Install Windows XP without booting to CD

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Sometimes it isn't possible to install Windows XP from the CD. But with the assistance of Windows 98 you can load Windows XP quite easily.

Follow these steps:

  1. Create a boot floppy on a Windows 98 machine.
  2. Boot your new machine with the boot floppy using the "boot with CDROM support" option.
  3. Place the Windows 98 CD into the CDROM and at the c: prompt navigate to the Windows 98 directory on the CD.
  4. Start smartdrv.exe and copy the xcopy.exe command to the c:root. (If you can't find it you can easily download a copy from the Web.)
  5. Put the XP CD in and xcopy the installation folder (I386) to the C: drive.
  6. Switch to the copied folder and type winnt.exe (the XP installation command).
  7. Windows XP will now install itself.

A further benefit to this process is that future software or hardware installation will not require you to use the XP CD. It will automatically go to the installation folder to find the information it needs to install.

This was first published in March 2004

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