Installing Windows XP on Netbooks and Other Computers Without DVD Drive

Netbooks, mid-level notebooks and tablet PCs often do not have a CD/DVD drive, but you still need a way to install operating system on such computer. Diskless OS installation is especially painful for older operating systems like Windows XP which were not originally designed to support booting from USB. Here FlashBoot comes in handy: it provides an easy way to install Windows from USB.

This article describes an easy way to install Windows XP from USB thumbdrive using FlashBoot on notebook, netbook, tablet PC or other computer without CD/DVD drive.

Contents

1. Preparing USB thumbdrive

Get USB thumbdrive. Fast one (USB 2.0 device) is recommended. Minimum capacity is 1Gb.

Download and install FlashBoot.

Step-by-step guide follows:


1) Run FlashBoot, click Next

FlashBoot Screenshot - Welcome Screen
FlashBoot Screenshot - Welcome Screen


2) Choose CD -> USB in Main Menu

FlashBoot Screenshot - Main Menu
FlashBoot Screenshot - Main Menu


3) Choose CD/DVD drive or image file and click Next

FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Specify Source
FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Specify Source


4) Choose "Convert Windows XP/2000 installation CD" from the scenario list and click Next

FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Choose Scenario
FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Choose Scenario


5) Choose target USB disk (flash, HDD) or image file and click Next

FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Specify Target
FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Specify Target


6) Enter volume label or leave it as is and click Next

FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Formatting Options
FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Formatting Options


7) Check summary information and click Next

FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Summary Screen
FlashBoot Screenshot - CD to USB: Summary Screen


8) Wait for process completion

FlashBoot Screenshot - Progress Screen
FlashBoot Screenshot - Progress Screen


9) USB disk is ready for use. Click OK to exit

FlashBoot Screenshot - Completed Successfully
FlashBoot Screenshot - Completed Successfully


2. Setting up BIOS to boot from USB thumbdrive

Follow this guide.

3. Running Windows XP installation from USB thumbdrive

This should be obvious. First, you need to create partitions with DOS-style FDISK, then installation continues usual way via DOS-based Setup, Text-Mode Setup and finally GUI Setup. If you have any questions, consult this gallery.

4. What if I'm getting BSoD (Blue Screen of Death) during installation?

This is probably because you have AHCI enabled in your BIOS setup. Read this article to get more information about working around BSoD issues during Windows XP installation.