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How to install Windows XP from a hard drive without using a floppy or optical drive.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
This is my first FAQ, please feel free to correct any mistakes and/or post comments

This FAQ will cover the installation of Windows XP Pro onto a hard disk of a pc which does not have an optical or floppy drive. The hard disk can either be an IDE, SATA, or notebook hard disk.

Equipment needed

1. Backup pc with a cd-rom drive, internet connection, a free USB port (optional), SATA controller (optional) and a preinstalled operating system (preferably Windows XP)

2. IDE to USB converter (if using a laptop hard disk) Link

Tools needed

1. A Phillips screwdriver – To secure or remove 3.5” hard disks.

Software needed

1. Smart Drive-smartdrv.exe (optional but recommended) Download here
2. DOS 7.10 (Google it for download links)

3. Windows XP Pro/Home Installation CD with software license

Pre-requisite knowledge needed

1. Ability to remove and mount hard drives

2. Knowledge on how to use the Windows XP installer

Start here

1. Unplug the 3.5” hard disk (either IDE or SATA) from the pc without the optical or floppy drive / Extract the notebook hard disk from the notebook

2. Install the 3.5” IDE/SATA hard disk into the backup pc / Install the notebook hard disk onto the IDE to USB converter and plug the USB connector into a free USB port on the backup PC

3. Format the hard disk to the FAT32 file system

4. Install DOS 7.10 onto the disk

5. Copy smartdrv.exe to the root directory

6. Copy the I386 folder from the Windows XP installation CD to the hard drive (put it in a folder called I386 as well)

7. Unplug the hard disk from the backup pc.

8. Install the hard disk into the pc/notebook which doesn’t have a floppy or cd-rom drive.

9. Start up the pc and DOS 7.10 should load up automatically

10. In the c:\\> prompt, type “smartdrv” (without quotes) and press enter

11. Then in the c:\\> prompt, type c:\\I386\\winnt.exe

12 The Windows XP installation should start up and you’re ready to go



Additional notes.

1. I’ve tried this with a laptop hard disk and a full size IDE hard disk. However, a SATA hard disk may also be used provided that the backup pc has an onboard or a PCI SATA controller.


Disclaimer

Information provided in this FAQ is intended for information purposes only. The author does not accept any responsibility for the outcome of following this FAQ.
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post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
Don't worry about downloading and executing 'smartdrv' if you're installing Dos 7.10. Dos 7.10 gives you an option ot install and start smartdrv when dos boots.
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post #3 of 13
Nice FAQ. I knew how to do this with 95/98/Me, but never looked it up for 2000/XP.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
It was much easier to do back then with 95/98/ME. One other thing I should point out is the speed of the install because all the files are read directly from the hdd.
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post #5 of 13
Are there any ill effects because the installs and the installation are on the same HDD?

Thanks, Timmay
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
If I had a 20gb hard disk. I would make a 3gb partition and install dos and copy the I386 folder onto it. Then I'll install windows on the other 17gb. I don't think its possible to install windows onto where the source files are located. Make sure you keep a partition of at least 3gb. You can also store driver and program files on it.
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post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by harvs
If I had a 20gb hard disk. I would make a 3gb partition and install dos and copy the I386 folder onto it. Then I'll install windows on the other 17gb. I don't think its possible to install windows onto where the source files are located. Make sure you keep a partition of at least 3gb. You can also store driver and program files on it.
Now that you say that... If the I386 folder is on the same drive, the install could result kinda slow, but if it's on a separate drive the install would speed up quite a bit. Also you don't have to burn a new xp cd each time if you use nLite or slipstream updates to your install.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by harvs
If I had a 20gb hard disk. I would make a 3gb partition and install dos and copy the I386 folder onto it. Then I'll install windows on the other 17gb. I don't think its possible to install windows onto where the source files are located. Make sure you keep a partition of at least 3gb. You can also store driver and program files on it.
Follow up question... I have formated a 4gb partision FAT32, copied DOS 7.1 to the drive as well as the i386 folder but when i put the hdd in the laptop i get the "no OS found" error... any ideas?

The remaining 50gb on the drive have been formated NTFS if that makes any difference.

Timmay
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigredgpk
copied DOS 7.1
you have to install dos onto that partition
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post #10 of 13
how do you install DOS onto the hard drive as i am stuck on that bit
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