How can you install Windows XP on a retro system with no CD drive?
WinSetupFromUSB is a super useful tool that can prepare a USB flash drive to install any Windows versions since 2000/XP. Here’s how to use it!
What you need
- 8GB (or larger) USB stick
- Windows XP ISO
Step 1 - Format USB stick
First, insert the USB stick on a modern PC and format as NTFS.
Step 2 - Extract Windows XP ISO
Using an archival tool like 7-Zip, extract your Windows XP ISO to a folder.
Step 3 - Download and extract WinSetupFromUSB
Download and extract WinSetupFromUSB.
When the extract completes, run
Step 4 - Prepare USB install media
WinSetupFromUSB should auto detect your flash drive. If not, select it from the drop down menu under USB disk selection and format tools.
Under Add to USB disk, find Windows 2000/XP/2003 Setup. Check the checkbox and identify the Windows XP source folder from Step 2 above.
Accept the Microsoft EULA and click GO to create the bootable USB stick.
Step 4 - Verify files
Once the install completes, verify the USB stick is readable with the following files in place:
Also copy any extra files you want onto the USB stick (drivers/utilities/games etc). They will be available in Windows XP when the install completes.
Now you’re ready to install Windows XP! Eject the USB stick and move to your retro PC.
Step 5 - Boot from USB stick, install Windows XP
Insert the WinSetupFromUSB stick and power on your retro PC. The system will recognize the USB drive and load the WinSetupFromUSB menu system.
From the menu, select Windows XP/2003/2003 Setup:
The Windows XP install has two phases:
- Text mode install (for disk preparation, copying installation files etc)
- Graphics mode setup (for OS install, configuration etc)
Select First part of Windows XP Professional SP3 setup to start the first phase.
Step 6 - Prepare disks, copy install files
Windows will boot into the text mode installation menu.
Follow the on-screen prompts to partition/format your hard disk and copy Windows installation files.
Step 7 - Configure Windows XP
After some time, your PC will reboot to the WinSetupFromUSB menu. This time, select Second part of Windows XP Professional setup to start the graphics mode setup:
Follow the on-screen prompts to configure Windows. The default options are suitable for most installations.
Setup 8 - Boot Windows XP
After one last reboot, Windows XP will load for the first time. This is your opportunity to install any necessary drivers and start using Windows XP.
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