The Making of Windows XP USB Portable

What if you have this situation: you need to install Windows XP into a notebook or computer without any existing optical drive on it. In this case, you only have 3 solutions; 1) Leave the situation & stick to old-dummy OS, 2) Buy an (USB) optical drive or 3) Simply using your existing USB drive to create your own setup. This article below will describe you a trick how to create Windows XP installer using an UFD (USB Flash Disk) & make it boot from any computers that allow you to boot from UFD (including netbook, notebook or PC). All you need is a single UFD with 1GB capacity at minimal & another computer with optical drive built-in to make the USB portable process. Don’t forget to provide device drivers & also an original copy of Windows XP CD (or at least both SATA drivers & Windows installer mixed on a bootable CD). Prepare these 3 tools also (, & before getting started. Download them all from link available.

First, create a folder named xpusb on C:\. Extract 3 zipped files on each folders name, so that you will have same display on yours just like the picture below. After this, you may plug in the UFD to begin preparing the format session.

Next, copy PeToUSB.exe from PeToUSB_3.0.0.7 folder to usb_prep8. Then, execute usb_prep8.cmd. A common DOS based application will run, press any key to continue.

PeToUSB program will running. If your UFD has plugged in, you may see the destination drive on which drive it will be formatted. On my experience, the UFD assigned on H:\ drive letter. Press Start to begin formatting.

After operation completed successfully, a dialog box will show up press OK to continue.

Okey, formatting process has done. Now, open command prompt & enter bootsect path on c:\xpusb. Execute the following command to updating FAT filesystem bootcode to the UFD (H:\ drive letter on me or depends on yours):

Bootsect.exe /nt52 h:

After the bootcode was successfully updated on UFD, now exit from existing command prompt & close PeToUSB application. Load a copy of Windows XP CD into optical drive then back to first command prompt (usb_prep8.cmd) & the display will change to the following image:

Enter “1” to continue to browse your XP CD drive letter & press OK to continue.

Then, enter “2” & give non existing drive letter as virtual drive for Tempimage. Give it “T” as default drive letter.

Last question menu is entering target UFD drive letter (H:\ on me).

The creation of virtual drive T:\ is started. Continue to proceed with format.

After format process completed, the files extraction from CD to virtual drive will established. This will take couple minutes, so I suggest you go to kitchen to make a coffee & back to your desk with a cigarette.

Files extraction process has done & a confirmation window will show. Press Yes to copy files from virtual drive to UFD.

Copying files now established. Please burn your cigarette, sit back, relax & enjoy your coffee. This will take more than couple minutes.

Press Yes to below like confirmation dialog.

And again, press any key to continue. The process is now releasing the T:\ virtual drive.

Your UFD now is ready to boot. Curious with the disk size? It’s a similar to your CD installation source & get synchronized to UFD!

The fact is, there are more than 300MB free on UFD. Is there any additional way you can do to make the UFD more perfect? Yes, sure! Copy the device drivers or portable application into it. Note that this is an optional & you don’t have to do it. A complete set of portable application can be downloaded from this link. For shortcuts, install it first on your local drive. It’s faster than you install it directly onto USB.

After it finished, create a special folder (eg: _PORTABLEAPPS) on UFD. Then, copy installed files in computer to this new folder. You also able to add or remove the application depend on your necessity.

Now you have a complete “weapon” right on a single UFD. The latest process is plug the UFD in your machine, turn it on & activate the UFD boot from BIOS.

After booting from UFD, here come 2 menu displaying on monitor. Select menu #1 (TXT Mode Setup Windows XP). Use only C: drive of computer harddisk as partition for install of Windows XP & then select quick format with NTFS filesystem. XP install copying files is automatic.

After it finished copying files, quit XP setup with F3 or switch off your computer & boot in any case from UFD again & select menu #2 (GUI mode). Let the rest process run as normal as you install from CD. But I noticed, never unplug the UFD until after first logon of Windows XP. Your computer now is ready with Windows XP.

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Eko Wahyudiharto
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  1. Anonymous zafri said,

    Monday, October 27, 2008 8:57:00 PM

    i also notice ur an linux expert. Maybe u cana help me out in configuring my Huawei E160G modem with my Acer Aspire One Linux. Allready tried using existing tip n trick I found in Google. Appreciate yr help. tq

  2. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008 8:55:00 AM

    Linpus on Aspire One has compact tools, it doesn't have lots of utilities to improve the system.

    But, I believe that there's a way to solve your problem & it must be a long one.

  3. Blogger Bradley said,

    Sunday, November 30, 2008 2:51:00 AM

    Thank you! You're a genius

  4. Anonymous kabuki said,

    Monday, December 08, 2008 2:53:00 AM

    you rock THX!!!

  5. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Monday, December 15, 2008 3:02:00 PM

    Really Great, I've Needed This Badly coz My DVD Is Not Working Good,,,, Thanx For This Help, But Is There Any Way To Setup Windows XP Completely On A Memory Stick?, That Means I Need To Boot And Run Applications From My Memory Stick, Is It Possible?

  6. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Monday, December 22, 2008 11:52:00 AM

    @Eslam: What do u mean by that? Setup or boot/run programs from memory stick? This is the way i done on current article.

    Anyway, you can see how to booting XP (mini) from USB from this link:

  7. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Friday, January 09, 2009 6:50:00 PM

    is it possible on my 1Gb flash drive?i follow all the steps, but its not working. i did not see this step.

    "Last question menu is entering target UFD drive letter (H:\ on me)."

    what seems to be the problem?i am using a sandisk 1GB USB. thanks in advance.

  8. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Monday, January 12, 2009 3:02:00 PM

    thank you so much for the help! :D

  9. Blogger don said,

    Monday, January 12, 2009 8:14:00 PM

    i was able to set up my acer aspire one with windows xp by following your instructions. the problem is that it can't connect to the internet and there's also no audio. need help please.

  10. Anonymous Tatos said,

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 12:04:00 PM

    hey mac,

    my windows CD is service pack 2 - can you offer any help? it says it's missing files when i try to use your method.

    cheers mate,

  11. Blogger KiwiAssault said,

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 1:13:00 PM

    Hello friend,

    when I try this on my Aspire One with a 2gb Kingston USB drive, I get this error:

    \biosinfo.inf could not be loaded . Error code 14

    Any clue why that is, and how I can fix it?


  12. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Thursday, January 15, 2009 1:31:00 PM

    @Tatos, @KiwiAssault: It seems that you have a corrupted setup CD. Try another one...

  13. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Sunday, February 15, 2009 12:09:00 PM

    i hv a problem when i chose opt 4

    Temporary Virtual Drive T: Created
    TEMPDRIVE T: Not Formatted - Program will be Ended
    Existing Virtual Drives if any are Closed

    then the command window close n i hv nothing in my usb
    hw could i fix this?

  14. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Saturday, May 16, 2009 9:54:00 AM

    Eko Wahyudiharto,

    Do you know how to install winxp pro onto a compact flash card through a compact flash to IDE adapter onto a Thinkpad x40?


  15. Blogger Dan said,

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 7:56:00 PM

    I am getting the following error:

    Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
    Windows root\system32\hal.dll.
    Please re-install a copy of the above file.

    I make it through the text version of the install and after rebooting and going to the GUI setup to continue is when I get the error. I am installing XP pro on an acer aspire one netbook.

  16. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 9:24:00 PM

    @Dan: Make sure that you select #2 GUI installation after finished #1 TXT mode successfully.

  17. Blogger DanTech said,

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 9:58:00 PM

    I selected #2 after I had finished #1 and tha t is when I get the hal.dll error - could it be the USb flash drive I am using are there certian brands that do not work you know about? I am using a 1GB Flash Voyager by Corsair.

  18. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:48:00 PM

    It's impossible that the usb flash drive will caused this. I think the possibility is:
    1. It might be some missing files while you "burn" setup to usb (or from corrupt CD)
    2. Try to still enable boot USB option from BIOS.

  19. Blogger DanTech said,

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 7:45:00 PM

    I found that I had to remove the acer partition and install was able to proceed. I would think it would be possible to install even if you have partitions.

  20. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:49:00 PM

    I think that it's kinda weirds if you had to remove the partition to solve the problem except that you had installed on drive other than C:

  21. Blogger DanTech said,

    Sunday, June 14, 2009 4:58:00 AM

    I found the following:

    From this point on it is just like any other windows XP installation delete/recreate the primary partition on your EEE pc and format it using NTFS. Make sure you delete ALL partitions and recreate a single partition or you will get the hal.dll error message.

    AT this web:

    It installed with no issues once I deleted the acer partition

    However, I believe it can be install with CD media without deleting all partitions and I do not understand why it would be different with the USB drive.

  22. Blogger DanTech said,

    Sunday, June 14, 2009 5:03:00 AM

    Also note that the acer partition had no drive letter and once the partition was created for the windows install with the USB stick it had the drive letter C: - I have installed windows before as well and it used another drive letter other than C: and still installed. However, I am too particular so I always do whatever I have to do, such as to delete all partitions in order to make the windows install drive C:

  23. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Friday, July 17, 2009 9:19:00 PM

    Hello i have set the source path for XP set the virtual temp drvie as T and changed the target drive of the USB drive letter. i am not sure how to get to the next step.
    Could you help me please from

  24. Blogger Hamilton said,

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009 4:32:00 PM

    hi there..i stuck here here for quit long time. could't figure wats the problem --> Now, open command prompt & enter bootsect path on c:\xpusb. Execute the following command to updating FAT filesystem bootcode to the UFD.

    it says there:

    'Bootsect.exe' is not recognized as an internal or external command operable program or batch file.

    can u please help me and figure out wats the provlem? thanks in advance.

  25. Blogger DanTech said,

    Friday, August 28, 2009 8:44:00 PM

    Did you use the command "Bootsect.exe /nt52 h:"

    (h: being the drive for the USB Flash Drive which may be different depending on your hardware)

  26. Blogger DanTech said,

    Friday, August 28, 2009 8:56:00 PM

    Use option 4 to make temp image and copy to USB drive. May have been a step left out of script.

    It should place it here:

    (refer to the image above)

  27. Blogger Hamilton said,

    Thursday, September 03, 2009 1:42:00 PM

    Thanks for the write up, it works...

    But on boot i have two choices:
    1)Start Windows XP
    2)USB Repair NOT to Start Windows XP

    obviously I have to select 1. 2 gives me an error and reboots to the menu. Any idea how I can fix this and make #1 the default choice?

  28. Blogger DanTech said,

    Thursday, September 03, 2009 6:44:00 PM

    I need to know what error you are getting?

  29. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Friday, October 09, 2009 11:26:00 PM

    on step 4 i got an error
    "temp t drive not formatted"

    and yet i didnt get any pop up option to Y or N format thing

  30. Blogger abdo said,

    Monday, November 23, 2009 3:58:00 AM

    thank uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu thousands time ms Wahyudiharto .. u have no idea how u helped me ...

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    Tuesday, April 06, 2010 12:30:00 AM

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  32. Blogger LokIT said,

    Thursday, October 21, 2010 6:28:00 PM

    I am very impress on your information , Its a really very impressive blog. I really got some another very nice information , so thanks for sharing these tips,usb protection.

  33. Blogger rax said,

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010 6:50:00 PM

    hi,it is very informative.thanx.usb boot drive

  34. Blogger Zack said,

    Monday, November 22, 2010 9:30:00 PM

    hi all! i just wanted to say thank you for whom ever wrote this step by step guide. i run my own computer business out of my own house, and i have not worked on a netbook ever. so this really helped me! im very computer knowledgeable, so it was easy. but i just had one question. everything works fine and is all loaded and everything works.

    but on system start i get this:
    1)Start Windows XP
    2)USB Repair NOT to Start Windows XP

    is there any way to get rid of the boot choices and directly boot into xp on system start? or is this how it has to stay? i know there is a fancy countdown to choose but i just want to try to get rid of the boot choice all together and get it to boot directly to xp on system start! the only reason why im asking is this is my customers netbook and im trying to make it as professional as possible! but if it was my computer i would say screw it and leave it how it is! but if there is anyone that can give me a hand on this issue it would be greatly appreciated!

    Oh FYI for all that would be tryin to help out. this netbook is an acer aspire one model A0A150 and its xp pro sp3. if someone can help please email me asap at: thanks again for the help and for this guide!

  35. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 1:58:00 AM


    On my experiment, I never face it anymore after the system rebooted twice. If your problem still raised, then have a playing around with boot.ini file.

  36. Blogger Jaroslav said,

    Monday, January 03, 2011 2:56:00 AM

    Hi, I succesfully do everything, but I have problem when I instal XP to USB. I choose disk C: but it instaled into my hdd in pc. What I must do?

  37. Anonymous Anonymous said,

    Monday, January 03, 2011 6:39:00 AM

    First, make sure your Windows partition prepared on C: drive before you start. Use partitioning tools to see it.

  38. Blogger Osama said,

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 2:37:00 AM

    can someone explain me this paragraph???how i enter in boot sector after opening command prompt?

    Okey, formatting process has done. Now, open command prompt & enter bootsect path on c:\xpusb. Execute the following command to updating FAT filesystem bootcode to the UFD (H:\ drive letter on me or depends on yours):

    Bootsect.exe /nt52 h:

  39. Blogger Eko Wahyudiharto said,

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 8:17:00 AM

    Hi Osama,

    To make this bootable USB, you need a Windows copy running-in on PC. Just follow the wizard & current article. The picture describes you clearly.

    Is there anything you missed?

  40. Blogger Osama said,

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 3:59:00 AM

    ok thanks.

  41. Blogger Thomas Anderson said,

    Tuesday, January 20, 2015 12:07:00 PM

    Thanks for informing about Making of Windows XP USB Portable, it's a noce post.
    free download software full version windows. We are providing also updates with

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