View Full Version : installing XP on a desktop or laptop with no diskette or cdrom drive.

01-11-2009, 07:36 PM
Hi all,

Have you ever tried to install XP on a laptop or desktop that did not have a cdrom drive? Well you can't!;) at least not from that unit unless you can attach and install from a usb cd/dvd drive.

I was servicing a LifeBook laptop that does not come with a cdrom drive and neither would the bios recognize a usb drive. I searched the web and found a great procedure for overcoming that problem. I currently trying to find a similar method for installing Windows 2000 and Vista. If any of you know if the command outlined below will work on 2000 and vista or if there is a similar command, let me know.

Anyway I changed the wording on the procedure a little to make it a little more clear.

To install XP on cd-less/diskette-less desktop or laptop.

You have a laptop or desktop that lacks diskette and cdrom drives. You want to install windows XP on it, but can't without either a diskette or cdrom drive attached to it. Here's what to do:

1) install the hard drive as a slave in a working desktop system with a cd/dvd drive. Attach it to an available ide channel. If the hard drive comes from a laptop, you'll need a 44-pin female to 40-pin male laptop to ide adapter.

2) Format the drive. Quick or full NTSF format.

3) insert your windows XP install cd in the cd/dvd drive. When the initial install window pops up, exit.

4) Go to "My Computer" and look up and write down the drive letters of the CD/DVD containing the XP install disc and the drive letter of the hard drive you are installing to.

5) Assuming the hard destination drive is "D" and the XP install disc is in "E:", go to the run command and type (or cut and paste) the following line:

E:\I386\winnt32.exe /syspart: D: /tempdrive: D: /makelocalsource /noreboot (remove the space between ": D", without the space it's the code for the Big Grin smiley)

6) setup will begin and ask you if you want to upgrade or full install, make sure it is FULL INSTALL. It will then ask you for a few more things including the product key. Enter the product key.

7) When it's done installing all of the required files to the destination drive, the command window will exit and your back to your desktop. Turn off your Desktop and remove the slave/destination hard drive. The drive is now ready for install on the new system. Install the drive back into the laptop or desktop you wanted to install XP on and boot. It will simply continue to install windows from this point without requiring any diskette or cd/dvd drive.

Since the destination laptop or desktop does not have a diskette drive, you will not be able to add third party drivers via F6. Also, I don't know if a slipped streamed install disc will work. But it does work off an oem disc.

hope this helps.

01-11-2009, 07:40 PM
Nice, thanks.

01-11-2009, 07:45 PM
I just plug an external USB CD/DVD drive into the machine and then boot to it. You can install XP or Vista this way! Much easier!

If it will not take a USB drive, I just clone an Acronis or Ghost image with no drivers installed to the HDD. 10 Minutes later you have a loaded OS and install your drivers!

01-11-2009, 07:56 PM

First, thanks for your service to our country!

As i stated, this laptop's bios does not recognize a usb cd drive. In fact, this LifeBook laptop requires a special PMCIA card and cd drive. I was not about to spend the money for all that just to install XP.

In any case, this is a procedure for when you have no other option or it's more practical to remove the drive and attach it to another system for installation.

It's also a practical way to offer a pre-loaded system on a drive that can be installed on any hardware configuration. It basically offers the same option that you provide by using Acronis without having to spend the time and effort uninstalling drivers and it's a clean install as well. Once installed, you can also change the product key if necessary.

Nathan H
01-11-2009, 10:51 PM
i may be being a bit thick here but couldn't you simply boot it from a network?

01-12-2009, 01:01 AM
you could if it supported network booting, but that's not always an option either. This way, at least, will get Windows onto a machine that is not bootable by other means.

01-12-2009, 03:34 AM
seedubya is correct. In this case the manufacture of the LifeBook made sure you had to buy extra hardware to re-install the system if the image on the recovery partition was not viable.

However, i have never tried a network install before. Can you provide a link or some info so i may try it and see how it works on my test machine?

01-12-2009, 03:20 PM
Any machine that lacks a removable storage drive, ie CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, you can usualy use an external, USB Based, drive or a network instal. I have not used either method myself the closest I have come was needing an external floppy for RAID driver install, which did not work so I opened the case dug out a floppy drive and plugged it in.

01-12-2009, 03:56 PM
If you don't have the original external drive for a Dell L400 or some Sony models, you need to reinstall Windows this way too, it won't boot from regular USB drives.

01-13-2009, 02:26 PM
If you don't have the original external drive for a Dell L400 or some Sony models, you need to reinstall Windows this way too, it won't boot from regular USB drives.

No mine was a custom rig and I just didn't want to spend too much time working on that aspect it was like the PC would boot and recognize it but while Windows was loading it decided to ignore the drive.

04-05-2009, 10:51 PM

i have an old Dell C640 thats quite old but still packing a P4 1.9 (old school) i recon it runs better then most of that power these days. i put the extra battery in so the cd was take out, i have had access to 3 of these and we all had lost the bloody cd drives, and you guessed it , no usb boot, (yer i checked the bios!).

i have tried everyhthing, ok i got it to boot and install but on a fat and i wasnt up or that considering its used as a diagnostic and network security jobbie for my work i do. anyway

just starting the install now, on ntfs thanks to your instructions, as far as i am concerning they have worked great!

thanks so much!

signed up to says thats and normally i cant be assed!:D

04-06-2009, 12:06 AM
This is how I did it with my p3 1.1ghz laptop with no CD or no USB booting ability.

1. Items needed. adapter to ide, I386 folder, win98 floppy, ghost or other imaging app
2. Connect laptop HD to PC using adapter.
3 Boot into PC using Floppy
4. Fdsik and create a 10gig partition (this can get bigger or smaller but will explain later)
5. Format partition
6. Copy content of floppy to partition and edit autoexec.bat and config to reflect c:\ instead of a:\
7. Copy I386 folder to partition either with floppy with you have the drivers or slave the HD.
8 Connect HD to laptop and boot into it. It should be DOS
9. Navigat to I386 folder and run --> Winnt32.exe
10 If drivers are needed then you may have to create an unattended answer file
11.After install HD will but dual boot. Changge boot INI to hide the dos (until its neede)
12.Image your new installation and place in the DOS partition in a folder called Image (or a name you like)
13.Place your imaging app which should be work via command line/dos. Ghost works great
13.If you ever need to reimage boot into DOS partition launch your imaging ap and re-image.

Hopefully I did not leave any steps out. If any of you need a copy of my config.sys and autoexec.bat let me know
I think this would work best since you can create a partition "BEFORE" windows is installed. After you install windows since the laptop has not CD support it will he a pain.