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I have an old laptop and I want to re-install Windows XP on it. The problem is that this laptop does not have an optical drive. I checked the boot sequence in the BIOS. It does not show an option to boot from USB. It have only two options:

  1. Boot from HD.
  2. Boot using Realtek agent (network boot).

I tried to copy the Windows CD to second drive D:\ and run the installed from there. However, I could not format the C:\ drive. Windows complaints about setup files will be removed or something like that.

I tried to boot the laptop using PXE, but I could not. It seems that the DHCP request did not get answered.

I thought I could use a USB CD-ROM drive (I don't have one to try), but it might not work as there is no option to boot from USB. Do you think it will work? Do I have other options to try? Any recommendations?

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You may need to get a USB Optical drive –  Sandeep Bansal Dec 9 '11 at 17:14
    
Will it work? I mean the BIOS does not support booting from USB! –  Khaled Dec 9 '11 at 17:16
    
Can you give the laptop model etc, then we can move on from there. –  Sandeep Bansal Dec 9 '11 at 17:18
    
Sometimes the BIOS will only show a bootable option if that option is actually available. For instance, once you've connected a USB CD Drive you may then see the option to boot from it. However, this isn't common in older machines. –  music2myear Dec 9 '11 at 17:23
    
Actually, it is not my laptop. It has the word sylvania besides a g written on it. –  Khaled Dec 9 '11 at 17:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Sometimes the BIOS will only show a bootable option if that option is actually available. For instance, once you've connected a USB CD Drive you may then see the option to boot from it. However, this isn't common in older machines.

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Glad to be of help. –  music2myear Dec 9 '11 at 22:02

Most older laptops support booting from FDD or usb FDD

Microsoft has a floppy disk set to get you a windows environment to work from, I have done this. Be sure to use the SP2 disk set, and choose Home or Pro.

Set the bios to boot from usb FDD or FDD, with the usb floppy drive and a usb optical drive connected, boot to the FDD, you will have to load 6 floppies, once done you can run the setup.exe command and point to the usb optical drive letter that has the XP install disc, XP setup should start. If you have an internal floppy drive then you can use that instead of the usb floppy drive.

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I don't have floppy disks and the laptop does not have floppy drive. –  Khaled Dec 9 '11 at 17:36
    
You will have to get some floppies and a usb floppy drive then. Another suggestion is to connect the hard drive to another PC, then install XP on that drive while it is connected to the other PC, then move the hard drive back to the notebook and hope it boots, it may or may not work –  Moab Dec 10 '11 at 16:51

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