How to Install Windows XP Using USB Flash Drive

So, you need to install a Windows XP system. Problem is, there is something wrong with your CD ROM drive. Or perhaps your computer is not equipped with a CD ROM drive. And there are no portable CD ROM drive lying around either. Darn.

One solution for such a situation is to install the Windows XP using a USB flash drive. We need to create a bootable USB flash drive that could function just like a Windows XP Setup CD. To do this, we need to:

1) prepare an empty USB flash drive, at least 1 GB in space
2) prepare a Windows XP Setup CD
3) format the USB flash drive and make it bootable
4) copy files from Windows XP Setup CD to the USB flash drive

For step 3 and 4 above, there are free tools available on the net. But this means downloading separate tools, executing them one by one and even doing some manual tweakings yourself. So the question is, is there any tool that can perform all those steps in one nice simple user interface and eliminate the need for manual tweaking? WinSetupFromUSB might be one such tool.

Just follow these steps:

1) Download WinSetup-1-0-beta7.7z, and use WinRAR or 7Zip to extract its content to any folder you want.

2) Run WinSetupFromUSB_1-0-beta7.exe

 

3) Select your target USB flash drive. It is going to be formatted so you might want to backup its content before proceeding.

 

4) Select the tool to format and make your USB flash drive bootable. Two such tools are bundled by WinSetupFromUSB, they are Bootice and RMPrepUSB. For this tutorial, I’ll use RMPrepUSB.

 

The RMPrepUSB window will appear.

 

5) Enter partition size for the USB flash drive. For this tutorial, we’ll enter MAX to allocate the maximum space available.

 

6) Enter volume label.

 

7) Choose boot options. Since we want to use the USB flash drive as a replacement for Windows XP Setup CD, we’ll choose XP/BartPE bootable [NTLDR].

 

8. Choose file system. FAT16 is suitable for USB flash drives with 2 GB or less space and also usually the most compatible format for older BIOSes. If your USB flash drive space is larger than 2 GB, you should choose FAT32. Since my USB flash drive space is 2GB, I choose FAT16.

 

9) Click on Prepare Drive. You’ll be asked for confirmation before all data on your USB flash drive erased and a new partition created.

 

First confirmation:

 

Second confirmation:

Wait for a while, until the formatting finished and you return to the RMPrepUSB window. Click Exit to close the RMPrepUSB window.

 

10) Choose what operating system setup you are going to put into the USB flash drive. To choose Windows XP, click on Windows 2000/2003/XP Setup check box and enter the root directory of your Windows XP CD Setup.

 

Browse for your Windows XP Setup CD:

 

11) You’re set and ready. Click on Go and wait until the copying process finished (about 30 minutes in my computer).

 

And that’s it!

 

12) You can now install Windows XP using the USB flash drive. Don’t forget to set the boot order in the BIOS Setup.

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