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Windows XP: Installing from the Hard Drive

This is an install tech-recipe for Windows XP. It describes how to install Windows XP from the hard drive.

Windows 98SE Boot Diskette w/smartdrv.exe
Windows XP saved to hard drive (You need to have a separate FAT32 partition where XP install files are saved.)

Use the following steps to install Windows XP from the hard drive:

1. First, copy your Windows XP Setup CD contents to your hard drive. I recommend saving the XP install files/folders to a partition separate from where you are going to install XP. (e.g., Have setup files at d:\winxp\, and then install XP to c:\ drive.)

2. Now, boot your PC with the Windows 98 SE boot disk with smartdrv.exe on the floppy (This increases data transfer speed by ten-fold in DOS.). You do not need to boot with CD support since you are installing XP from the files on your hard drive (in my example, D:\winxp\).

3. At the command prompt, format the partition where you are installing XP (e.g., the c:\) by typing: format driveletter:. Replace the drive letter with the drive (e.g., format c:). Then go through the prompts.

4. Once that finishes, change drives to the drive with XP on it.
In my example, D: then Enter.
Then: CD WINXP (change directory to winxp folder) and Enter

Now, enable smartdrv by typing smartdrv and then type it again. The second time you type it and hit Enter, it will show the status of the drives and cacheing.

5. Now, change the directory to the i386 folder by typing cd i386 (In my example, this folder’s full path would be D:\winxp\i386\.).
Then type winnt to start the installation.

Finally, install XP as usual.

Now you are probably asking yourself, “Why would I do this or need to know this?” Well, I re-install my OS quite a bit. I get bored or it gets too cluttered. I just format and re-install. I do not really have to backup my files since I have my “my documents” folder located on a separate partition. [I have two hard drives: hd1: c: (winxp files, program files) d: (pure program files only) hd2 m: (my music, games) j: (my documents folder) r: (ripping folder).]

Jimmy S
Jimmy Shttp://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix
Jimmy Selix is an early adopter that loves to be one of the first on the block to have the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. Another love of his is being able to share his knowledge to others seeking it. Feel free to drop any comments or questions that you may have.


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