how to copy system files

By alextheconfused
Jul 4, 2007
  1. hello,

    how can i copy system files to a external 2.5 ide hd from my pc which is linked up in vista. my aim is to take the external 2.5 ide out of its external enclosure and put it in a laptop so it will then boot xp. any advice would be greatly appreciated. hopefully this thread makes sense :S


    ?anyone? any info will help!
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You cannot install Windows XP on a USB hard drive.
    Also, installing XP using your PC would mean that the XP will be installed with drivers for your PC and it will happily BSOD when you put it in another computer with different hardware.
  3. alextheconfused

    alextheconfused TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks for the reply.
    i am going to copy the install files from my pc to the 2.5 ide external hard drive then take it out of the enclosure and put it back into the laptop so it iwll boot and install windows hopefully. will this work?
  4. sledgus

    sledgus TS Rookie Posts: 115

    From what I gather, this is what you want to do (tell me if i'm wrong)

    You want to install/copy windows XP to an external HDD, take the hard drive out of the enclosure, and then put it in a laptop and boot windows from that hard drive?

    If that's what your trying to do, it won't work
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Well, it would work if you made the laptop drive dos bootable so that it boots into DOS. You can run the XP installer from DOS no problem.

    As for how to partition, format and install the boot files to the lappy drive.. Have fun doing some research :)

    At last resort, connect the laptop drive directly inside your PC instead of an enclosure.
  6. alextheconfused

    alextheconfused TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks for your comments people!
    nodsu i have already partitioned the drive and formated using linux :) so i have got that far so far. now i just need to figure out how to copy the boot files across to the drive. i have heard some where that you can use a command in control prompt but it is not reconising the SYS command do you know what might be going on ?

  7. sledgus

    sledgus TS Rookie Posts: 115

    Tell me more about what you said... How do you make a HDD bootable in DOS?

    How do you run the XP install from DOS?
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    To make a hard drive DOS-bootable, you mark the first partition to be active, then format that partition with the /s flag or use the "sys" command to make it bootable. This assumes that you have already booted to DOS and that the hard drive is recognised (good luck achieving that in DOS).

    There is a command line HP USB stick utility that can make USB drives DOS-bootable for you in Windows too.

    You run XP install in DOS, by running the i386\winnt.exe program
  9. alextheconfused

    alextheconfused TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks for the help i will see how i get on and will write back with my results ! :)
  10. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    you can CLONE your drive provided your BIOS allows you to boot off of an external device.
    GHOST and ACRONIS are good cloning programs. I have had much success with the latter.
  11. alextheconfused

    alextheconfused TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks tedster ill try that :)
  12. sledgus

    sledgus TS Rookie Posts: 115

    So you can copy an entire physical hard drive (internal) to an external (USB) and boot from the External (USB) just like normal??
  13. Char_X

    Char_X TS Rookie Posts: 170

    Acronis True Image will help you to clone your disc.
    for more information go here:
  14. Chippy088

    Chippy088 TS Rookie

    I am trying to format a flash stick as bootable to cure a laptop which is refusing to boot xp as it can't find the sys folder, my inexperienced nephew decided that the insufficient virtual swap file warning message could be cured by deleting lots of folders he thought weren't needed.
    I do not want to reformat the laptop hd, so I am desperately try other ways of booting the Laptop. I can format the stick but no xp format util will copy the sys information to make it bootable.
    Any words of wisdom out there?
  15. gguerra

    gguerra TS Maniac Posts: 317

    This maybe a dumb question but if you cant boot off of the flash drive, you should be able to boot off of a CD, right?? Have you tried to boot an XP CD and then do a repair?
  16. Chippy088

    Chippy088 TS Rookie

    I tried that with an older XP pro Disk I have, but it would not repair it as my disk is not the one used on the original install. (Shop bought, you know the drill i'm sure.) Am I flogging a dead horse here?
  17. gguerra

    gguerra TS Maniac Posts: 317

    It's a myth that it has to be the same disk as the original install. There are other reasons it might not have worked for you.. All XP disks are created equal. The only difference would be XP home, Pro etc. The CD-Key (license) is what makes them different, but you didn't even get that far. Is your laptop capable of booting off of the USB Flash Drive? If so it is possible to make it bootable like you would a floppy.. If not than you can boot of a MSDOS boot CD, use a utlility like "NTFS Reader for DOS" and retrieve you important files. Remember, can install XP over itself or in a different folder WITHOUT re-formatting.. You should also have or can get restore CD's for you laptop. There are many options you can take.. I mean have you tried to google for mor info. most people will forget the obvious. Heres a google search
  18. Chippy088

    Chippy088 TS Rookie

    Thanks to all who have posted replies to my query. Anyway problem no longer current due to purchase of laptop, (old one developed a drive IDE fault.)
    Hope people didn't think I was being ignorant, been unable to reply because of illness.
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