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William_Wilson 03-11-2006 04:37 PM

Install Windows XP without floppy or cd drives
I will try to be as detailed as possible, including pictures as i go.
(My laptop is a Dell Latitude CSx, but this will work for any make or model with the same issue)

*Please be careful when playing with hard drives they are extremly fragile and affected by magnets, static and sudden impacts.

SysChat and it's affiliates will not take the blame for your mistakes! You have been warned

*now for the fun part!

Approximate cost of this procedure is $20 canadian, for the converter.
You will need the following:

*use of a desktop computer
*a laptop hard drive to IDE converter (available at any major online computer store)
*DOS (preferably 7.10 for it's improved loading times, available online, or by request.. it was free when i got it)

*If you have not burned a copy of DOS 7.10 yet, do that first, you will need it before moving the hardware!

locate the drive bay on your laptop:

open the bay by removing the screws and slide the hard drive and drive tray out.

both the drive tray and pin to laptop converter will need to be removed, carefully unscrew the drive tray and VERY carefully pull the converter off, it may be stuck on very tight.

Now connect the adapter to the hard drive

Now with the desktop computer OFF and grounded (to prevent static) plug the IDE channel 1 cable into the adapter (it will only fit one way) and the power cable into the other plug on the adapter.

NOTE: the red and black wires on the power MUST line-up!!

- attatch the drive to IDE 1, channel 2 and start up your computer.
- format the drive to FAT32 (you can always switch it to ntfs later, with a prog such as partition magic)
- shutdown the computer

*With the DOS cd in the drive

- switch the laptop drive to IDE 1 channel 1 for best chance of detection, DOS is not the smartest OS ever made

- power up and install DOS 7.10 when prompted. IT is your choice to add or not add all the extras with DOS, these will not affect your installation either way!

- shutdown the computer and rearrange the laptop drive such that it is on IDE1, channel 2 again. so that you can boot into the OS (psobably XP) on your desktop.

- remove DOS 7.10 cd
- replace with Windows XP cd after system has booted.
- Copy I386 folder from WinXP cd onto the laptop harddrive
*probably place this directly on the root of the drive to prevent confusion later.
- find and download smartdrv.exe and copy it to the root directory as well (speeds up dos transfers)

*IF you cannot find this file, it is also found on win98 boot disks :D

- put the harddrive back in the laptop, reversing all the steps you did in the first part. Be Careful here as well, i have seen many pins bent due to carelessness on connecting the laptop/pin converter.

-When you turn on the laptop DOS should load, otherwise select it from the list

- run smartdrv.exe (type C:\smartdrv.exe at command prompt)

- run 16bit Windows XP installer (type C:\I386\winnt.exe)

- now let the laptop sit! Even if it appears to stall, it will continue, some older harddrives do not spin very fast and need time to load (5-10min is not an unreasonable wait
*with smartdrv.exe installed, expect MUCH longer without it!

- follow the Windows installer directions!
(Total time, depending on computer speeds: 1-2hrs - though most of this is waiting for Windows XP to install)

*you will now have dos and windows on the drive, you can remove dos, or leave it, it is up to you!!

PM if you need help removing your dual boot screen or uninstalling DOS safely.

**The best part about this installation method is it is much cheaper than buying an external drive, as long as you have access to a desktop computer.

*NOTE most external drives will use a USB connection which cannot be accesed on an installation.

Sami 03-16-2006 08:22 PM

Excellent guide William.

Just want to let you all know that DOS ver 7.10 is now available in the downloads section. Here are the links.

1. MS-DOS 7.10 CD Full Installation

2. MS-DOS 7.10 Boot Disk

3. Windows 98 OEM Start-up Disk with CD-ROM Support

William_Wilson 03-17-2006 12:16 AM

Also if you have a floppy drive, but no cd drive in your laptop, then you can use the Windows XP 6 installation Floppies, available from microsoft
There are options for both XP Proffessional and XP Home, happy installing.

iconico 04-05-2006 06:27 PM

Many Tx
I tried several ways to do it... The converter was the answer... very clear solution . Many Thanks !

jinjim 05-30-2006 03:07 PM

could you guide the steps on Page 3 in more details?

William_Wilson 05-31-2006 01:38 AM

Do you have a converter?
It should only fit on in one way, then make sure that pin 1 (red mark on IDE) is lined up on both drive and cable. If you have a specific question feel free to PM me.

jinjim 05-31-2006 02:01 PM

Thank you much. It's helpful. One more question:

Originally Posted by William_Wilson
Do you have a converter?
It should only fit on in one way, then make sure that pin 1 (red mark on IDE) is lined up on both drive and cable. If you have a specific question feel free to PM me.


I have two laptops: one HP good, the other Fujitsu bad. The good with external floppy and internal cd drives and XP, the bad with a bad OS (no boot, so to be replaced), external USB cd and floppy drives, but neither working without OS. Can I install OS on the bad as follows.

Swap the two internal fixed HD, use the good as platform, with bootable media either in floppy or cd drives:

1. boot from floppy, or directly from cd-rom, to install XP on the bad's HD, then switch back each other's HD, then boot the bad with XP just installed, and change certain configurations according to the bad's;

2. boot from floppy, or directly from cd-rom, to install DOS and copy XP on the bad's HD, then switch back each other's HD, then boot the bad with DOS just installed, and run XP setup.

(2) looks easier, isn't it?

I need urgent help/comment from you.


Jim Jin

anton 06-01-2006 06:12 PM

my laptop just says remove media? anyone know whats up?

William_Wilson 06-02-2006 03:50 PM

you can try that, but it probably won't work. An installation of Windows sets up the hardware. If you were to do the copying step of the files, and upon the restart, power off the laptop and transfer the hard drive back, that may work as the correct hardware would then be set up.

daafi 07-02-2006 05:25 AM

Thanks William!

Thanks to your tutorial, my problem is solved:biggrin:

but i have 1 guestion,

Could you tell me how to remove dual boot screen and uninstall DOS safely?

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