I'm trying to install Windows XP Media Center edition by copying the install disc image to an external hard drive and making it bootable.

Has anyone had success getting this to work on systems that can't boot from dvds/floppies?

I'm basically working from this guide: http://www.dl4all.com/other/21495-install-windows-xp-from-usb.html

Update - 2/15/10

I used WinToFlash on my laptop to format my usb hard drive from my install dvd (Windows XP Media Center Version 2005 with Update Rollup 2 from Dell) and selected "boot from usb device" at the boot selection menu and the windows installer started up.

However, an error message came up saying that: "A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer."

Originally on my desktop machine, I had 1 150Gb SATA drive, and 2 150 Gb SATA drives striped together using RAID. From the hard drive diagnostics, it appears the windows install on one of the RAIDed disks lost a block and this has been preventing me from booting up.

I replaced the standalone drive with a new 1Tb SATA drive and disconnected the other hard drives. Could the message be indicating a virus is on the unformatted drive? or the usb hard drive?

Update 2 - 2/15/10 The external hard drive didn't find any viruses when scanned. I tried installing Vista Home Premium 64bit SP1 using WinToFlash and that installed successfully onto the new 1Tb drive.

WinToFlash was really easy to use and helped a lot, thanks!

  • As a side note, make sure your BIOS supports booting from USB devices.
    – Fladur
    Feb 14, 2010 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


This guide is well over a year old ... times have changed :)

Use WinToFlash to prepare the USB Hard Disk Drive.

Note: All data on this drive will be lost.


It wouldn't boot because XP doesn't recognize SATA drives. You need to make a custom intallation disc using nLite ..... f6flpy3286.zip driver(s) and manager from intel. Do that and you'll be able to make a bootable ISO image of XP and load it on to your ext HDD and go from there. Tons of stuff on google on this subject.

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