How to Make a Win XP Bootable CD

By Tammy Clevenger

Users of Windows XP should create a bootable XP CD for troubleshooting the operating system in case problems arise with the Windows installation. A bootable Windows XP CD will enable the user to boot up the computer if the boot sector has become corrupted or damaged and the machine will not boot up. Creating a bootable CD from an existing installation of Windows XP is not a terribly complicated process.

Things You'll Need

  • Blank CD
  • Easy CD Creator software

Step 1

Create a folder named "XPSetup" at the root directory of the C: drive.

Step 2

Download and unzip the Boot Sector files from the download location provided (see Resources). Copy all files into the new XPSetup directory.

Step 3

Right-click the "Start" button and select "Explorer" to open Windows Explorer. Locate the C:/i386 directory using Explorer. If the i386 directory can be found in the root, have a look in the Windows directory, which can be found in the root.

Step 4

Highlight the /i386 directory and right-click on the folder.

Step 5

Select "Copy" (not "Move") from the context menu and paste the folder into the C:/XPSetup directory. Do not drag and drop the folder. The folder structure should appear as C:/XPSetup/i386 once the folder has been pasted into the setup directory. Verify that the files have been copied and not moved by checking the i386 folder for its contents.

Step 6

Open Notepad and create a new text file. In the new text file, type the word "Windows " with a capital "W" and the remaining letters lowercase. Include a trailing space, but do not include the quotes around the word "Windows." Press the "Enter" key to create a new line.

Step 7

Save the file as "WIN51" with the quotes. Adding the quotes will prevent the .txt file extension from being added to the file name. You should now have a text file named WIN51 with Windows (including a trailing space) as its contents.

Step 8

Copy and rename the WIN51 file, as specified for your operating system. For each XP service pack installed, a separate file will be created. Follow the guidelines below:Windows XP Home, no service packs: Copy and rename the file WIN51IC.Windows XP Home, Service Pack 1: In addition to the file named WIN51IC, copy and rename the WIN51 file "WIN51IC.SP1".Windows XP Home, Service Pack 2: In addition to the files named WIN51IC and WIN51IC.SP1, copy and rename the WIN51 file "WIN51IC.SP2".Windows XP Professional, no service packs: Copy and rename the file WIN51IP.Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 1: In addition to the file named WIN51IP, copy and rename the WIN51 file "WIN51IP.SP1".Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 2: In addition to the files named WIN51IP and WIN51IP.SP1, copy and rename the WIN51 file "WIN51IP.SP2".

Step 9

Copy all WIN51 files into the C:/XPSetup directory.

Step 10

Open the Easy CD Creator application and create a new CD project.

Step 11

Select "Burn" > "Bootable CD" from the top navigation menu.

Step 12

Change the Volume name for the new CD project according to the version of Windows XP:Version - Label Windows XP Home OEM - WXHOEM_EN Windows XP Home SP 1 OEM - XRMHOEM_EN Windows XP Home SP 1a and SP 2 OEM - X1AHOEM_EN Windows XP Professional OEM - WXPOEM_EN Windows XP Professional SP 1 OEM - XRMPOEM_EN Windows XP Professional SP 1a and SP 2 OEM - X1APOEM_EN

Step 13

Copy all files below into the XPSetup directory to avoid reactivating Windows when the boot disk is used:C:\windows\system32\oembios.binC:\windows\system32\oembios.datC:\windows\system32\oembios.sigC:\windows\system32\CatRoot\{F750E6C3-38EE-11D1-85E5-00C04FC295EE}\oembios.cat

Step 14

Add the entire C:/XPSetup folder to the Easy CD Creator interface.

Step 15

Insert a blank CD and click "Burn." A bootable CD for Windows XP is created.

Step 16

Test the bootable CD. Shut down the computer with the CD in the CD burner. Start Windows XP and press the F12 key during start-up. A list of boot options is provided. Select the "Boot from CD" option. The computer should boot up from the CD if all steps were properly performed.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the OEM files in the System32 directory are not included, the Windows XP key will need to be available for reactivation.
  • Use the exact file names provided and make sure none of the WIN51 files includes a file extension like ".txt".