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I'm usually the person my friends call when it's time for them to turn back the clock on their computers and reformat, but none of them seem capable of hanging on to the Windows installation discs that come with their computers. I've been thinking it might be handy to have an all-in-one Windows setup USB drive that I can carry around on my key chain that has installers for XP, Vista and 7 on it.

So, I have a 16GB flash drive and I want to put the following installers onto it:

  • Windows 7 (I've combined all versions, both 32-bit and 64-bit into a single disc using online instructions)
  • Windows Vista 32-bit
  • Windows Vista 64-bit
  • Windows XP Home 32-bit
  • Windows XP MCE 32-bit
  • Windows XP Pro 32-bit

(I would have combined the 32-bit and 64-bit Vista discs as I did with Windows 7, but the resulting /sources/install.wim file exceeded 4GB, making it a no-no for a FAT32 flash drive.)

Anyway, I've found all sorts of documentation online on how to put any one of these setup discs onto a USB flash drive, but nothing about how to make them all be on the same drive without them stepping on each other's toes. What must I do?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is possible if you have enough space. Install WAIK 2.0, build a WinPE, put it on your flash drive (the help files with WAIK have instructions on this). Then simply copy the contents of each installation disk onto different folders on the UFD.

For Windows XP, the setup file is WINNT32.EXE, which I remember as being in the i386 folder.

The only downside of this method is that you'll have to use the command prompt to start the setup process. I currently use something similar for my installs – WinPE on a UFD, installation files on my hard drive.

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Tried it out and it seems like that will work. :-) Any pointers on using an x86 WinPE environment to install 64-bit Vista? For the moment, I'm thinking I can probably just use the 32-bit Vista disc, strip out the 32-bit images from install.wim and inject the 64-bit ones into it, but if you know a more graceful method I'm all ears. – nonoitall Aug 21 '10 at 20:23
I'm not sure it's possible. If so, you'd have to build the 'amd64' version (although the name amd64 is misleading, it should really be x86_64 now). The 64-bit version of WinPE can run 32-bit executables, but obviously it won't boot without a 64-bit CPU. If you have 3 flash drives (two of them can be small), you could install WinPE on the two smaller ones (32-bit and 64-bit), and swap out to the larger drive with the installation files. WinPE will be loaded into RAM, so it should work fine. – Alan Pearce Aug 21 '10 at 21:03
Using the Vista x86 installation files and simply replacing the install.wim file with the one from Vista x64 appears to have done the trick. (I also replaced the install_*.clg files with the ones from Vista x64 for good measure, though I'm not sure if that was necessary or not.) Am now able to install 64-bit Vista from 32-bit WinPE. – nonoitall Aug 21 '10 at 22:15

i think this is possible. you may need to prepare some windows PE(short for "windows pre-install env.", it's like a liveCD, google "bart PE" for more info. ), and the install package for each version you want.

not sure if newer windows PE can be used when installing old version. if so, a boot manager like grub might also be useful.

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We have new feature in Microsoft MDT Tool (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit) we can deploy all the versions of windows. For more information please refer the below article from Microsoft

Thanks, Giridhar.

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