How to Install Windows XP: The Complete Guide (How To Series)

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For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. Thread starter Benny26 Start date Feb 8, Benny26 TechSpot Paladin. A Netbook can be a very handy replacement for a laptop sometimes, with their lightness and small size, but the fact that they don't come with a built in optical drive can really hurt when trying to perform certain tasks, like the re-installation of an OS for example. If there's been a big irreversible mistake on your Netbook or maybe you bought it secondhand without an OS installed, you're going to need to fix it Well, before you go running off to the shops to buy an external CD drive that you will probably only need for this one task , you can get the job done all the same using a USB flash drive.

I just recently had to go through this myself, and the guide I was following was very short to the point. I wanted to write a new complete "Noobs" guide for people who might need to do this in the future plus this guide will make things a tad easier if I have to do this again. Also, this guide is for the install of Windows XP only 32bit , if you would like to install an OS like Windows 7 on your Netbook, then look here ; If you would like to install XP 64bit then you may receive errors during this guide's setup process..

Anyways, let's get started.

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A command prompt window will open. It's very important you do not close any windows until I tell you to from this point on. Your USB flash drive will now be formatted and it shouldn't take long. In this new command prompt window, Type the directory where "bootsect. Now type " bootsect. You can find your drive letter by looking in "My computer" TIP: If you're having trouble with command prompt, move the contents of the Bootsect folder including the important "bootsect. This is just the temp drive that's being created.

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Press Y then Enter. Now you will see it copying the files from your XP disc to the temp drive, this will take about 5 minutes to complete. Press Enter again after it's finished to continue. Click yes, this will now complete the copying and it will take roughly 15 minutes to complete the process. Click YES on this window. Now the USB drive is ready!. Exit BIOS with "save settings and exit" when finished. Enter the " Text Mode " here to start the first section of your XP install. Don't press anything when you reach the "Hard drive" section of the install, move to the next step.

So, format your Netbook's primary hard drive as normal Using "NTFS quick" or if you need to create a new partition, do that then format it. Then choose to install on that partition. Note: If you encountered a problem with the above step, try turning your Netbook off straight after the format and choosing "Text" setup again after reboot. When rebooted make no changes to the partition you've just format and carry on with the install.

Things should be ok from here. Let the Installation continue and do the stuff, input your product key and other information when required and then wait for the next restart. The final part will now complete and eventually take you to your XP desktop. Before you start playing around on your new XP, I would recommend restarting your Netbook and entering the BIOS to change the boot priority back to your primary hard drive. After doing that, boot back up to your XP desktop and you're all done! If they are correct, the files on your flash drive might have been corrupted. Plug it back into your backup working computer and take a look at the files, are the file names all scrambled up with funny square symbols and the like?

If so, your flash drive might be corrupt this sometimes can happen through repeated formatting with the windows formatter.

How to install Windows XP on a Netbook using a USB flash drive - TechSpot Forums

If so, your Netbook might not be able to recognize USB's as hard drives, check the manual maybe? Installing from a USB is not the most reliable way of putting Windows on a computer, many times errors like this might occur All you can do here is retry, and retry again till it takes. Place the Netbook on solid ground and don't move it or the USB for that matter and your chances will be better. If it keeps sticking on a particular file, that file itself might be corrupt so take note of the file the error stops on.

If it does happen in the "Saving Settings" section, then you will have to do a complete fresh install right from "Text mode setup". My Netbooks on fire!

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I hope this guide has been helpful. Reactions: pinkfloyd. Thank you first i like to say thank you soo much for your post. You did a great job. But i dont understand something. I did format, windows is copying files and next step after restart was GUI mode twice and its worked.


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It does work without the forced restart in some cases, you are correct. I noticed this some time ago but forgot to update the guide. I'll add a side note to the guide on that now. Thanks sboy. I followed all the steps mentioned. Welcome to Techspot, Victor Doesn't sound good this I'm afraid, although it could be something simple. But if it is not listed in the BIOS properly, there could be a problem with it like not placed in the Netbook correctly or just faulty ect My Netbook had a bad HDD bay in it.

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Sometimes it came out now and then. Installing Windows XP on Netbook hi thank you for your response but Now in Bios the hard drive is properly listed and am able to change booting sequence but during installation process If you are installing Windows XP on a new hard drive, you should see only one entry labeled "Unpartitioned space. Installing Windows XP will erase all of the data on the partition that you choose.

Select a partition that is empty or that contains data that you do not care to lose. Any data on the partition will be lost when it is deleted. Create a new partition.


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By default, the partition will be set to the maximum amount of available space. Unless you plan on creating multiple partitions, you can usually leave this at its default. Windows XP requires at least 1. You can create multiple partitions on a single drive. This can allow you to separate your programs from your movies and music, or to install another operating system. Windows XP can only be installed on one discrete partition.

Select your new partition.

NTFS is the preferred method, supporting a larger amount of disk space per partition than FAT, and including security features at the file system level. NTFS also includes system level compression. There are almost no situations anymore where choosing FAT would be preferable. It is highly recommended to avoid Quick Format, as this skips an important process that checks the hard drive for errors or bad sectors. This scan is what consumes the majority of the time taken when performing a full format. If there are errors on a disk at the physical level, it's best to catch them now rather than later.

Wait for the format to complete. The system will now format the partition. The length of time this process requires depends on the speed and size of the drive. In general, the larger the partition, the longer the process will take. Wait for the Setup files to copy. Windows will now start copying files from the installation disc and prompt you to reboot the computer when the process is completed. Allow the computer to boot normally. You will see the message asking you to press a key to boot from CD. Ignore it and allow the computer to continue booting from the hard drive.

You will see the Windows logo as the Setup program loads. Wait for the installation to proceed. After the Windows logo goes away, you will see a list of steps remaining on the left side of the screen, and tips for using windows on the right. The time remaining for the installation will be displayed below the list of steps remaining. It is normal for the screen to flicker, turn on and off, or resize during this process. Choose your language and region settings.

During the installation process a dialog window will appear, asking you to choose your Regional settings. Select appropriate settings native to your area.

Click the Next button when that is completed. Enter your full name if you want. Enter your Product Key. You will not be able to complete the installation process without a valid Product Key. Click "Next" to continue. Some versions of Windows will not ask for the Product Key until installation is complete.

This will be the name that represents the computer on a network.