Installing Windows XP via USB on your Netbook

Netbooks are really light and cute. But they have one major flaw, they do not have Optical Drives.
And if Windows is your preferred choice of OS, Windows only come in CD-based installers.
Fortunately, a lot of clever guys got to figure out how to transfer installation from CD to
USB Flash drives. Flash drives of course is the preferred portable medium nowadays.
Now, to get started. You need the ff before starting
1. a netbook with at least one USB drive
2. Windows XP SP2 installer CD (or DVD)
3. PC with CD drive (if you’re using Windows on Parallels on a Mac, you need to find a separate box as the DOS apps needed will
not work)
4. at least 1 GB flash drive
5. USB Installer Prep File (click the link to download)
For #1, you have to check if you’re netbook is capable of booting from external drives. From what I read, almost
all modern netbooks are. You’ll just have to check from your BIOS (since this varies from system to system, i cannot
cite the steps on how to do it)
Once your netbook is ok, just follow this steps.
Do this on your PC with a CD drive
1. Unzip the USB Installer Prep File to your computer, for this example, i am going to use C:\usbwinxp as the location of the unzipped files
2. Using Windows Explorer, go the location of the folder.
3. Go into the folder named USB_Prep8 and double-click the following: (usb_prep8.cmd)
4. Make sure you select the newly created command prompt window and click any key to continue
5. A new program is started (PeToUSB). Do not change any of the settings; just click start and let it run
6. Once PeToUSB is finished, DO NOT CLOSE any of the windows the program created
7. Go to your start menu and click run if you’re using the classic start menu
8. Enter the following command into your run window: (CMD)]
9. Once you have run that command, a new window will appear with the words command prompt
10. Provided that you have used the file setup I suggested, input the following: ( cd c:\usbwinxp\bootsect )
11. Type in the following: ( bootsect /nt52 E: ) Replace E: with the drive letter of your USB drive
12. You will see the message (Bootcode was successfully updated on targeted volume) if it worked right
13. You may NOW close all the windows except for the window that was created when you ran USB_Prep8
14. Providing you closed all the right windows, the USB_Prep8 Window will now contain seven options
15. Press 1 on your keyboard — this will bring up a window. Locate your XP installation folder and highlight it. Click OK
16. Press 2 on your keyboard — the program will ask for a unused drive letter (example: T or Z)
17. Press 3 on your keyboard — the program will ask for your USB Stick drive letter; enter it now.
18. Press 4 on your keyboard to start the USB_Prep8 process
19. The program will ask you if it is OK to format a drive contained in the letter you gave in #17; click yes
20. The program will start to copy the needed files; be patient
21. The program will then ask you if you wish to copy these files to the USB stick; click yes.
22. Finally, once it has finished copying the files, it will ask you if you want to make the stick the preferred boot drive. Click yes, after which it will ask if you wish to un-mount the USB stick. Click yes

Netbooks are light and cute. But they have one major flaw, they do not have Optical Drives.

And if Windows is your preferred choice of OS, Windows only come in CD-based installers.

Fortunately, a lot of clever guys got to figure out how to transfer installation from CD to

USB Flash drives. Flash drives of course is the preferred portable medium nowadays.

Now, to get started. You need the ff before starting

1. a netbook with at least one USB drive

2. Windows XP SP2 installer CD (or DVD)

3. PC with CD drive (if you’re using Windows on Parallels on a Mac, you need to find a separate box as the DOS apps needed will

not work)

4. at least 1 GB flash drive

5. USB Installer Prep File (right click the image handler here >> usbwinxp << and save the file, just rename the extension to ZIP, i saved it as JPEG)

For #1, you have to check if you’re netbook is capable of booting from external drives. From what I read, almost

all modern netbooks are. You’ll just have to check from your BIOS (since this varies from system to system, i cannot

cite the steps on how to do it)

Once you have the prerequisites, just follow this steps.

I. Do this on your PC with a CD drive

1. Unzip the USB Installer Prep File to your computer, for this example, i am going to use C:\usbwinxp as the location of the unzipped files

2. Using Windows Explorer, go the location of the folder.

3. Go into the folder named USB_Prep8 and double-click the following: (usb_prep8.cmd)

4. Make sure you select the newly created command prompt window and click any key to continue

5. A new program is started (PeToUSB). Do not change any of the settings; just click start and let it run

6. Once PeToUSB is finished, DO NOT CLOSE any of the windows the program created

7. Go to your start menu and click run if you’re using the classic start menu

8. Enter the following command into your run window: (CMD)]

9. Once you have run that command, a new window will appear with the words command prompt

10. Provided that you have used the file setup I suggested, input the following: ( cd c:\usbwinxp\bootsect )

11. Type in the following: ( bootsect /nt52 E: ) Replace E: with the drive letter of your USB drive

12. You will see the message (Bootcode was successfully updated on targeted volume) if it worked right

13. You may NOW close all the windows except for the window that was created when you ran USB_Prep8

14. Providing you closed all the right windows, the USB_Prep8 Window will now contain seven options

15. Press 1 on your keyboard — this will bring up a window. Locate your XP installation folder and highlight it. Click OK

16. Press 2 on your keyboard — the program will ask for a unused drive letter (example: T or Z)

17. Press 3 on your keyboard — the program will ask for your USB Stick drive letter; enter it now.

18. Press 4 on your keyboard to start the USB_Prep8 process

19. The program will ask you if it is OK to format a drive contained in the letter you gave in #17; click yes

20. The program will start to copy the needed files; be patient

21. The program will then ask you if you wish to copy these files to the USB stick; click yes.

22. Finally, once it has finished copying the files, it will ask you if you want to make the stick the preferred boot drive. Click yes, after which it will ask if you wish to un-mount the USB stick. Click yes

Assuming you have your netbook’s BIOS ready to boot up on you USB, you can now plug in your USB and turn on your netbook

II. You are now on your Netbook

1. After booting, you will be presented with two options: first is to install via GUI mode, and second via Text Mode

2. Choose Text Mode first. You will see the normal Windows installation.

3. Read carefully the next steps

4. Delete your existing partitions

5. Create a new root partition (C:).

6. After creation and reformat, restart it immediately and do not let Windows copy the setup files to your HD

7. After restart, go to TEXT MODE again

8. Go to Windows Setup again, select your root partition.

9. Find the format option

10. Select on NO CHANGES option, press ENTER

11. Your netbook will restart after. THis time, select the GUI mode

12. You will now go on the normal windows installation

13. Congratulations

Installation time took less than 20 minutes, not a surprise since we’re using a USB drive, which has faster read time than a CD

Now, in case you encounter the MISSING HAL.DLL problem. Plug in your USB drive and find the BOOT.INI file. Find the partitions(x) parameter, where

x = 1,2,…,N. Replace it with the number of partitions you created in your netbook

Special Thanks to http://www.pctipsbox.com. I got the tip from their site.

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2 Comments on “Installing Windows XP via USB on your Netbook”


  1. the best and cheap netbooks are made by Asus or MSI, if you want reliability then the best is Hitachi netbooks ..


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