How to Create a Bootable USB for Windows XP

Having a bootable CD or USB drive allows you to start the computer directly from the device rather than loading the complete operating system (OS). This comes in handy if you ever get a debilitating virus that makes the OS inoperable or sends the system through a constant loop of restarts. UltimateBootCD.com provides a free, cross-platform bootable image file in the ISO (.iso) image file format that you can then copy to a USB drive. Booting from the USB drive, you can run diagnostic tests and anti-virus scans on the computer's hard drive without worry about the virus affecting the device.

Close up of usb flash drive, close-up
credit: Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Step

Download the latest boot image from UltimateBootCD.com. The file is downloaded in the ISO format and can be mounted to a USB flash drive.

Step

Download and install the WinToFlash utility from WinToFlash.com. This free application easily copies the downloaded bootable image file (.iso) to the USB drive.

Step

Insert the USB flash drive into an open USB port on your computer.

Step

Open the WinToFlash application.

Step

Select the "Basic Parameters" tab. Set the USB Drive Type to "Flash Stick." Set the File System to "Fat32," and set the Format to "USB-HDD."

Step

Select "Windows Source Path" and select the downloaded boot image (ISO).

Step

Select "USB Drive" and select the inserted USB drive.

Step

Click "Run" to begin the process. After the process is complete, the USB drive will be capable of booting your Windows system.