non boot xp install

By desdgl ยท 8 replies
Sep 16, 2003
  1. Non-Boot Clean XP Install

    I have a laptop with only a cd or floppy drive that i have to switch,and the cd drive is not bootable, how can format my hard drive and install a clean xp or 2k setup?

    UPDATE: My BIOS settigns are set to:
    1. internal hd
    2. floppy
    3. none
    These settings are locked and i cant change themis there a floppy i can use to install setup.exe to my hard drive, and then resrart my pc and put in the cd-rom drive and run setup that will then install from the xp cd?
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You can format the HD, make it DOS bootable, then boot from HD to DOS, run XP setup.
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    format /s is the switch to make your drive bootable under DOS.

    You also have the possibility of using the 4-disk floppy set to boot XP. You can find that set for download at microsoft's website.
  4. Technozoic

    Technozoic TS Rookie

    "...and the cd drive is not bootable..."
    During the POST you have an opportunity to enter the BIOS setup. It varies depending on vendor of mobo exactly how to enter the BIOS, but typically it will show up during the POST. Probably DEL, or F1,F2 or Esc. Whatever...
    Once you get into the BIOS, you should be able to use your arrows/tabs to navigate through the pages. ESC will usually exit from whatever subsheet to its parent sheet.
    Go to the BOOT section and ensure that the CDROM is listed as a boot device. Usually listed after floppy and hard drives as the third boot device. It may very well not be set because of you having to switch between the two. Once you change it so CD is a boot device, you still have to save the changes before you exit BIOS. You'll see that as an option under EXIT. (Save Changes and EXIT)
    Unless you have a clean formatted hard drive that is missing some essential commands, the cpu should recognize the CD as a boot device with the XP CD running in it at boot up and the setup should commence without any further interaction on your part until it prompts you for some configuration guidelines. One of the questions it will ask is if you want to format the hard drive ... and with what file system. (Go with NFTS unless you plan to dual boot your laptop with a non Windows system prior to Win2k.)
    Good Luck!
    PS: Once you get the system loaded from your CD, if you're not planning on keeping the CD installed, you should disable the CD as a boot device in the BIOS to keep your system from looking for it during bootup, ... just to save time if nothing else. (Same could be said about the floppy,... it's up to you.)
  5. alphnumeric

    alphnumeric TS Rookie Posts: 173

    If you can't boot from your cd, bios or otherwise, you could try the dos boot from your hard drive. It is a little more involved than just "sys c:" That will make your hard drive bootable, but you won't have any cd-rom support unless you load the dos drivers for it. I would go to and download a win 98se bootdisk. After you sys your c:\ drive copy all the files from the floppy to the root directory of your hard-drive. Now swap in the cd-rom and reboot. Select with cd-rom support and hope it works. I think you will find that setup won't run from DOS, but if you go to the i386 folder on the cd you can run winnt.exe from dos. I would pick the format this drive option so you can erase all the dos files. One more thing, the 98se bootdisk installs a small ramdrive so your cd-rom may end up as E: instead of D:.
  6. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Not sure about that. :confused:

    As far as I am aware, you need a windows environment to run setup for winxp. That's why the boot floppies are 6 disks.

    You can get the boot floppies over here ...
  7. alphnumeric

    alphnumeric TS Rookie Posts: 173

    You are correct, setup.exe won't run from DOS.
    You can however run winnt.exe from the i386 folder and the install will work.
  8. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    I think I'll maybe give that a go sometime. If it works then that's a pretty good tip. :)
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    It does work, I ran Whistler betas and sometimes where I got them from were just dirs not a bin or iso of it so I'd boot up with a 98 floppy and then go to i386 to install.
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