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How to install and boot Windows on an external (USB) hard drive

By nobardin · 82 replies
Nov 20, 2008
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  1. klokluider

    klokluider TS Rookie Posts: 18

    Today i installed XP on my mentioned dell gx260 via usb. I used a dane elec 4GB flash drive.

    I finally overcome the 0x0000007B BSOD with help of the kicker.iso which is used in UBUSB. With this application I was able to come in a win environment and activate winnt32.exe.

    1. First create your bartpe files using UBCD4WIN
    2. after you have done that create your usb flashdrive using UBUSB
    point to the files of your bartpe
    be sure you check create cd image and let de default Z in place
    check if you have selected the right drive
    press go

    after finished you have a bootable usb drive which is able to get in a xp environment.

    3. Now copy the content of your win XP CD to a folder XPCD on the flash drive (x:\xpcd)
    4. after copying boot the drive in the PC and select Compatibility Mode (Memory Mapped)
    5. after finished you select the commandline and type

    X:\XPCD\i386\Winnt32.exe /syspart:C: /tempdrive:C: /makelocalsource

    6. first enter the xpkey and name of the computer and region then click next
    7. Now you're asked if you want to upgrade to the XP NTFS filesysten, select "NO" for this then hit Next.
    8. It'll now see "Copying installation files" and the familiar green progress bar. Shortly after "Copying Installation Files" is complete, setup will close without notice or any type of prompt, this is normal.
    9. remove the flash drive and Reboot your computer and setup will continue from the hard drive where you can choose to install XP or do a repair install if XP is already installed.

    Many thanks to pcuser

  2. TheShadow

    TheShadow TS Rookie

    I cant seem to find the second [files] section in DOSNET file. Please help.
  3. cdromce

    cdromce TS Rookie

    nice guide thanks
  4. ZANZA

    ZANZA TS Rookie

    Wont boot off modified cd

    hey guys,

    I've resently needed a external hdd with a windows OS pref win7 but that needs a VM so I've gone for winXP . I've made an ISO of the winXP cd, modified the I386 files (usbboot.inf, usbstor.in_ etc) copied them to a dvd and a cd and rebooted the computer. I disconected the original hdd told it to boot from cd and it wont boot from either cd or dvd :( it says booting from cd/dvd: then it does nothing. left it for a few ours and it still hasn't changed.

    I've tried putting the original winXP cd in and it booted straight away. so the computer definatly does boot with cds. I've tried other computers and it still wont boot off the cd. however when in windows and I double click on the cd icon it asks me if I want to install windowsXP and I don't particularly want to do it that way cause I don't want it to install on the original hdd (accidently)

    if anyone knows whats wrong with the modified cd it'd be great if you could tell me

    thanks in advance!

  5. yanasena

    yanasena TS Rookie

    hello thanks for the guide i really want to have windows Xp ( BOOTABLE ) from External HD 40g
    untill now i burned 6 cds and none worked my pc support usb booting and i disable the local HD ... windows setup detect the USB but it says cannot access it how to fix it ...
    can someone just upload a Ready to use ISO .... i tried to download all the above attached files and tried them sadly none worked so i really hope someone can just upload a ready to use ISO

    thanks please i really need this ,,
  6. yanasena

    yanasena TS Rookie

    i get this message :
    Your Computer startup program cannot gain access to disk containing the partition or free space you choose . setup cannot install windows XP on this hard disk

    this lack of access does not necessarily indicate an error condition.........................

    can someone help me :D
  7. ultragrey

    ultragrey TS Rookie Posts: 52

    I tried to follow the thread but got lost with all technical words.
  8. inmartie

    inmartie TS Rookie

    Thank's for solution
  9. Vodka

    Vodka TS Rookie

    I was able to put a fully-functional install on a 4GB USB flash, however it'll only boot with the install CD in the drive. I'll get the dreaded 0x0000007B without it. (Which defeats the purpose.) Is there a solution that doesn't involve BartPE? I want a full install, not a livecd-like deal. Thanks in advance!

    Edit: I've followed the entire directions again (along with the USBBOOT.INF fix) and I made another ISO. If this doesn't work as it is, I'm going to put a boot disk on the USB and that should work. Thanks for the guide... I can pretty much say it works.
  10. jmohit

    jmohit TS Rookie

    line 0 of usbboot.inf is corrupted setup canot continue

    Hi All

    I followed all the steps to install windows xp on usb

    And i did everything but wen i install windows on usb this massage is came

    ( line 0 of usbboot.inf is corrupted setup canot continue.)

    Please Help
    urgently m keen to know the solution........
  11. dwb

    dwb TS Rookie

    cant download cab sdk

    can you help me get the cabsdk download. thanks dwb.
  12. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat TS Rookie

    Read through the guide and I think I understand the general principles - some configuration files and registry hive entries need to be changed on the install CD so that XP will treat USB HDDs correctly at boot time.

    I found this thread after hitting the problem trying to install XP Home SP3.
    I am working on an EEE PC 900 with a USB external CD/DVD drive and an external 40Gb USB HDD.

    Now although the install stopped part way, after failing to reboot to complete the install, I do have an external NTFS drive with a Windows directory (and presumably a registry somewhere).

    Is there any way I can apply the edits to this file system - i.e. modify the configuration files and the registry at the half way point of the install instead of having to go through the process of extracting the ISO, editing the files, then generating another bootable ISO?

    This might be a more straightforward way of doing a two part install (although the original method does leave you with a CD image which can be used multiple times).



    P.S. Two things
    (1) How come they set the XP install CD up so it would work on an exsternal USB CD drive but didn't do the same for the HDDs?
    (2) By the time they got to SP3 there must have been plenty of external USB HDDs around - why didn't they fix the problem then?
  13. BlackTooth900

    BlackTooth900 TS Rookie

    you obviously opened a wrong one, your disk may be a slip-streamed pirated version, wherein you could also find an install key, if that is the case, you opened the wrong TXTSETUP.sif..... read the instructions again...

    obviously someone got it all wrong or someone wasn't paying attention..... are those guys stealthmode & klokluider?

    This guide is for installing windows on to the usb, not making a usb installer, to clarify, this guide is for installing the OS on the usb, not turning USB into an installer. if you would like to do that, it's very easy and you don't even need any code at all, try to check these tools, download all of em if you want, one or two of them can even make your usb a multiboot installer... and by the, Linux is also a great OS, to bad someone overjudge by I guess the look or maybe for some other reason (knowledge???) www*linuxquestions*org is the place to go for that knowledge buddy..... hehehe.... hate to offend anyone but I just so hate it when people don't pay attention to detail.... just made this account to let you guys know about this, and I hope, one way or another, it would help. :mad: :darth: :cool: :haha: :evil: :D
  14. m4D

    m4D TS Rookie

    black screen, no logo

    hi. first of all, thanks for the tutorial.

    i have some questions:
    1) is it possible to make boot process verbose? i'm getting a black screen (and have to reset) after first stage (blue & dos-like) of installation completes ok. even if i press F8 and select 'eneble boot log' - still nothing comes out. p.s.: i've triple-checked all of the edited files & the hdd power led doesn't turn off - so, the usb isn't resetted. any ideas?
    2) i'm using xp_sp2 original image. after it's done, i'm suggesting installing sp3, so, i guess, i'd have to fix sp3 contents in the same way, as we did with these files? (i.e., if sp3 messes with usb somehow and therefore contains such files at all)
    3) my mobo doesn't have usb3, so i'm running usb3 hdd in back-compat mode with usb2 controller. if i'll place in a pcie-usb3-controller and plug my hdd there, i'd have to add this controller's drivers to xp_sp2 image in similar way we did?

    thanks in advance,
  15. RobCrezz

    RobCrezz TS Rookie

    Tried this quite a few times and every time I get Missing or Corrupt TXTSETUP.SIF

    Tried it with 3 different versions of Windows XP Pro (orig, SP2 and SP3). What am I doing wrong?

  16. Chuck B

    Chuck B TS Rookie

    The Cabinet utility you mentioned is no longer available. Now what?
  17. Get it here: http://www.pixelsplasher.com/_downloads/software/Microsoft-Cabinet-SDK/

    To everyone else: Since OP's last post (and last activity on forum!) was nearly 2 1/2 years ago, I don't think we're going to get a suitable reply, unless someone else is willing to take this ball and bounce it.
  18. valisorin

    valisorin TS Rookie

    i followed all steps to make the win cd.
    i had installed the windows but at first start windows gave me the blue screen. i uploaded the picture with error.
    where i made the mistake ?
    please help, thank you

    Attached Files:

  19. noobnightmare

    noobnightmare TS Rookie

    hi valisorin, you must set AHCI to disable in the boot menu(before windows starts)

    sorry for the vague answer, I had this problem myself.
  20. noobnightmare

    noobnightmare TS Rookie

    okay I'm having a problem, the cd just does not boot! double checked every file, tried inserting one file at a time to localise the problem, and came to the conclusion that with any modifications windows refuses to boot! I would appreciate help, but before you ask, I don't get any error messages at all, the computer simply does not boot on the cd(black screen). im using xp sp3, any reasons that does not work? also
    I don't have a second [files] section :(
  21. CentuProgram

    CentuProgram TS Rookie

    Ok, I do all the steps
    1. First Time I get an error: Fixed -> blank lines between hex value in FIRSTS lines of USBBOOT.INF
    HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR","DisplayName",0x000000 00,"USB Mass Storage Driver"
    HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR","ErrorControl",0x00010 001,1

    HKLM,"SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR","DisplayName",0x00000000,"USB Mass Storage Driver"

    2. Second Time first restart correct, second load and continue install (NTFS PennDrive) correct...takes much time because the disk are an updated 2012 version but finally restart

    3 third run load menu, but when start to load it restart and restart, it seems that don´t load something
    I will try changing with server 2003 boot files.
    Now the system are installed, it takes a little to run.... I press failsafe run and I see that load some drivers but suddenly restart
  22. Die Six Die!

    Die Six Die! TS Rookie

    Thanks for this procedure. Used it to rehabilitate my Dad's HP laptop, which has a blown SATA controller. I transferred the HD from the laptop to a sidecar. Following the procedure was relatively easy, waiting for the now SLOOOOOW USB drive to install Windows was a test of my patience. The lack of a virtual memory allocation hasn't been a problem, so far.
  23. vickysami

    vickysami TS Rookie


    I followed all the steps, but getting TXTSETUP missing or corrupt error. Status 14. How do I solve this ??
  24. ANTIjailbreak

    ANTIjailbreak TS Rookie Posts: 18

    I only realised this was possable when I saw a pc and tech authority article about it. this is a lot more easy on linux for those who have trouble with this. for linux one way is to use the unetbootin software. it has instrutions on the website. this is a great article by the way.
  25. manikyamkk

    manikyamkk TS Rookie

    My system is working fine with pen drive as boot. But the moment I am disconnecting cd/dvd (IDE-installed os from here) drive BSOD 7 is appearing, after reconnection system working normally. Can you pl help.

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