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Is there a way to run Windows without installing it?

Something like a Linux Live-Boot CD would very useful. I need it to run a command line tool which upgrades the firmware on my Blu-Ray burner.

I already run Windows (using a Windows 7 64-bit License, I may have an 32-bit XP License still) in a VM under OpenSUSE but the virtualization layer causes the firmware tool to not find the burner.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, HirenBoot has the "Mini Windows XP" feature.

Portable Windows Xp that runs from CD/USB/Ram Drive to repair/recover dead windows operating system. It has LAN and WLAN (Wireless) Network includes 300 WiFi/Ethernet card drivers and can also be customized easily to add your own drivers in HBCD\Drivers folder.

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Cool description. I can't find the download link no matter what I try though :( – Itai Aug 16 '11 at 21:00
    
@Itai : here you go : hirensbootcd.org/download – ITFan Aug 16 '11 at 21:15
    
Awesome, it worked! One scary thing though: Each time you click on a drive XP does not recognize (every Linux partition), it prompts 'Do you want to format it?' – Itai Aug 17 '11 at 17:50
    
I have never used linux before so can't help you. Anyways, you can ask a new question about that issue. – ITFan Aug 17 '11 at 18:29

UBCD4Win is what you're looking for. Runs a copy of XP from a CD ROM

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This one seems like an Windows executable. I'll have to try it in my VM, we may have a recursion problem otherwise ;) – Itai Aug 16 '11 at 21:09

You could use Unetbootin to create a FreeDOS boot CD or USB stick - I have done this lots of times for motherboard firmware updates.

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Unfortunately, the one I need this time is a Windows executable. – Itai Aug 16 '11 at 21:06

You can install windows on USB stick (similarly to many liveUSB Linux distributions). ars technica has once presented a nice guide

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