I want to re-install Windows XP on my laptop.

I have the ISO image for Windows XP.

How can I boot from a USB device using simply my ISO image of Windows XP?

My laptop is an IBM T42.

If you are running Windows Vista, see the link below (but this doesn't work for Windows XP)

Boot and Install Windows from UBS thumb drive


It's not quite as easy as just copying the files or the image to the usb stick. The USB stick looks like a harddrive to the system, and needs to be setup as a bootable hard drive. Check out this post:

ServerFault - Boot and Install Windows from a USB thumb drive

  • 1
    I'll upvote this as well, good reference to a good solution..
    – Greg Meehan
    Jun 12 '09 at 14:49
  • @easel - The DISKPART command linked above does not recognize USB harddrive in WinXP (only VISTA). So I can't use the instructions linked above.
    – TedBuckly2
    Jun 12 '09 at 15:19

I am not sure if this works for Windows XP, but I have used UNetbootin in the past to boot a variety of floppy and Linux ISO images:

enter image description here

  • I just tried this, having used unetbootin several times for Linux, but it did not work for a Windows 8 image.
    – Segfault
    May 27 '12 at 22:44

Provided it's a bootable ISO, yes.

That being said, since it's an IBM thinkpad, check your BIOS to make sure USB/external drive boot is enabled, and you're presented with a boot option.

  • Yes, bootable ISO but HOW do I extract the ISO on to the USB and make it bootable?
    – TedBuckly2
    Jun 12 '09 at 14:41
  • 2
    ah.. There's a plethora of different ISO extractors out there, I personally like this one; magiciso.com/tutorials/miso-isoextractorwin.htm, there's also BBIE: nu2.nu/bbie. If the image that you're extracting is bootable and your BIOS is set to boot from external media, you should (theoretically) be able to simply connect USB, reboot and rock-and-roll.
    – Greg Meehan
    Jun 12 '09 at 14:46

I stumbled across a tiny program called Rufus. Lightweight, does the trick.

enter image description here


I know this can be done easily with Linux distributions, but it always requires you to place the contents of the ISO on the USB drive. Windows will likely act more or less the same if the Windows installation software is able to 'see' the USB disk during boot and install.

If you want to try, go like this:

  1. Extract the contents of the ISO onto the USB drive
  2. Make the USB drive bootable with fdisk
  3. Try and boot and install from it

No guarantees though...

  • @wzzrd, would you mind describing in more detail how to exactly perform this task? Thanks
    – TedBuckly2
    Jun 12 '09 at 14:40
  • 2
    No, I wouldn't, but since Sam Cogan edited your post to point to a pretty well formulated answer there, I think you would be best served checking that out.
    – wzzrd
    Jun 12 '09 at 14:52

WinToFlash is a picky program and if it doesn't have the ISO it created in the choice. It also doesn't recognize every USB stick.

Try Ultra ISO.


Try DAEMON Tools Lite.

How To Install Windows 7 Beta From A USB Drive To An HP Mini 1000 (Without Vista) explains how to use it to install Windows 7 from a USB drive. Just alter the instructions for your Windows XP ISO.

Good luck!


Try WinToFlash (link)this worked fine for me

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