete any: just reformat the system partition.

Perhaps the most important detail that makes this work is that you need to be in the i386 folder, and you need to start things with the winnt.exe command. Make sure, too, that the laptop's hard drive is the installation target.

Just to see if this works, I might give it a go a little later on.
. . . Gary

[P.S. ... one more tip: I've seen recommendations for those with SATA drives, to put their SATA driver on the USB key also]
__________________
OldGrayGary is offline  
Old 01-03-2007, 07:09 PM   #6
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 26
OS: xp


Quote:
Originally Posted by OldGrayGary View Post
Hi again

Ok - I did find a few folks who've installed from the USB key successfully. Here's the steps each took:

1) Make the USB key bootable
2) Copy the i386 folder (all of it) to the USB key
3) Boot the computer from the USB key
4) From the DOS command prompt type "cd i386" (without the quotes) & press Enter [the prompt should then show A:\I386 ("A" will be the letter of the USB key in a system without a floppy drive, if you have a floppy drive in your system, the drive letter for the USB key will be different)
5) From the command prompt, type "winnt.exe" (without the quotes) & press Enter
6) Follow the prompts to install XP

Since you wish to reformat your laptop's current drive, you can delete the current partitions, create new, and format - all as part of XP's Setup. All previous data will be lost if you delete/recreate partitions - so if you have other partitions you wish to keep, don't delete any: just reformat the system partition.

Perhaps the most important detail that makes this work is that you need to be in the i386 folder, and you need to start things with the winnt.exe command. Make sure, too, that the laptop's hard drive is the installation target.

Just to see if this works, I might give it a go a little later on.
. . . Gary
oh man....good find and info! i'm going to get a thumb drive from my friend tonight and try it right away

__________________
maxima00 is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is on
Smilies are on
[IMG] code is on
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Post a Question


» Site Navigation
 > FAQ
  > 10.0.0.2


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:08 AM.


Copyright 2001 - 2014, Tech Support Forum

Windows 7 - Windows XP - Windows Vista - Trojan Removal - Spyware Removal - Virus Removal - Networking - Security - Top Web Hosts