Hello, I have a query and I need to ask you for your advice and help. I have a netbook and I want to install Windows XP on it without a CD as it does not have a CD / DVD ROM drive or a floppy drive.  Since I don’t have the option on my netbook, is it possible to do this? Is there any way I could install Windows XP without an optical drive, because I also do not have the budget to buy an external drive either? However, I have a 4GB Kingston Data Traveler pen drive and I had read a few articles about booting Windows XP from a USB flash drive and installing the operating system on a laptop or PC. Am I right, and is it possible? Please help me out as I am presently using Windows 7 beta version and it restarts automatically every hour. I need to remove Windows 7 that came with the netbook and install Windows XP. I am very comfortable using Windows XP and don’t want to use Windows 7. It also seems to be running slow on my netbook. Please help.


Hello Hassan. Yes, there are numerous articles where Windows XP, Vista or 7 can be installed on a PC or laptop with a regular USB pen drive. All you need is some simple software utilities that can automate the process for you. Download the utility called ‘WinToFlash’ from ‘www.wintoflash.com’; it will help you do the needful with minimal effort. Download it and run the executable (no installation needed).

Note: You need to folllow the procedure and make the bootable USB pen drive on a machine that has Windows installed on it and has a CD ROM or DVD ROM drive present. So you can request a neighbour or friend to allow you to use their computer for a while to complete this procedure. It should take you around half an hour to complete. You will also need the original Windows XP operating system setup CD.

It offers a simple set up for users with OS' on thumb drives

It offers a simple setup for users with OSes on thumb drives

To begin with, select the path of the optical drive (or the folder) that contains the installation files for Windows XP and then select the USB pen drive that would be used for the installation of the Windows XP operating system files. Let the utility complete the procedure and your pen drive will be ready for action. Also, note that the pen drive will be formatted completely. So if you have any data on it, I would advise you to back up the drive’s data before running the utility. Once the pen drive is ready, insert it in the USB drive of your netbook or laptop and switch it on.

You will need to enter the BIOS setup program of the netbook to set the booting sequence to the USB pen drive as the first boot-up drive. Press the respective key highlighted on your screen for entering the BIOS setup. It should usually be either the F2, F10 or the DEL keys unless specified by the manufacturer. Read your netbook’s user manual for more details. Once done, save and exit from the BIOS and your system should restart. The system will then boot from the USB pen drive and the regular installation screen of Windows XP will show up.

Follow the instructions on the screen and install your operating system the usual way you would install Windows XP. The procedure is similar for Windows Vista and Windows 7 too. The capacity for the pen drive should be at least 1GB in case of Windows XP and 4GB in case of Windows Vista or Windows 7. You can also make use of older 1GB or 4GB pen drives and keep them spare in case you need to reinstall the operating system again or on another PC or laptop.

You can also install Windows 8 with a similar proceedure. Microsoft's tool “Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool” will help you create a USB pen drive from where you can install Windows 7 and Windows 8 from a USB pen drive. Click on this link to download the utility. 

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