How to Install Windows XP from a USB Flash Drive


What do you do when there is no optical drive in your PC or Laptop and you want to install a Windows XP on it? You can use a USB drive to do the same. Here is a detailed step by step procedure to install Windows XP from a USB Flash Drive in your computer. Before we Install, we should create a bootable USB flash drive with Windows XP loaded into it. This will be required if we want to reinstall the OS.

Previously we discussed How to Boot into Windows XP using a Flash Drive

Install Windows XP from a USB Flash Drive

Install Windows XP from a USB flash drive

In order to install Windows XP from a flash drive, first you should dump your OS into this thumb drive. In order to do that, you will need

  • a desktop or laptop with Windows XP/Vista/7
  • An optical drive  in  the PC.
  • The original Windows XP or Vista or Windows 7 installation disk.
  • A USB flash drive  for Windows OS.
  • A software called  ‘Komku-SP-usb.exe’

Here is the procedure to make the USB Flash Drive ready i.e., to make it bootable.

Step 1: Download and install ‘Komku’

Download  the software ‘Komku-SP-usb.exe’ and execute  it. The executable file will extract  the necessary utilities  to a  folder called  ‘C:komku’.

STEP 2: Prepare the USB drive

Once  the package has been extracted, go to the folder  ‘C:komkuPeToUSB’ using Windows Explorer. Execute  the file ‘PeToUSB.exe’.  Plug in the USB flash drive and make sure you choose  the  following (see  image below) before clicking  the start button.

Select ‘USB  removable’, ‘Enable Disk Format’, ‘Quick  format’,  ‘Enable LBA (Fat  16x)’ and finally give the drive a name under ‘Drive Label’. Once it’s done, click start to let the utility format the drive.

preparing USB drive

STEP 3: Copy the boot sector to the USB flash drive

Next you will need to start  the command prompt. Click ‘Start > Run’, type  ‘cmd’ and press [Enter]. Then go to  the ‘bootsect’ directory by typing the command ‘cd  C:komkubootsect’ and pressing [Enter].

Now type the command ‘bootsect  /nt52  F:’ and press [Enter]. (The ‘F:’ is the USB flash drive letter represented in ‘My Computer’. Check to verify the drive letter used by your USB flash drive). Let the utility do the needful. Do not exit the Command Prompt yet.

STEP 4: Launch the ‘USB_prep8′ utility.

Now you will need  to change  to the directory  ‘Usb_Prep8’ by using  the command ‘cd  C:komkuusb _ prep8’ and pressing [Enter].

Here execute the command  ‘usb _ prep8’ and press [Enter]. Press any key to continue and you will see a welcome screen with a menu appear in the Command Prompt.

USB prep utility

STEP 5: Enter the source path for the Windows XP CD.

Now at  this stage, you will have to insert  the Windows XP installation disk into your optical drive. At  the Command Prompt menu, type ‘1’ and press [Enter]. A new popup will appear asking you to choose the location (path) of  the Windows installation disk.

Select the optical drive and click ‘OK’. Next choose ‘2’ from  the menu and change the drive letter to any drive letter which has not been taken. It is drive ‘T:’ by default and you can ignore this step unless you do have a ‘T:’ drive on your computer. After this, choose ‘3’ from the menu and enter the drive letter of your USB flash drive (in this case it would be ‘F’).

 Enter the source path for the Windows XP CD.

Finally choose ‘4’ from the menu and press [Enter]. Wait  for a  few seconds for the process to complete and you will see a prompt to allow  the utility to format  the USB fash drive. Type ‘Y’ and then press [Enter] at this stage to let the utility proceed and install the necessary files from the Windows XP installation disk to the USB flash drive. This process will  take a  few minutes and depends on the speed of  the flash drive.

STEP 6: Allow the utility to copy the data to the drive

After  the files are copied, you will see a popup window asking you for permission  to copy files from  the  temp drive to the USB flash drive. Select ‘Yes’.

STEP 7: Allow the changes to allocate a drive letter.

Next  there will be another popup window asking you to allow the utility  to change  the boot drive  letter of the USB flash drive  from  ‘F:’ to ‘U:’. Select ‘Yes’.

Allow the changes to allocate a drive letter.

STEP 8: Unmount the virtual drive.

Finally, after all  the processes are complete, you will see yet another popup window asking if you want  to unmount  the virtual drive. Select  ‘Yes’. Exit  the Command Prompt now and you will see  that your flash drive  is  ready  to install Windows XP  to another computer.

To  install Windows XP to the computer, you will have  to do the following steps..

    • Go to the BIOS and enable the option of booting  from a USB removable device. This option  is usually found under  the boot sequence menu of  the BIOS.
    • Plug  in  the USB drive to the computer before you  turn it on.
    • Now your computer will boot from the USB flash drive and will be ready to install Windows XP.

Follow  the necessary steps  to  install Windows XP and your computer will be up, raring and ready  to go and running Windows in no  time. This is an easy and better way to install your Operating System as a USB port is available on every system.

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