Even with laptops and notebooks getting smaller, having a portable Windows installation on a flash drive is a convenient way to take information with you, wherever you go. You can have access to those things on any personal computer. Creating a bootable external drive for Windows XP is not hard, as long as you have access to the right tools.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- External drive
- Windows Installation CD
Download the Flash Drive Prep zip file from Megaupload.com and set-up the external drive so you can install Windows XP. Open the zip folder and extract the files. Run usb_prep8.cmd from the USB_prep8 folder. Press any key once the Windows console opens and it will open a window in PeToUSB. Find the drive you want to install XP to. Click Start and allow it to format your drive. Click OK but do not close either window yet.
Open a DOS command window by typing "cmd" into the Run field when you right-click on the Start menu. Find the bootsect folder from the list when you type "dir" into the DOS window. Access the bootsect folder by entering
cd <folder name>
substituting the bootsect folder's name.
Create a bootsect folder on your external drive. Type this command into the DOS window and press the Enter key:
bootsect.exe /nt52 g:
Make sure you use the letter your computer assigned to your external drive, if it is not called "g." Close the DOS window and the PeToUSB window. Keep the console from Step 1 open.
Do the Windows XP installation on the external drive. Put your Windows installation CD in your CD drive. Press 1 in the console and locate the CD drive. Select number 2 and create a virtual drive with a letter that your computer does not already have assigned. Push 3 and enter the letter your computer assigned to the external drive. Hit 4 and follow the instructions to install Windows XP.
Tips and warnings
- Any time you want to use the installation on your external drive, you need to make sure the BIOS is set to boot to the external drive on that computer.
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