Saturday, June 23, 2012

Installing Windows XP from Pen Drive without third party software

Hi there,

i have seen people looking for a simple solution to install Windows XP from pen drive just like they can now install windows Vista , 7 and windows 8.

Well, i know one such solution exactly and i use it personally. but i never shared it though... so here it is , and i hope this will help.

  1. Takes less than 5 minutes to install OS.
  2. Image Based installation much similar to Vista, 7 and 8 installation.
  3. Tools used are from Microsoft.(ImageX).

so let's get started. i assume that you know computer and OS installation basics and have read the earlier article for preparing a bootable window Vista,7 or 8 Pen drive.

Let me explain first, given below are the steps that we will use for preparation.

Step1 : Prepare Window Vista, Window 7 or windows 8 Boot able pen drive.
Step2 : Install windows XP on a a test pc.
Step3 : Capture Windows XP image from C: partition of test pc.(using imageX.exe)
Step4 : Once the image is captured, it can be used for installation on other desktops or laptops etc.

Objective: Install windows XP from a bootable (windows) pen drive.

1: Click here and follow instructions to create a bootable windows installation drive.
2: Install a fresh copy of windows XP on a desktop computer using standard procedure. do not install any drivers or software. Shutdown your computer after first restart.
3: We will now need Microsoft ImageX

(Microsoft ImageX tool for windows.(download it from Microsoft site here) ImageX is a very tiny application which comes as part of WAIK (windows automated installation kit). download the latest iso file from the link here. its is a big image file but worth the download because we will use ImageX.exe for several different purposes. )
Time to capture the freshly installed windows XP image from C: partition. to do this follow the steps below.
  • Copy ImageX to bootable pen drive created during the Step1.
  • Boot from bootable pen drive
  • On the setup screen Press Shift+F10 to open command prompt.
  • Now from command prompt go to pen drive.
  • Now Type command Imagex /capture C: C:\WinXP.wim "XP"
  • The above step will capture windows XP image from c: drive and save it with a file name Winxp.wim
  • the process will take around 10-15 minutes.
  • once done you may normally restart the pc.
  • next step is to copy winxp.wim from c: drive to Pen drive

 and that's it!!, we are done creating a bootable pen drive that can be used to install windows Vista, windows 7 or windows 8 and Windows XP as well.

You might be wondering how to install windows XP? So here are the steps...

Explanation: to install windows XP on a fresh HDD, we will create a new partition and then after format it with NTFS. next we will make that partition active and bootable. Once done, next step would be to apply windows XP image captured earlier to the newly created partition and finally, restart PC normally.

 Objective: Install windows XP from a bootable (windows) pen drive.

1. follow the steps below to create a new partition to install windows XP. (if you already have a partition created on the Hard drive.)
  1. Boot from Pen drive created earlier
  2. on the setup screen press Shift+F10 to bring up Command prompt
  3. Type  Diskpart on command prompt
  4. Now type List disk, this will show all the Physical Hard disk drive and other drivers attached to pc. find the disk corresponding to you HDD (in my case it is was Disk 1)
  5. type select disk 1
  6. now type create partition primary size=102400 ( mention required partition size in MB)
  7. now type format fs=ntfs quick
  8. now type active
  9.  the step above automatically assigns drive letter to pen drive, but if it doesn't then you the next command.
  10. assign letter="C"
  11. now type exit
Now using the same command prompt got to the pen drive wherein we have our WinXP.wim and imagex.exe file.
now from the command prompt type the following commands.
imagex /apply WinXP.wim 1 C:\
C: is the drive letter on which we you wish to install OS.

now patiently wait for process to finish up. it would take around a minute or 2. you will be able to see the progress in the command prompt window.
2.Adding boot information to Windows Partition.

using the command prompt, go to Pen drive and then Boot folder. In my case E: is the Pen drive letter and prompt looks like this.(instead of E: use your Pen drive letter)
now type the following command
bootsect.exe /nt52 C:

the above command will make the partition bootable with NTLDR.

and we are done now...!!
Close all windows and restart pc normally, you will be greeted with windows XP logo....

Now go ahead give it a try...and do not forget to share your experience...


  1. Really!!!! gr8 one..

    After long time I learn to make usb stick bootable for my Fav OS (XP).

  2. And while installing Win XP, if we change the priority of setup process through task manager (Shift+F10 then type taskmgr and press enter) to high then within 15 min Win-XP will install.

  3. yes, you are right, it certainly does... :)

  4. i captured the image of Xp. i.e winxp.wim using imagex, but unable to apply it, error is coming (The system cannot find the file specified).

    please help me sir

    Dharmendra Chauhan

  5. use the syntax below:

    boot from the pen drive and from command prompt run the command below.

    imagex /apply d:\winxp.wim 1 c: