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Operating System Install via USB....?

    Question

  • I have a relatively small problem... I need to install an operating system onto a laptop, which regretably no longer supports the CD drive.  It still has access to the USB ports, and I can get the computer to recognise it.  I even, at one point, managed to get a copy of MS-Dos to boot via the USB, but without a CD drive, I was unable to install windows onto the Hard Drive.

    I have a USB shell for the hard drive, so if there is a way to install Windows XP Pro (or home) though the hard drive shell, or with the 2 gig usb geek stick, then that might be the best option. 

    Anyone have a suggestion as to the best way to accomplish this?  (Also, the reason why I cannot use a CD drive, the internal port is damaged.  And the computer will only recognise the USB port it's booting from if I boot via USB.  Suggestions (I assure you) will be greatly appreciated!

    Sincerely,
    David/Harrin
    Friday, July 11, 2008 8:47 PM

Answers

All replies

  • So long as the laptop in question supports booting from USB (from the sounds of it, it does), then get a USB optical drive, and use that to do the install.  Just make sure that you set the boot order appropriately, and it should work just fine.

    Saturday, July 12, 2008 3:09 PM
  • My apologies on not being more specific on the topic post... My goal is to use a USB flash drive to install WinXP Home onto this computer.  Unfortunately, The only optic drives I could find available at my local Best Buy, and Wal-Mart were too advanced, and the Bios failed to recognize them.

    I have a moderately good desktop computer, and a laptop, though this one is by far better than my current, and assumed that I could either use those as a 'backbone' for installing windows on the computer's hard drive, then move the hard drive over to the laptop to finalize the process, but that will not work due to windows selecting drivers for the motherboard, etc during initial install process.  Though, that trick might work with an identical laptop.

    I have found numerous documents online about being able to install WinXP Home onto a 2G USB flash drive, however have not been able to replicate the same results.  If that is not possible, I will resort to buying a USB optic drive for the laptop, but would like to see if this method is possible.  In adition to being a good recovery device, it would allow me to skip making a second partition in case I had problems with windows.

    While I hope I am not appearing to be picky, I have already spent money on a copy of WinXP Home, and a USB DVD drive, as well as a few other things.  I would like to keep the tab from increasing, if possible, though if a optic drive is my only option, then your advice is appreciated none the less.

    Sincerely,
    David/Harrin
    Sunday, July 13, 2008 9:54 AM
  • Um, David, USB DVD drive = USB optical drive.  Smile

    I'm stil a little fuzzy on something here:  were/are you trying to install Windows to
    the USB key, or were you trying to use the USB key to install Windows to the laptop's hard drive?  The former is very much not recommended (the flash drive will die in very short order from all the write activity); the latter should be doable, provided that the complete contents of the Windows install disc are copied to the key, the key is made bootable (HP has a utility that works on most USB flash drives, docs/tutorials can be found here.)

    What's the make & model of the laptop?

    Sunday, July 13, 2008 4:29 PM
  • I am attempting to pretty much make a WinXP Home Install Flashdrive.  I'm not crazy enough to try having the operating system on a flash drive, that would be too much of a headache.  Also, one thing I noticed is that if I manage to get it to boot from a usb device, It fails to see any other usb devices.

    The Flashdrive has already been formatted to allow booting (and boots just fine) but I can't get windows XP setup to run even if I copy the whole thing over to the flash drive, so maybe i'm just missing something.

    Correcting the code for your link...
    Here
    In case someone needs it later on.

    Toshiba Satellite Laptop (P25-S607)
    2 512MB Ram
    60 GB Hard Drive

    Sunday, July 13, 2008 7:05 PM
  • Fixed the link (forgot the closing ] - oops.)

    Did a little sleuthing around the net, and found this thread at msfn, where it looks like someone actually got it to work.
    The other method mentioned in that thread (and, it should work) is to use WinPE or BartPE (installed to the USB key) as the actual boot image, and using that to kickstart WINNT.EXE.

    The one thing that I can't seem to find is if your laptop actually supports booting from USB.  You do have that option in your BIOS, yes?
    If it does, it shouldn't matter if it's a USB key or an optical drive - either should work. 

    The one thing that would keep it (either method) from working is if the installation media doesn't have native driver support for your USB controller.  Using an XP SP2 (or SP3) disc may help here (if you're pre-SP2, try building a SP2 or SP3 install disc with nLite), and see what happens.  You might, though, need to roll your motherboard-chipset (and USB controller, if they're separate) drivers into the installation files, so that Windows can 'see' the USB optical (or flash) drive once it's actually runnning the install.

    Sunday, July 13, 2008 10:37 PM
  • Lost a post, drat.  Okay, here goes for recreating it...

    Okay, I looked at the link, which lead to another, and another.  Don't get me wrong, i read them, but there's so many, it didn't take long for my eyes to start hurting.  It doesn't look like it will be too helpful, but since i've been tinkering with this project for months now, I can cover what I assume should work.  If anyone has better experience with this, let me know!  Smile

    Steps required:
    1) Format the flash drive using HP USB Disk Format Tool.  Be sure to make it a MS-Dos bootdisk.  (or Free-Dos)
    2) Using nLite, Prepare a unattended WinXP Home ISO image.
    3) Copy the main ISO to the flash drive.
    4* Load SHSUCD setup  onto the flash drive...
    5* Setup Autoexec.bat to load the ISO as a CD Drive, using SHSUCD

    The problems I find with step 4 and 5 was I recently found out about SHSUCD, while chasing the links from the first post of yours.  I am not sure how to setup/use this program yet, and if it provides a solution, then I will post the refined process later on.
    However, I also ran into a comment on this site, that points out that Windows XP and systems after that from Microsoft boot in their own enviroment, so that would render this process unuseable, since it relies on MS-Dos.  Maybe I am taking the wrong approach...

    (also, yes, can boot from usb in bios.)
    Monday, July 14, 2008 10:12 AM
  • Found a (supposedly 10 step) process that would accomplish exactly what I am trying to do!!  Haven't tested it yet, reading up on it, and if it works, will let you know.  By the way, if you're interested in following it, check it out here!

    (Edit)
    Well, tried it, and regretably I cannot get it to load on the flash drive.  I am becoming tempted to just install Win98 onto the drive to facilitate with the install, however i'm not sure that will be any more effective.  I am looking into the possibility of mounting an ISO in Win98, and if I find one, I shall give it a spin!

    @Cuppie
    Also, wanted to say I was aware that optic drive is a CD/DVD drive.  It's ironic, they will recognise DVD drives, but not a DVD burner.  That's the biggest problem I am running into, I do not have access to a CD or DVD drive, just burners.  I tried to be sneaky and took my usb HD shell (desktop size HD) and plugged a CD drive into that, but that failed as well.
    Monday, July 14, 2008 10:27 AM
  • One other possibility that you might want to look into is trying a LAN boot to do the install.
    A few links to check out:
    http://www.techsupportforum.com/hardware-support/laptop-support/232984-install-windows-xp-sp2-home-using-network-boot.html
    http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm
    http://www.msfn.org/board/Unattended-Windows-XP-Lan-Boot-Disks-t18349.html

    (about the optic drive thing - didn't mean to insult.  Sorry if it came off that way.)

    HTH,

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008 2:00 AM
  •  cuppie wrote:

    One other possibility that you might want to look into is trying a LAN boot to do the install.
    A few links to check out:
    http://www.techsupportforum.com/hardware-support/laptop-support/232984-install-windows-xp-sp2-home-using-network-boot.html
    http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm
    http://www.msfn.org/board/Unattended-Windows-XP-Lan-Boot-Disks-t18349.html

    (about the optic drive thing - didn't mean to insult.  Sorry if it came off that way.)

    HTH,



    @Cuppie
    Nope, can't offend me that easily, i figured it wasn't ment as an insult.  Besides, I so far don't see anyone else trying to help.  I tend to seperate CD or DVD drives into two catagories now adays, the ones that might work on older computers, and the ones that don't have a a chance.  It's just due to the drivers needed to recognise the device, and the fact that windows support only goes back so far.

    On a 'sneaky' note, I think I found my solution... If I can find a method of mounting an ISO via Win98, I can easily install windows 98 onto a smaller hard drive (5gb) and then mount and install to the larger hard drive WinXP Home.

    *PS:  Just got back from the hospital, so if I ramble or don't make sense, I blame painkillers.  I broke a collarbone, and so it might be a while before I reply to this.  Sorry in advance!

    Sincerely,
    David/Harrin
    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 8:51 PM
  • Hey, Cuppie?  I have an idea that might work, but would require some pretty much in depth information.  I can partition the hard drive into two segments, since it's a 50G, and just install Win98 onto one side, with the iso and drivers needed in question, and then WinXP Home onto the other side... my question ultimately is, how much room would I need for the Win98 side to work?  I can't remember for the life of me how large the OS is, but adding 700+ MB to it wouldn't be too hard.

    Second Question: WinXP requires install via the CD due to installing under it's own system shell setup (which excludes dos), but if i'm right, Win98 can be installed via. Dos... which brings me to my question: Can I just copy the install CD files over to the flash drive to allow for install, or do I have to jump through some hoops to accomplish this?

    I really do appreciate the help you've provided so far.  If it works, i'll post direct steps, and include you in the credits for helping me come up with it.

    Saturday, July 19, 2008 8:29 PM
  • I managed to create a USB Windows XP installer out of my flashdrive.  here's the link!


    Thursday, July 24, 2008 2:10 PM
  •  Harrin wrote:
    I have a relatively small problem... I need to install an operating system onto a laptop, which regretably no longer supports the CD drive.  It still has access to the USB ports, and I can get the computer to recognise it.  I even, at one point, managed to get a copy of MS-Dos to boot via the USB, but without a CD drive, I was unable to install windows onto the Hard Drive.

    I have a USB shell for the hard drive, so if there is a way to install Windows XP Pro (or home) though the hard drive shell, or with the 2 gig usb geek stick, then that might be the best option. 

    Anyone have a suggestion as to the best way to accomplish this?  (Also, the reason why I cannot use a CD drive, the internal port is damaged.  And the computer will only recognise the USB port it's booting from if I boot via USB.  Suggestions (I assure you) will be greatly appreciated!

    Sincerely,
    David/Harrin
    Friday, September 12, 2008 10:49 PM
  •  Harrin wrote:
    I managed to create a USB Windows XP installer out of my flashdrive.  here's the link!


    Saturday, September 13, 2008 2:07 PM
  • Okay.... guessing someone ran into the same problem, right?  Well, might as well point out a few tips for those who dismiss this as 'not useful'.

    Beneifts?
    1) Streamline the install with NLite,
    2) Store favorite application installers in the USB flash drive
    3) Keep important documents, or registery info available.
    4) Process confirmed to work with Windows Vista install.
    5) CD's get scratches that render them useless, Geek sticks get scratches that give them style.

    Downsides?
    1) Geek stick has to be at least 1GB to work, and woln't leave much room if it is 1GB.
    2) Unlabeled identical geek sticks will be annoying

      You will usually want to keep this in relative proximity to the laptop in question it goes to.  For mine, I found out that there is spare space in the vicinity of my battery enclosure.  Additionally, like in my case, there is no CD drive anymore.  Get a travel container for it, and you can store the geek stick safely in that.  Don't forget that even though the instructions found in the link I posted claim a specific processor, it will more than likely work with your processor, so give it a try!
    Monday, September 15, 2008 11:16 PM