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I've been trying around but am not through yet. Where is my procedure failing? I have a 2G usb disk which I prepare the following way:

1 - Make a partition with fdisk yielding /dev/sdb1
2 - mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdb1
3 - parted /dev/sdb and set partition one bootable with: set 1 boot on
4 - copy iso content onto pendrive: dd if=winxpproinstallationdisk.img of=/dev/sdb1 bs=100M
5 - make MBR: install-mbr -i n -p D -t 0 /dev/sdb which means: 

    n      Never display the prompt (unless an error occurs).
    D      The partition marked with the bootable flag in the partition table.
    0      Timeout zero.

unplug. Boot on target machine which has USB booting enabled in its BIOS:

GRUB loading.
Welcome to GRUB!

error: unknown filesystem.
Entering rescue mode...
grub rescue> _
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marked as duplicate by Karan, Scott, davidgo, Dave M, CharlieRB Apr 19 '13 at 19:48

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

According to it should be possible to install Windows installation disks onto a USB-Stick using unetbootin (I know this article is for windows 7, but it should work for XP, too). Unetbootin ( can be found in the repositories of most GNU/Linux distributions.

About what you were trying to do: It doesn't make sense to first create a filesystem on /dev/sdb1 and then overwrite it with the ISO image. This should work fine by just doing the following:

  • dd if=winxpproinstallationdisk.img of=/dev/sdb

Don't mess with the MBR after that and note that this command isn't writing to the partition /dev/sdb1 but to the drive as a whole.

If this doesn't work, you could try out Multisystem ( The site is french, but I once succesfully downloaded it, so it should be possible. Here's an english site about it:

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unetbootin didn't work for me. I installed it on my debian but it threw two errors while copying the iso to the pendrive. – panny Apr 18 '13 at 14:01
Then try the second method I described. – FSMaxB Apr 18 '13 at 14:03
That didn't work either, but let me try it once again – panny Apr 18 '13 at 14:04
I tried it. It doesn't boot the ISO, i see just a blinking prompt. – panny Apr 18 '13 at 14:12
FWIF, I've never had any luck creating a windows boot USB with UnetBootin. Linux variants (Clonezilla, Ubuntu, etc) always work a treat though. – tombull89 Apr 18 '13 at 14:28

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