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My netbook (running on XP) recently encountered "NTLDR is missing" problem. However, since I don't have an external dvd, I need to create a USB boot-up disk to re-install XP. Unfortunately, my other laptop is running Vista.

Is it possible to create a USB boot-up disk using Vista?

Thanks, Erwin

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2 Answers 2

It's perhaps easier to take a portable Linux distro (tutorials can be found here) and follow these steps from Arsgeek.com

Boot into your Ubuntu LiveCD on the offending machine. Once Ubuntu starts up, go to System -> Administration -> Software Sources and enable (by checking it off) the Universal repository.

Now, open a terminal session (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) and type the following:

sudo apt-get install ms-sys

ms-sys is a program used to write Microsoft compatible boot records. Now you’ll need to figure out what partition is the one hosting your Windows operating system. Back in the command line, type:

sudo fdisk -l

That will list the available partitions. You’re looking for a partition that says something like

/dev/sda1 1 9327 74919096 83 NTFS

The two important bits are the ‘/dev/sda1‘ which is the partition itself and the ‘NTFS‘ which tells us it’s a Windows formatted partition. So your Windows partition exists on your drive sda and it’s partition 1. The MBR for drive sda (assuming you boot into windows using it’s native boot loader) is what you want to repair. We want to fix the MBR on /dev/sda. To do so, type:

sudo ms-sys -m /dev/sda

You’ll want to change the ’sda’ bit if your results from ‘fdisk -l‘ are different. If for instance your windows install is on sdb or hda. Once you do that, reboot the machine, removing the LiveCD from the drive and Windows should come back to you.

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Hi. Thanks for the instructions. I wasn't able to do it, though, since I couldn't find my Ubuntu installer. But I have noted these steps for future reference. –  Erwin Feb 10 '10 at 14:23
    
When u say apt-get install, does it need live internet connection to the PC to get the package? –  goldenmean Jan 1 '11 at 16:06
    
@goldenmean: one of the comments mentions it is required, so I'd say yes –  Ivo Flipse Jan 1 '11 at 21:27
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Use WinToFlash to prepare a bootable USB drive from any Windows installation disk.

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You're right! it worked! Thanks! –  Erwin Feb 10 '10 at 14:23

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