How to Install Windows XP From USB

By Mario McDaniel

With the rush toward minimalist designs in the computer world, many new computers, especially laptops, have done without a built in CD-ROM drive. This often makes the installation of software, operating systems above all, much more difficult. It is, however, possible to install an operating system, such as Windows XP, through a USB flash drive.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with a CD ROMWindows XP installation CDWindows XP license keyA USB Flash Drive with at least 1GB of storage space

Installing Windows XP through USB

Step 1

Place all the installation files onto a USB flash drive. To do so, simply insert your Windows XP installation disk into another computer with a CD-ROM drive. Turn off the installation wizard that will pop up when you insert the disc and instead go to "My Computer" from the Desktop or the Start menu. Once there, right click the CD drive icon and select the option that says "Open." You will now see all the files on the CD. Simply hold the "CTRL" button on your keyboard and press the "A" button to select all the folders and files on the CD. Then right-click the selection and choose "Copy." You may now minimize the CD Drive window. Next, insert your empty flash drive into your computer and access it through "My Computer" if it does not automatically pop up. Now simply right click on the drive and click paste. All the files from the CD-ROM will be copied to your flash drive within a few minutes.

Step 2

Setup your laptop without a CD-ROM to boot up from a flash drive. To do so, consult your user manual to see how to enter the BIOS setup on your particular laptop. In most computers this can be achieved by pressing one of the function keys (F8, F10 or F12 usually) or the "Delete" key as soon as you boot up the computer. Oftentimes, the computer will actually prompt you to press a certain key on the bottom of the screen. Once you enter BIOS, scroll with your arrow keys to find a menu for "Boot Order." Once you find this menu, select it and change the Boot Order to have USB as the first option. Save your work and exit the BIOS by following on screen directions.

Step 3

Restart the computer with the USB flash drive inserted in the computer. The laptop will begin to load the Windows XP setup files from the flash drive. Follow the onscreen instructions to install Windows XP.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Windows XP installation will delete the files that you have on your laptop. Make sure to back-up any important data before proceeding.