How to Make a USB Flash Boot Like a Windows XP CD

Written by tiffany garden
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How to Make a USB Flash Boot Like a Windows XP CD
A USB flash drive can be used for bootable applications. (thumb drive image by Albert Lozano from

A bootable USB flash drive is useful in situations where the CD or DVD drive is not working, or the computer does not have an optical drive. Bootable drives can be used for many reasons, such as accessing the repair console, performing a full Windows installation, running antivirus software, or recovering files. A bootable USB drive is also useful for computer technicians working on many computers every day. The drive is much less likely to be damaged than a CD.

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Things you need

  • USB flash drive with 2 to 4GB minimum capacity
  • Windows XP Installation disc

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  1. 1

    Download WinToFlash. Extract the downloaded file and double-click on the file after the extraction process is complete.

  2. 2

    Plug the USB flash drive into the computer. Click "Start," and select "My Computer." Note the drive letters of the CD drive and the USB stick. Insert the Windows XP Installation CD into the CD-ROM drive. Close the installer if it tries to auto run.

  3. 3

    Go back to the window that appeared when you double-clicked the WinToFlash file. Choose the CD drive letter in the first field. Choose the USB flash drive in the second field. Click "Next." A progress bar appears and shows the copying process. WinToFlash converts the USB drive into a bootable flash drive and also copies the Windows installation files at the same time.

  1. 1

    Download "HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool." Double-click "SP27068.exe." This is the file name for the tool. An installation wizard appears. Click "Run" and choose "Next" on the first window. Click "I accept the terms of this license agreement." Click "Next" two times, select "OK," choose "Next," then click "Finish" to complete the installation wizard.

  2. 2

    Go to "Start", select "All Programs," choose "Hewlett-Packard" and select "HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool."

  3. 3

    Choose the USB thumb drive letter for the first field. Go to "Start" and select "My Computer" if you do not know the thumb drive letter. It will tell you the drive letter. Choose the "FAT32" option under "File Format" and type in a name for the drive. Click "Start."

  4. 4

    Go to "Start," select "My Computer" or "Computer." Select the "C" drive. Locate "BOOT.INI," "NTLDR" and "NTDETECT." Copy these files to the flash drive once the format is complete. This USB stick is now bootable.

  1. 1

    Click "Start," select "All Programs" and choose "Accessories." Right-click on "Command Prompt" and select the "Run As Administrator" option.

  2. 2

    Type in "diskpart" and press "Enter." Type "list disk" then hit "Enter." Make a note of the thumb drive number displayed after "list disk" runs.

  3. 3

    Hit "Enter" following each of the next commands.Type "Select Disk Number." Change "Number" to the number of your USB drive. Type "Clean." Type "Create Partition Primary." Type "Select Partition 1." Type "Active." Type "Format FS=NTFS." Type "Assign." Type "Exit."

  4. 4

    Put the Windows CD into the optical drive. Type "D:CD BOOT" and replace the D: with the drive letter of your CD drive. Hit "Enter." Type "BOOTSECT.EXE/NT60 E:" where E is the drive letter of the USB thumb drive. This creates a bootable Flash drive.

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