Install Windows XP from USB flash drive: Guide

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Windows XP USB

Wondering how to install Windows XP from USB flash drive? Well unlike the simple ways in installing from a CD, creating a bootable flash drive for Windows is rather complicated. Despite being among the oldest operating system, Windows XP is probable still one of the most utilized worldwide. Also, CDs according to us are most unreliable as simple scratches can make them useless alongside the easily crack-able design. On the other hand, USB drives are highly durable and can be conveniently stored, making them more reliable. Adding the XP files into a flash storage isn’t tricky but, it’s recommended for users to follow each of these steps to install Windows XP from USB drive very carefully.

- Requirements to install Windows XP from USB:

To begin, users will need a Windows XP CD, third-party software like WinToFlash, a product key and USB drive (recommended 1 to 4GB as higher capacity drives seem to bring up errors). On downloading and extracting the contents from the zip folder, users can run the application by double clicking on it whereas, Windows Vista or 7 will have to right-click on the file and select the ‘Run as administrator’ option.

- Preparing the USB drive and copying core Windows files:

To make the process simple, we utilized the basic mode which can be found besides ‘Windows Setup transfer Wizard’ under the ‘Welcome’ tab.

WinToFlash Start Page

Hitting ‘Next’ will bring up two selection boxes, one for the source path (Windows XP CD) and the second for the destination (USB drive).

WinToFlash Drive Selection

By selecting the appropriate sources (in our case path F: was for the CD drive and G: for USB) and accepting the license agreements, the copying process initiates by formatting the drive and transferring all necessary files to it. On completion, clicking next leads to the final screen and the ‘Exit’ button to finish the transfer.

WinToFlash Copy Procedure

- Changing Bios settings to USB bootable:

Moving on to the next phase, users will have to change the boot priority to ‘USB’ or ‘Removable/Flash’ Storage from the bios settings by restarting the PC and pressing ‘F2’ or ‘Del’ (varies between machines) until the menu opens. After applying the appropriate option, users can save and exit from the menu by hitting F10 and then ‘Y’ when prompted.

- Creating partitions and selecting the drive for installation:

Boot Menu 1

On restarting, two options will be available. Selecting the one that states ‘1st text mode setup’ will start installing Windows XP procedure. From here on, the process is same like installing from a CD. With the setup screen showing, follow the on-screen instructions like enter to proceed and F8 to accept the agreement.

Installation Drive Selection

Furthermore, on the next screen, users can delete partitions, create new ones and select which drive they want the OS installed into. Additionally, it’s recommended to have a clean copy of Windows by formatting the partition that in turn eliminates any errors from occurring. Also, Windows should automatically start to format and copy all necessary files to the drive and restart on completion.

Partition Format

- Windows XP main installation:

Boot Menu 2

With the operating system selection screen showing once again, users will have to select the ‘2nd GUI mode setup’ option to continue the setup and begin the main installation procedure. From this point on, the XP OS will carry out most of the work besides a few settings that need to be manually entered like the PC name, product key, date/time and networking settings. On completion, the computer will restart once again and bring up steps like automatic update and the user account to finalize the setup. Furthermore, users will be taken to their desktop and can start using Windows XP.

XP Setup Process

On following every aforementioned step precisely, no problem should arise during installation. Also, If in case users encounter any sort of error, it’s recommended for them to restart the process from the ‘Creating partitions and selecting the drive for installation’ phase. Additionally, the entire process shouldn’t take more than one and half hour (including the time taken to copy core files to the USB) to complete. Our tutorial on how to install Windows XP from USB flash drive is applicable on any desktop and laptop.

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