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ervindm 03-17-2007 09:54 AM

How to Install Windows XP without CDROM Drive, Bootable USB, and floppy
Hi guys!

I'm new year I am browsing the net for a day just looking for a solution to install windows xp on my toshiba notebook that doesnt have floppy, cdrom drive and cannot boot using USB devices.

I have tried the pxe install but without success. I always recieve not enough memory errors while loading the pe image on the ramdrive. I only have 256 MB of RAM thats why using neither BartPE nor Windows PE type installation is a good solution.

My notebook specs are as follows:
notebook pc
256Mb of RAM
1.1 Ghz Cetrino

One solution I can see is removing the laptop harddisk and connecting it tru my computer using Mobile Harddisk Enclosure on USB interface.

Is this possible? Do you have a walkthrough or guide of doing this?


William_Wilson 03-17-2007 01:00 PM

The exact thing you're looking for is in the tutorials:
install XP without drives

ervindm 03-17-2007 08:29 PM

Thanks! I'll be looking into it.

ervindm 03-19-2007 10:47 AM

Thanks, It works! :)

archking 03-22-2007 11:24 AM

first post hope I'm in the right spot.
I have a a fujitsu b2131 laptop that I've messed up. had win98se on it, but was having issues after loading aol on it. I wanted a fresh start with Windows, but had no drives, floppy or cd-rom, to reload with. If it helps I do have a usb cdrom, but not much good out of the windows enviroment. I found this thread detailing how to install os with no drives. Before attempting these steps I made a backup of my drive using Norton's Ghost so I would have something to fall back on if I failed. I thought I followed the steps as described, but when attempting to start the laptop was greeted with the error "invalid system disk" I put the Laptop drive back in the desktop and boot from it. (worked fine into dos.) I redid the steps but only in so much as to install dos on the drive with same results. (I did a quick format in between tries.) I attempted to reinstall the the backup from norton's with the same result. I tried to putting just the formatted drive in to see if It would read a different message is said something to the effect of no os loaded. I tried going into the bios and having it redetect the drive. (Which it appeared to.)
Before one answers and says I must have a bad laptop or drive let me add that I have another laptop and drive that are identical that have met with the same results.
Let me step back to add the non technical questions for those that are interested.
My boss and I share identical laptops for work. He chose to install AOL on his though I told him it was a mistake. His laptop was not working correctly. So I planned to make a back up of mine using ghost and then restore it to his drive. The problem was that somewhere in the back of my mine I hosed the drive. That's when I conceived to reinstall windows on mine so that I could go with that. I did the steps as described, but met with failure. But I broke a pin off my Laptops drive somewhere in this process. I couldn't be certain when the drive was damaged. So I had no way of knowing if I had failed to follow the instructions or if the bad drive was to blame. So I took plunge and took the drive from the laptop. I successfully backed it up. (The difference was the first time I tried to do it across usb the second time I had a 2.5 to 3.5 adapter straight on the IDE.) Once it was backed up I formatted it and tried again. And failed. I have since tried everything as described above.

William_Wilson 03-22-2007 10:36 PM

The tutorial does work, i have used it on many laptops and many different situations. Make sure that you are creating a bootable partition, a mistake in doing this could result in the error of an "invalid system disk".
The steps have to be followed carefully since any tampering with file locations or using the drive in windows for too many operations will cause the drive to become switched into a slave mode drive.

Are you formatting the C:\ partion with the DOS installer?

archking 03-25-2007 12:56 AM

Not sure about the dos installer unless you're asking about the dos 7.1 disk that can be downloaded from this site.
I downloaded the dos 7.1 from this site and then I installed the the laptop drive into the desktop as the master. I then started the computer with the dos cd in the drive. Went through the install including the part where it asked if I wanted to let the disk write it's own MBR. (Which I did let it write.) When the process was done I turned off the computer, took the drive out and put it directly in my laptop and it failed with the invalid system disk. I can't think of what else to do.

William_Wilson 03-25-2007 11:34 AM

The DOS MBR should work just fine it is similar to the Windows bootloader and linux grub. The DOS installer should format and install DOS on the drive, try rebooting your desktop after installing and see if your desktop can load DOS, it may be something other than the hard drive which is wrong with the laptop.

archking 03-25-2007 03:24 PM

I have verified that it will boot into dos on the desktop which it does. I also have two laptops both of them respond the same way. Before I damaged the second hard drive it responded the same way too.

archking 03-25-2007 05:04 PM

I just grabbed a 40gb drive out of a external case that I have here and formatted it to the fat32 and then installed dos 7.1 onto it by hooking it up to my desktop as the master via the 2.5 to 3.5 adapter. Then put it in a laptop and it worked! I then stuck it in the other laptop and again it worked. I knew that this tutorial looked like should work, but couldn't believe two drives would fail in the same way and that they working before I started this project. Oh well, Now I'm off to tell my boss that we need to either pitch these laptops or buy two hard drives for them.
It sucks that I have to deliver the bad news to my boss, but it's a relief to finally know for sure what's happening. I've been beating my head against the wall on this problem for about a week now.
Thanks for your help on this.

William_Wilson 03-26-2007 03:25 PM

don't feel bad, trying to come up with a cheap/easy way than my tutorial listed caused me nearly 6 months of anguish before i just broke down and hot wired this method together.

codezmith 02-28-2008 11:18 AM


I only have 256 MB of RAM thats why using neither BartPE nor Windows PE type installation is a good solution.
iv just seen this and wanted to let u know i have win xp sp2 runing fine and dandy on my compact armarda 6500

spec p366 mhz (or ther abouts )
128mb ram !
6gb hdd (ibm original v-old)

i also use this to test bart pe / winpe

* with ms-vpc and usb 2 hdd link
its posible to use a phisical disk as vurtual hard disk

iv tested this with bart-pe hdd installs it works a treet



helives95 03-01-2008 11:12 PM

I would say, take a network computer, put a bootable image on it, and do a network boot :)

loraandbush 04-17-2008 07:43 AM

I want to know how can i install the os from pan drive.

sweetie2 07-15-2008 09:52 AM

A little help
Tried this with a laptop with no floppy or cdrom

Had a spare laptop - loaded Dos 7 - let it format drive

Place drive in laptop without floppy or cdrom
Then - followed instructions - worked until the reboot

Getting Ntldr is missing - Press any key to restart

machine is a gateway solo 5300

Any help would be appreciated.. Tried taking the drive out and booting with 98 floppy and ran sys c: - replaced drive - same message.


Brie987 05-20-2009 02:16 AM

I am just stuck on the last DOS command line at the end with my hhd is back in the laptop. the final two run command lines are c:\smartdrv.exe goes thru, I get a disc cache status but the final command line c:\i386\winnt.exe will not load I keep getting "Bad command or file name". It boots perfectly in the desktop. I have gotten this far. Thank you William for your tutorial it really helped. I am grateful for any help or suggestions. Thaks for your time.

Just so you know I am installing this in a Thinkpad 240, 6gig hhd, 300mhz, 192ram. Also the OS I am installing is TinyXP, do you think this might be the problem? Also I did not use DOS to format the harddrive I used another desktop using a IDE USB connector.

Thank you again.

Fineking 01-21-2010 11:54 AM

Can't Download Tutorial
Hi William,

I clicked on the link to download the tutorial but it came up with this "Page not found". Please how can you help me out?

Thanks as I await your reply.

CONCORD44077 03-31-2010 10:08 PM

install XP without drives
when i tried to find the tutorial i got page not found.

delighted 05-24-2010 07:39 PM

really it os not just a easy job,,,
it is found to b more difficult to install an os by a pendrive... but it is not impossible....

first get the imagge file on the drive .i.e ISO file of the os .then allow the booting through the pen drive.. it will start by its own......:icon_wink:

squishyrob 06-20-2010 10:02 AM

any new links to the tutorial? this is the closest i have come to finding this!

William_Wilson 06-21-2010 09:33 PM

The linking adding a \ to the link which made it invalid, the proper link is:

fixit4me 07-29-2011 06:07 AM

William, just stumbled on this thread after 3 weeks of sleepless night researching on the internet on how to reinstall my Win xp with a faulty cd rom. What i have done so far, i read about usb booting, my toshiba m45 does not support usb booting, so i read about plop boot manager to make it become usb bootable. Thank God plop boot manager supports installation via floppy apart from cd rom, so i ordered toshiba usb floppy disk drive on ebay, downloaded it on floppy diskette and use it to fire up my system, setting my bios to boot from FDD, plop boot manager works magic as my toshiba was able to recognize usb bootable flash drive, unfortunate Win xp professional set up keeps getting stuck when copying files from my usb, i have inter-changed the RAMs and still cant successfully copy all files without getting stuck in 16%, 24%, 54% (i need expert advice on this first as usb booting this woud be great and time saving and can serve my PC in the future without stress, as your explanation of taking out HDD to another desktop seems equipment demanding and special computer skills) If i have to fly with your option, can i use usb 2.0 sata ide adapter to mount my laptop HDD on the desktop or do i really need to make a physical connection. I tried maybe not so wise way before, by using the usb sata ide adapter to mount the laptop SATA HDD on the desktop, the system recognizes the laptop HDD like a flash drive would work when put in a system for the first time, i was able to get into the HDD and see the content. I rebooted the desktop with win xp in the cd rom, it showed my laptop HDD and when i try to install xp directly into it, it get stuck with a message of desktop motherboard compatibility and i need a motherboard manufacturer software or something, to be cut my story short, help me deal with first option of usb booting and make clearer the second option of any possibility of using usb 2.0 sata ide adapter, if thats gonna work other than the HDD pins, IDE channels and stuffs you explained. I am so confused about the pins and channels as my sata HDD is just a compacted piece of device with a fixed slot on the laptop. I make an SOS call on this adorable toshiba laptop before i make a decision to garbage it in 1 week.

EmilioRivera 01-16-2013 01:53 AM

I happen on the desktop, boot to DOS, that has been confirmed. I also have both a laptop to respond in the same way. Reacted in the same way too, before I have a second hard drive damage.

JeffDaniels 03-06-2013 06:15 AM

Installed under the dos not know unless you ask DOS 7.1 disk, can be downloaded from this site.
I downloaded from this site DOS 7.1, then my laptop hard drive installed on the desktop as the primary. Then, I started in the DOS CD drive of the computer. Through the installation of the part, it asked if I would allow the disk to write its own MBR. (I did not let this writing.) Process when I turn off the computer, drive in my laptop, and it has a direct and failures, invalid system disk. I can not think what else to do.

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