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I have a genuine Windows XP x86 SP3 downloaded from MS Website (Partners) but this CD is not bootable when trying to fresh-install it. The autorun works fine when I put it in my DVD reader but can't install it on any computer.

I'm trying to find a way, with a bootdisk to have it installed but for any reason (Might be n00b) I just can't make a proper NTFS boot disk and have that CD to run for a clean installation.

I know this is an easy question but I need a little help.

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How often have you tried booting the CD, I've had similar problems on an old laptop and it just took me quite some tries to get it booting – Ivo Flipse Feb 4 '10 at 14:40
I tried it on 3 different laptops (Toshiba, Dell and HP) and all of them failed to boot with. Also tried on Dell and HP workstations without any luck. – r0ca Feb 4 '10 at 14:43
Make sure you boot using the lowest speed your drive can handle. – Hello71 Aug 20 '10 at 18:35
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Have you changed the BIOS so it includes the optical drive in it's boot sequence?


From your other comments it appears that the CD is not bootable. You'll need to re-burn it.

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Yes but no luck with that one too... but it's a CD, not a DVD – r0ca Feb 4 '10 at 14:43
I'm re-burning it at the moment. I'll keep ya posted. – r0ca Feb 4 '10 at 15:12
I burned to CD. One with Roxio, from the downloaded file from Microsoft. No Luck. The other one, I used the bootfont.bin as the bootable file. no luck again. I see a little dash flickering when loading from the CD and it's stuck there. – r0ca Feb 4 '10 at 15:36
After this "Pain-in-the-ass" process, we finally decided to buy a brand new Windows XP Pro CD from MS. – r0ca Feb 8 '10 at 21:18

If you CD is not bootable for some reason, you can always create your own installation disk as long as you have the installation source files (i386 folder), here's a guide that explains the procedure step-by-step-:

How to Create a Bootable Windows XP Setup Disk on a Preinstalled / Preloaded Windows System

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So far I will try this one:… – r0ca Feb 4 '10 at 14:49
@r0ca - way too complicated :) this method was used for old computers without CDROM drive and no option to boot from USB, however, it works ... extremely slow without SMARTDRV though. :) – Molly7244 Feb 4 '10 at 14:54
I'm trying this one right now. – r0ca Feb 4 '10 at 15:41

the boot disk doesn't need to be NTFS. Can you elaborate on how you burned that CD-ROM? Did you download an .ISO file? What burning tool did you use?

As ChrisF suggested, I believe it can be fixed with a change in your BIOS.

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I downloaded it from Microsoft website. We download our software from there since we have a business partnership with them. So, I downloaded an .ISO file, burned it with Nero (as I usualy do) but this time, that CD just won't boot... – r0ca Feb 4 '10 at 14:46

Here's a tutorial to making a bootable CD:

You will need to get the boot sector files, which you can get from here. Open the zip and browse to cds\winxppro\files (or cds\winxphome\files), copy w2ksect.bin to C:\ (you can copy to another location but in that case you will need to adjust some parameter).

Copy all the files on your non-bootable CD to one folder, for example C:\winxpinst (if you have more than one cd/dvd drive you don't need to do this, you can copy straight from the second cd drive).

Download and install ImgBurn which is a free utility to burn files/images to CD. We will now create a script to be imported in ImgBurn, to do so open a text editor (e.g. Notepad) and paste the following:



Be sure to change:




to the locations where you copied the w2ksect.bin file and you stored the Windows installation files (can be the cd drive letter if you are using two cd drives). Then save the file as some-name.ibb (important, make sure windows does not add a txt extension to the file name).

If you have installed ImgBurn you can double-click this file and the program will open with the right configuration. At this point you only have to hit "Burn" or similar command in the program and the bootable cd will be created. The installation files will also be copied to the cd.

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The problem is likely with your computer; I don't think Microsoft has ever created a non-bootable XP CD. Try booting the computer to a known bootable CD, such as Knoppix.

If the CD really isn't bootable, you can make a bootable one using nLite.

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I'm really this CD is not bootable since I tried it on several computers, DVD/CD drives. Maybe I need to re-burn it – r0ca Feb 4 '10 at 14:50

Just create a boot floppy. Use it to boot into the machine. Then restart the machine. Set the BIOS boot option to Floppy. Then boot using it. Move to (CDROM Drive):\WINNT\setup.exe

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There is no WINNT directory on Windows XP installation CD. – r0ca Feb 5 '10 at 13:12

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