Windows XP on a USB stick

Windows XP installation from USB

I wrote this piece back in March 2006 before transferring it to my new blog. It’s quite possible that bits and pieces of this HOWTO are outdated. If any are and you find a solution, then please leave a comment for the rest of us.

— Roderick

What follows is a recipe on how to install Windows XP from USB. You can cut right to the chase or read about how it happened to me first. Sit tight, you’re in for a ride!

Case In Point

You’ve got this Acer laptop with a malfunctioning DVD drive. Specifically, you removed it from its bay and now Windows XP crashes when you plug it back in. Knowledge Base article 310664 matches it to a tee.

Provided solution: update to Service Pack 1, or disable DMA in the BIOS. Current situation: running SP2 and blessed with a “user-friendly” BIOS that doesn’t allow you to disable DMA.

Your luck just ran out, but – being the geek that you are – you don’t whine about it. Instead, you come up with this bright idea: let’s install Linux, that’ll work some magic! And so you get Gentoo Linux installed using a home-bred LiveUSB distribution. And much to your dismay, no proper hot-plugging implementation is provided for your laptop. Curses.

So finally, you call the support line to have them collect your laptop for repair. One problem here: you’re betting they won’t like seeing Linux boot up and, hoping to forego service costs, it’s up to you to reinstall Windows XP.

One problem here: you don’t have a working CD-ROM drive to install Windows XP off, and from experience you know that Windows XP won’t install from an external drive. Blasted!

Enter the cavalry.


The procedure here is provided without any warranty or support whatsoever. It worked for me and so it might for you. It also might blast you and your laptop to pieces. Some of the procedures described here can wipe all of your data. Thought I’d warn you.

I don’t mean to be inventive here, either. In fact, all the technology has been laid out for us and is readily available. All I’m doing is wrapping it all up in writing. Shouts out to everyone who provided the technology!

That being said, let’s get down to business.

Ground Zero: Ingredients

You’ll be needing ample space on a USB storage device like a thumb drive or external disk drive. 1 GB of storage will suffice. Possibly, you could access the setup files from a network share in which case you’ll only need a 256 MB thumb drive, but I haven’t tried that.

Personally, I booted off a 512 MB thumb drive and put the Windows XP setup files on an external disk drive. So a combination will do just fine, but just make sure that you’ve got enough USB ports: all USB devices will need to be plugged in and stay plugged in while we’re booted into BartPE later on!

You’ll also need a bunch of software, including a valid copy of Windows XP. The other software components can be downloaded freely:

Q: Why Windows 2003 Server Service Pack 1? I want to install XP!

A: Well that’s exactly the trick, though it’s a bit technical. During booting, Windows resets the USB port and loses your boot device. That’s why installing from USB normally fails. But by using Windows 2003 Server’s ramdisk feature in the early phases of booting, we avoid that problem.

Don’t be mislead though: you’ll be installing Windows XP all the same. It’s just that we’ll be using two Windows 2003 Server files from the Service Pack to do it.

You can also do a Windows 2003 Server installation using this same procedure, save that you’ll be needing to update to Windows 2003 Server Service Pack 1 instead of Windows XP SP2, below. That’s assuming, of course, that you’ve got a valid copy of Windows 2003 Server.

You will also need an already functional Windows system to prep the USB disk from. In addition, your target system (the one that needs reinstalling) should support booting from USB. Virtually all modern ones do though.

Finally, not all cheaper USB devices properly support being booted from. The BartPE forums have a partial list of ones that don’t.

Step One: Preparing the Windows XP Setup Files

For this procedure to work correctly, you’ll need Windows XP to be at Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2. Many newer Windows XP CDs already have either one included.

You can check by inserting the CD-ROM and looking at the files in the top folder. There should be a file named WIN51P.SP1 or WIN51P.SP2. If you see either one, fast forward to step two.If there is no such file, or you’ve got a SP1 CD that you would like to update to SP2, proceed as follows:

  1. Copy the Windows XP CD-ROM to a location on your hard drive. We’ll be assuming C:\winxpcd. I strongly recommend you to use such a vanilla CD. Users have reported strange happenings with custom XP distributions.
  2. Download the Windows XP Service Pack 2 Network Installation Package.
  3. Unpack Windows XP SP2 by running WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe -x. Note the -x parameter that will allow you to specify a location to unpack to. We’ll be assuming C:\winxpsp2.
  4. Integrate SP2 into the setup files by running C:\winxpsp2\i386\update\update.exe /integrate:c:\winxpcd.

If your system needs special drivers to run, this would be the time to include them (called “slip-streaming”). Doing so isn’t exactly trivial and should only be necessary if you, say, need non-standard SATA support. The process is beyond the scope of this article, but fortunately Google is your friend.

Step Two: Prepping BartPE

First we’ll prep the USB drive we’ll be using for booting. This is by far the largest step in the process, though it shouldn’t be difficult for anyone to follow. It requires a functional Windows system.

  1. Install BartPE. We’ll be assuming that you install to C:\pebuilder.
  2. Unpack PE2USB to C:\pebuilder.
  3. Unpack Windows 2003 SP1 by running WindowsServer2003-KB889101-SP1-x86-ENU.exe -x (that’s assuming that you downloaded the English version). Note the -x parameter that will allow you to specify a location to unpack to. We’ll be assuming C:\server2003sp1.
  4. Create a folder named C:\pebuilder\srsp1.
  5. Copy C:\server2003sp1\i386\setupldr.bin to C:\pebuilder\srsp1.
  6. Expand and copy ramdisk.sys by running expand -r C:\server2003sp1\i386\ramdisk.sy_ C:\pebuilder\srsp1.
  7. Start PE Builder from the Start Menu. Point “Source:” to the location of your Windows XP setup files containing SP1 or SP2.
  8. Make sure the “Output:” is set to “BartPE”. If using SP2: go into the Plugins configuration dialog and enable “RpcSS needs to launch DComLaunch Service First – SP2 only”.
  9. Hit “Build”.
  10. When it’s done building, insert the USB drive you intend to boot from and run C:\pebuilder\pe2usb -f [drive:], replacing [drive:] with the location of your USB drive. This will destroy any data on your USB drive! The drive shouldn’t be partitioned any larger than 1 GB. If it is, then repartition it using Computer Management in the Control Panel.
  11. Copy the Windows XP setup files to the USB drive (or another USB device if you have insufficient space left). You’ll only need the i386 folder.

If no errors occurred in the process, you should now be all set to boot from USB!

Note: it’s possible to use Windows 2003 Server as the operating system to boot from, but I don’t recommend it. Many of BartPE’s included utilities won’t work properly.

Step Three: Configuring the BIOS

You should now reboot and go into the BIOS configuration to boot from USB. Instructions for doing so wildly from system to system, but generally entail the following:

  1. Reboot the system.
  2. While booting (before Windows starts loading), get into the BIOS configuration screen by hitting something like F1, F2, Delete or Escape. Hotkey instructions are generally provided on the screen.
  3. Go to the section that has your boot devices.
  4. With your USB drive plugged in, the USB drive should be listed. If it isn’t, your system might not support booting from USB. Assuming that it is supported (as happens with almost all modern hardware), promote your USB drive to the primary boot device.
  5. Exit from the BIOS configuration, saving all changes.

If you’re completely new to BIOS configuration, BIOS for Beginners over at Tom’s Hardware might be a good primer. Be aware though, that you can seriously screw up your system by providing incorrect settings!

Step Four: Booting into BartPE

Assuming that you properly configured your BIOS and your USB device supports booting, BartPE should now load. Depending on the speed of your USB device, this may take a while.

If it isn’t working, then double-check the following before making a scene:

  • Is your BIOS properly configured for booting from the USB disk? (Is the USB device listed and does it have top priority?)
  • Have you correctly prepared the USB disk in step two? (Restart the procedure.)
  • Does your USB stick properly support being booted from? (Try another one!)

Step Five: Prepping the Hard Disk

You need to make sure that your hard drive is partitioned and formatted properly. Especially if you’ve had Linux or some other operating system on it, you’ll need to repartition and format it. BartPE has DiskPart for disk partitioning and A43 File Manager to format your drive.

If you are sure that your hard drive is set up properly (i.e. it has only run Windows, it has a valid FAT or NTFS partition) then you can safe yourself the hassle and skip this step.

This procedure will destroy any data on the hard drive.

To repartition:

  1. From the Go menu, navigate to DiskPart.
  2. Enter the commands needed to repartition your drive. For example, try the following: select disk 0 (select the first disk), clean (purges the entire drive, essentially resetting it), create partition primary (creates a single partition from the entire disk), assign (assign the partition a drive letter), exit (quits DiskPart).

This procedure will destroy any data on the hard drive.

To format:

  1. From the Go menu, navigate to the A43 File Manager.
  2. Right-click on the target drive (e.g. C:) and click Format. Should be self-explanatory.

Step Six: Launching Windows XP Setup

With your drive all ready, you can now launch the Windows XP setup with a few custom parameters. Let’s assume that the files are available at D:\i386.

Plugging in a device now won’t work. Remember that all USB devices will need to be plugged in right from the start while using BartPE.

  1. Run D:\i386\winnt32.exe /syspart:C: /tempdrive:C: /makelocalsource. Replace C: with the drive you want to install Windows to.
  2. Proceed with the installation. When asked to convert the installation volume to NTFS, answer No. The setup program incorrectly believes that your USB drive (which is formatted as FAT) needs conversion.

The setup program will then silently close, which might make you think that something went wrong. Don’t worry though. Reboot your system, remove the USB drive(s) and – if all went well – you can now finish setting up Windows XP. Congratulations!

513 thoughts on “Windows XP installation from USB”

  1. Thanks for the tutorial! Sounds interesting, and I’m going to give it a go. It’ll be good to use this method for a IRC Bouncer Computer I’m doing up to use on my IRC Network.


  2. All I can say is that you are a huge help.. I’ve been to several other websites that used other methods on how to install windows via USB and, like many other people on those site, have had soo many problems that no one seemed to answer because the idiot who posted it just copied and pasted from another website.. so he didn’t know what he was doing.. You on the other hand have created such a detailed and wonderful guide.. I have already recommended you to my friends and haven’t even waited for xp to finish installing cause you’ve already got me further than the previous sites.. Kudos to you man.. You rock!! god bless you

  3. You are damn great! this is a great tutorial and works like a charm. This is what I’m talking about. Highly recommended!

  4. I just have one request. or maybe two. Haha, Can you make similar tutorial which applies for vista and windows 7. That will be highly appreciated, Thanks mate

  5. I have followed this tutorial twice. I had Ubuntu 9.04 on my HP dv6120us laptop. I completely erased everything on the HD before I plugged in my USB Stick, which is a SanDisk Cruzer 4GB. Everything works up until it starts in BartPE. I go to create the partitions on the drive and, lo and behold, I have no drives to select from.

    I’m fairly new to this whole thing, but my knowledge isn’t all that limited. I can’t figure this out to save my life. Someone please help…

  6. Ok, figured it out. Had to disable SATA Native Support in the BIOS on my laptop in order for it to work. Thanks Roderick!!!

  7. Here’s my setup:
    I was able to use this method to install XP to a 32bit pre-installed Vista Netbook. No probs and worked like a charm! So, it works…….

    I then tried to take the same usb drive over to my band new Asus CM5570 desktop (64bit machine, brand new), and when I select the USB drive to boot from, absolutely nothing happens. I know the thumb drive works!!! Proper boot orders are selected in the BIOS and everything.. IT SHOULD WORK!

    I know that BartPE is not “supported” in 64 bit.. but “supported” and “works” in 64bit are two totally different things…

    Has anybody gotten this process to work on a 64bit system already runing Vista?????

    Please help…

  8. Plugging a USB device in BartPE is possible! You just have to assign a drive letter with DiskPart! Pay attention because a wrong command can wipe out your usb drive!

    1.BartPE already started
    2.You hot-plug the usb device
    3.Start DiskPart
    4.Type list disk
    5.Type select disk # (# is the number of the USB disk, usually the one different from 0, but there may be more or different configurations)
    6.Type detail disk
    7.Type select volume # (# is the number of the volume you need, you can see the size in the detail list)
    8.Type assign
    9.Restart A43 Management Utilty and voilà

    It’s more difficult to explain than to do, but it saves you the time of a BartPE restart (very slow in my case) and you can transfer files on the go via USB

  9. oh God, thanks a lot , may problem was solved because i dont have cd rom and one night i descover and try n error to understanding this method, thanks a lot bro and all, may God bless u .

  10. Well tried that manual and it worked so far BUT i can’t install xp, because my Hardisk can’t be choosed.

    My drives are:

    BartPE X:

    i have a HP pavilion Notebook,

    Any hints for that problem ?
    thanks in advance

  11. ive followed instructions step by step and come up with error 14: ntoskrnl.exe could not be found. any ideas whats causing this? it runs through the ram image progress, but then gives me the error…im working with an HP netbook 110, sata drive 160gb. usb booting works because i tried a basic usb boot config to make sure it did..any help would be awesome since here i am stuck 2.5 hours later….

  12. Thanks for the instructions. I had problems with the Diskpart, but I downloaded the MMC from here and was able to make it work.

  13. Hey.. got a problem, when i want to boot from the stick it says ” The file ahcix86.sys could not be found ” even though its on it… why can that be?

  14. I am trying to reinstall Windows XP on a netbook that recently had Ubuntu installed on it. However, I do not have a bootable CD-Rom drive and therefore I needed a bootable USB in order to install Windows XP. I have tried the method from Tech Republic over a hundred times already but it is only close to this working one. The article failed to mention the fact that in Step 2, if using Windows XP SP2, in PE Builder, you need to enable a plugin “RpcSS needs to launch DComLaunch Service First SP2 only.” Only then will the USB be bootable. Then you must also copy the i386 folder from the Windows CD to your flash drive to install it. Although this article was not 100% step by step, it was very complete especially what to do with Bart PE and is very useful and helped solve my problems. May be a little more complicated for non-technical users. Thank you so much Roderick!

  15. Hi all,

    I’ve read this article atleast 5 time now and I am still wondering what to do with the folders made in these steps:
    # Unpack Windows 2003 SP1 by running WindowsServer2003-KB889101-SP1-x86-ENU.exe -x (that’s assuming that you downloaded the English version). Note the -x parameter that will allow you to specify a location to unpack to. We’ll be assuming C:\server2003sp1.
    # Create a folder named C:\pebuilder\srsp1.
    # Copy C:\server2003sp1\i386\setupldr.bin to C:\pebuilder\srsp1.
    # Expand and copy ramdisk.sys by running expand -r C:\server2003sp1\i386\ramdisk.sy_ C:\pebuilder\srsp1.

    As far as I can see, we create them, expand one, and that’s it, so why do we bother to make this?
    Can someone explain this to me or what to do with these folders please ?


  16. One more thing, I did everything people have suggested here and all the steps.
    BartPE starts just fine, but when I want to start the installation, it can not find winnt.exe.
    I just copied that file from my XP cd to the i386 folder on my usb stick, hope that’s enough.
    But nobody ever mentions this, so I’m wondering what I did wrong, since my winnt32 file was not in the folder.

  17. So far so good. Only thing is I did it on a 2gb flash drive…seemed to work ok for me. After I read the comment about it not being anymore then 1gb I was freaking out. I checked online how to partion a USB drive, because the comment about using Computer Management doesn’t work. It will only format and repartition the whole drive as one. So I was going crazy, since most of the programs I tried failed horribly. Now Im not saying your wrong, just maybe add it in as a adviser that someone used a 2gb and it worked fine:). Right now Im in the setup phase and it has yet to mess up so I’m hoping it all goes well. Thank You so very much for this. My application is a little different from this scenario though. I needed to reinstall winxp, because I bought a Kohjinsha e book while I was in Japan. I used it for a while in Japanese but it just got irritating using the japanese menus and not really knowing if Im clicking the right thing. Anyways, thanks again very helpful!

  18. Thanks for the great guide!
    I have used BartPE before and done unattended setups as well, but I didn’t realize the needed extra command switches for WINNT32 to redirect the local and temp files!

    I was able to use your procedure along with nLite to create an unattended XP Pro XP3 installation onto an ASUS EeePC 1005HA with the AHCI storage and other drivers slipstreamed into the installation!

    @Bart on Oct 3, 2009 at 11:03PM
    The Server2003 SP1 files are needed for BartPE to be able to boot from a RAMDRIVE which what these files are for.

    These files get picked up during the C:\pebuilder\pe2usb -f [drive:] step.

    To quote Bart Lagerwiej, “The 2003 setupldr with ramdisk option prevent windows from crashing or a 0x7b stop error (inaccessible boot device).

    This happens when windows is loading the USB devices drivers and the USB driver “resets” the USB bus. When we are riding from the ramdisk loader, we are not dependant any USB vendor windows driver from resettings the USB bus. We can now boot successful from “most” usb capable of booting hardware.”

    Check out this page for more info:

    @Bart, on October 4th, 2009 at 1:01 AM
    I didn’t have to “copy” the WINNT file specifically, but I did copy the entire i386 setup directory and all files, perhaps the first time you performed this step you didn’t get all files copied over?

    11.) Copy the Windows XP setup files to the USB drive (or another USB device if you have insufficient space left). You’ll only need the i386 folder.

    @JJ In Hawaii, on October 9th, 2009 at 2:38 am
    2GB USB drives are fine, I believe the problem starts at 4GB and higher because you the FAT16 file system only supports 2GB max partition sizes, which is required for step 10 PE2USB.CMD.
    I tried editing the PE2USB.CMD file and added a FAT32 format option instead, but then I realized the RAMDRIVE feature being used only supports 2GB sizes, so you really must use a USB drive of 2GB or less, or find some clever way to partition your USB drive (which I found challenging and gave up on for the sake of time, it was faster to use a small USB drive.)

  19. @Galvan, on September 1st, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I’m thinking maybe you ran into the same problem with your Netbook that I had with my ASUS EeePC 1005HA. In order to get BartPE to be able to access the internal hard drive you may have to provide BartPE with the proper Mass Storage Driver. In my case I needed to add the AHCI driver for BartPE.

    Help for adding drivers to BartPE is here:

    With storage drivers you have to be careful, they are needed in Text mode when the PC is in installation infancy and also in GUI mode when WIndows has grown up during installation. Make sure you edit the TXTSETUP.OEM and comment out the drivers you do not need.

    In my example I needed the AHCI driver which I copied to my PEBuilder directory as shown here:

    Directory of C:\pebuilder3110a\drivers\SCSIAdapter\AHCI

    The TXTSETUP.OEM file was edited to comment out with a # sign the drivers I do not need for my Netbook. I only needed the iaAHCI_ICH7MMDH driver.


    ; iaAHCI.inf
    #iaAHCI_ESB2 = “Intel(R) ESB2 SATA AHCI Controller”
    #iaAHCI_ICH7RDH = “Intel(R) ICH7R/DH SATA AHCI Controller”
    iaAHCI_ICH7MMDH = “Intel(R) ICH7M/MDH SATA AHCI Controller”
    #iaAHCI_ICH8RDHDO = “Intel(R) ICH8R/DH/DO SATA AHCI Controller”
    #iaAHCI_ICH8MEM = “Intel(R) ICH8M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller”
    #iaAHCI_ICH9RDODH = “Intel(R) ICH9R/DO/DH SATA AHCI Controller”
    #iaAHCI_ICH9MEM = “Intel(R) ICH9M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller”
    #iaAHCI_ICH10DDO = “Intel(R) ICH10D/DO SATA AHCI Controller”
    #iaAHCI_ICH10R = “Intel(R) ICH10R SATA AHCI Controller”

    ; iaStor.inf
    #iaStor_ESB2 = “Intel(R) ESB2 SATA RAID Controller”
    #iaStor_ICH7RDH = “Intel(R) ICH7R/DH SATA RAID Controller”
    #iaStor_ICH7MDH = “Intel(R) ICH7MDH SATA RAID Controller”
    #iaStor_ICH8RICH9RICH10RDO = “Intel(R) ICH8R/ICH9R/ICH10R/DO SATA RAID Controller”
    #iaStor_ICH8MEICH9ME = “Intel(R) ICH8M-E/ICH9M-E SATA RAID Controller”

    Just make sure you use the proper storage driver for your Netbook! Then you can build your BartPE and it should now be able to access your hard drive in your Netbook.

  20. @Galvan, on September 1st, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    One additional tip… I also used nLite to slipstream the AHCI and other drivers into my XP installation folder before step 11 where you copy the files to use to install on your Netbook.

    This is most likely necessary because if BartPE didn’t have the correct storage driver to use, it’s a good bet the WIndows XP install CD doesn’t have it either, so your install would need you to press F6 and provide the driver off an A: floppy drive (which I didn’t have on my Netbook) so slipstreaming the mass storage driver was the only way out of this problem.

  21. Thanks a lot, great guide! I found so much on google that was useless, but this worked great first time, just got 34minutes of the install left to go 🙂

  22. Hi Roderick,

    Thank you so much, your guide saved me lots of time!

    Works also fine with an unattended file. I used a nLite generated folder where i added additional drivers and information for an unattended setup.

    For those who try to make the same: you only have to add the parameter /unattend:d:\winnt.sif (or wherever else your winnt.sif is located) to the install command:

    d:\I386\winnt32.exe /unattend:d:\i386\winnt.sif /syspart:C: /tempdrive:c: /makelocalsource

    I have put it in a batch file for I have to regularly use this USB stick to instal Lenovo X-Series Notebooks.

    Greetings Stephan

  23. Used this method and worked first time for me.
    Many thanks for this page and keep it going please (as I’ve bookmarked it for the future!)

  24. Hi. That’s a very good guide, for real it is. I don’t know if you have heard or read about some windows that don’t come with setup.exe. How can they be installed? I’m referring to those UE windows that only install booting from the CD. Any suggestions or help are welcome.

  25. Greeting from Jakarta, Indonesia.
    Thank you so much. I finally successfully install WinXP Pro SP3 on my Acer Aspire One 531h using Kingston’s Flash Disk. It worked at first attempt.
    When I tried to do the same steps on my friend’s notebook using his old 1Gb HP flash disk, it wont’ boot up the BartPE. But formating the flash disk using PeToUSB.exe with the following checked marked:
    – USB Removable
    – Enable Disk Format
    – Quick Format
    – Enable LBA (FAT 16X)
    prior to no 10 on “Step Two: Prepping BartPE” solved the problem.

    Thank you

  26. Hello;

    Ive folowed this tutorial and evrything worked exept now I can’t instal Windows it says that “it cannot format the disk it may not have enough memory ” I nhave Acer Aspireone Intel atom 1.6 1 GB RAM and 120 GB of HDD


  27. Builder has stopped because there are 4 build errors
    Building done…
    There where 4 errors and 11 warnings

    Error: closeHive() failed: RegUnLoadKey (key=”PEBuilder.exe-C:/pebuilder3110a/BartPE2/i386/system32/config/petmphive”) returned error 0: Access is denied.

    Cleanup temporarily files
    Error: DeleteFile() “C:\pebuilder3110a\BartPE2\i386\system32\config\petmphive” failed
    Error: DeleteFile() “C:\pebuilder3110a\BartPE2\i386\system32\config\petmphive.log” failed
    Error: DeleteFile() “C:\pebuilder3110a\BartPE2\i386\system32\setuphiv” failed
    Error: DeleteFile() “C:\pebuilder3110a\BartPE2\i386\system32\setuphiv.log” failed

  28. I got this working nicely WITHOUT requiring Windows 2003 Server Service Pack 1.

    I just used Bootable USB-Drive Utility ( in place of step 2. When running Bootable USB-Drive Utility I answered yes to all questions and when booting from USB I chose to boot BartPE using WinPE Kicker.

    The rest is pretty much standard as per this tutorial

  29. I followed your steps. But no matter what I do when I try and run the 1.Run D:\i386\winnt32.exe /syspart:C: /tempdrive:C: /makelocalsource. I always get the pop stating “please go to the control panel to install and configure system components”. I must be missing something. Please advise

  30. Big, big thanks for this tutorials, i couldn’t have done it without it !.

    The notebook pc i was working on was acting stupid and not reading my boot DVD even though the same boot DVD worked in another notebook, same model number, exactly the same notebook pc. So i had no other choice to boot from USB, since it has no floppy drive and this notebook model supports booting from USB..

    Kind Regards from Canada Montreal.

  31. Good stuff, friend’s netbook started giving the old ‘load needed dlls for kernel’ errors and after much hassle trying to get the recovery console going and swapping out drivers i just said “to hell with it” and decided to reinstall the whole lot. fair play to ya!

  32. Excellent guide!

    I had the problem that my BOOTMGR file was compressed.. tried fixxing it by installing linux but it didn’t work. So I followed this guide and found that a43 file manager lets me work with properties of files! So I unchecked the filecompression box and rebooted and it worked! 😀 I wasn’t able to work with partitions by the way, somehow it was blocked?


  33. Thank you so much for this guide. Although it took me a few tries for some reason, I finally got the laptop to boot the USB drive, only to discover I copied the i386 folder from the Windows Server Service Pack instead of my XP install. So a quick change back to my working computer and I got it sorted.

  34. I am getting “Missing Operating System” when I boot off of my usb stick just like: GXie, Elusha, splitsoul, and Neil Coburn have been getting. I have followed the guide and done everything properly. I moved my usb stick in the bios ahead of my hardrives. The only thing I can think of is that my 1GB stick may not be able to be used to boot off of and that this may have been the problem for the others too.

  35. I think I found the answer to the “Missing Operating System” problem. I believe it has to do with the boot.ini file on the usb stick when it is ready to be used. There is a line (or more than one line in the file) that says:


    My understanding is that the “partition(1)” means install on the first partition of the hard drive. I was trying to install xp on my third partition (because i am using drives c and d, i am going to install xp on drive e), so the 1 has to be a 3 like this:


    I have also done a lot of reading in the meantime to find out that this may make a huge difference.

    I dont know if this will work for this guide because I went on to find a different way of installing xp with a usb stick.

    Hope this helps

  36. Hi,
    I tried to install windows xp prof on my netbook Acer Aspire D150.
    It is a brand new netbook with windows XP home edition install on it

    I managed to get until the windows installation after running the command

    winnt32.exe /syspart:C: /tempdrive:C: /makelocalsource /noreboot

    , insert the product key, refuse to convert to NTFS. But then, I got an error report:
    “No valid system partitions were found. Setup is unable to continue”

    – Unfortunately Diskpart doesn’t work
    – if i start the A43 Management utility program, I can see that under “My Computer” only following drives are available:
    – RAMDisk(B:)
    – BartPE(X:) –> the USB drive

    so my questions are:
    – what is this RamDisk(B:)
    – why can’t I see my C:\ drive?
    – I didn’t reformat my harddisk before because I check in Computer Management and it lists the following:
    –> ACER (C:) – Partition – Basic – NTFS – No error(Systempartition)
    –> PQSERVICE – Partition – Basic – NTFS – No error(EISA-Configuration)

    So I assumed it has only a primary partition which is NTFS-formatted, am I right?

    Would be very grateful for any help

  37. @he_man2003
    See my post above. I’ve sucessfully install WinXP Pro on brand new Acer Aspire One 531h.

    a. I don’t need their bloated SW, so I want to get rid of the hidden partition containing the recovery SW.
    b. I have a legit WinXP Pro with VLK licence
    c. What I need is the driver out from the hidden recovery partition.

    I got these on my hand:
    a. Acronis Disk Director, I create a bootable Flash Disk cotaining the Acronis Disk Director to make partition
    b. USB-External DVD Writer

    What I did was:
    1. IMPORTANT!! Create a Driver DVD from the recovery program (You need an external DVD Writer for this). You have to do this, unless you’re willing to DL the driver from Acer’s Website. Unfortunately on their website for some HW they list more than one driver, say for the Webcam it can either Sunyin, LiteOn or Chicony. Rather than guessing, creating a driver disk is a handy solution since it only contains the driver of the HW installed on your system.
    2. Once you created the driver’s DVD, boot from Acronis Disk Director’s USB Flash, Delete all partition, create new one (I create two partiton, one for all SW, the other just for all my data). Format from Acronis, since DiskPart is not working from BartPE.

    The rest just follow the steps on the above tutorial. It works.. 🙂 Hopefully it helps.

Leave a Reply